A DiGRA 2022 Workshop

Japanese game centres as urban play spaces.

For more information, please contact William Huber at w.huber@abertay.ac.uk.


The game centres of urban Japan in the latter third of the 20th century were the sites of convergence of a playful urbanism with a new design culture, the emerging game industry. This workshop welcomes proposals for work from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives on the social, cultural and industrial histories of the game centre and arcade game industries in Japan from the 1960s to the early 1990s. We are especially interested in design history and urban studies perspectives.

The workshop is being held in preparation for a major exhibit of arcade machines— from the electromechanical to the digital—from the collection of Greg McLemore, the world’s single largest privately held such collection. Contributions to the workshop may be invited for inclusion into a book which will accompany the exhibition.

The current plan for the exhibition is to create reproductions of parts of the interior spaces of three different game centres from three different periods ( e.g., Sega’s Sapporo game centre in 1970, Sega World Shizuoka 1991, Tsujishoten in Kyoto in the 1980s, etc.) along with sound environments and supplementary texts to produce an ambient interpretation: work which proposes a suitable candidate for these recreated spaces is particularly welcome.

Topics of interest:

• Histories of specific game-centres.
• Design practices in the arcade game industry.
• Legislation, regulation and the policing of play-spaces.
• The character of the game centre as urban space.
• The role of immigrants and refugees in the early years of the industry.
• Rhetorics of the arcade.


This will be a half-day workshop held on the day before the main conference of DiGRA 2022. Participants are invited to give 20-minute long presentations of relevant work-in-progress at any stage of development.


Send a short abstract (no more than one page) to w.huber@abertay.ac.uk. Submissions must be received before March 31, 2022.

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