Arcade History... how the war shaped the hobby

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Arcade History... how the war shaped the hobby

Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon May 03, 2010 3:15 am

I've started reading "It Started from Pong" which is apparently the most comprehensive book about Japanese arcades. I'm only two chapters in, which is about 50 pages. They are pretty densely packed though.

It seems that the strict rules in occupied Japan roughly in the 50's had a very large hand in shaping the industry. Chapter 2 talks about "the big 3" which were Sega, Taito, and Namco... all still operating under their original names (Service Games, Taito Boueki, and Nakamura Seisakusho), the former 2 being founded and by and large run by foreigners. None of that is really a big shocker, and can be found on the English Wiki page. What I did find interesting are some of the details of the goings on. For Sega, for example, Wikipedia says they were simply "bought" by Gulf + Western. This isn't exactly true. Rosen and one of the other guys were still the major stock holders. They were trying to expand the company, but this was "difficult in Japan with foreigners as primary share holders". They decided to join a conglomerate, and struck a deal with G+W.

The other "theme" I seemed to pick up on and should go back and read is that the importing of stuff from the US was really strict. Japanese couldn't do it outright, which is where the foreigners came into play. Sega was set up as a Gaishikei (foreign branch) but still had limitations.

Finally, the whole idea of copyright and whatnot was definitely floating around, but it was basically a dog with no teeth. Copyright infringement cases would take years... long past the livelihood of a game. In fact, Namco made a submarine simulation game called... you guessed it, Periscope, just like Sega. :/
Rade wrote:Finally received a reply by posting in a thread at that Gaijin forum:

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