Geemu and media mix: theoretical approaches of Japanese video games
Edited by Martin Picard and Jérémie Pelletier-Gagnon
Kinephanos is a bilingual web-based academic journal. Focusing on questions involving cinema and popular media, Kinephanos encourages interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. The journal’s primary interests are movies and popular TV series, video games, emerging technologies and fan cultures. The preferred approaches include cinema studies, communication theories, religion sciences, philosophy, cultural studies and media studies.
Despite the global impact of games and series such as Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo, 1985-2012), Final Fantasy (Square Enix, 1987-2012) or Pokémon(Nintendo, 1995-2012), the theoretical stakes of Japanese video games (terebi geemu or simply geemu in Japanese) has managed to only capture the interest of a small group of fans of Japanese popular culture. At first glance, it may be difficult to identify specificities in video games made in Japan other than with the use of some loose categorisations ( J-RPG for example). But are there differences between games coming from particular countries or socio-cultural contexts? If one admits dissimilarities between Japanese and American or European games, what could these be and what could they mean for the gamers?
One way to better identify Japanese video games’ specificity could be to put in perspective their broad integration to an extremely dynamic media environment, the media mix (media mikkusu). While acknowledging video games’ strong ties to manga and anime, one might thus start by investigating this media mix itself, and subsequently, video games’ place within it in order to achieve this goal. Media mix, as Marc Steinberg demonstrates in Anime’s Media Mix (The University of Minnesota Press, 2012), is a popular culture and industry term that has evolved considerably from the 1960s understanding of various media being used in accordance with an advertising goal towards the practice of releasing interconnected works for a wide range of media ‘platforms’ (manga, anime, movies, etc.) and commodity types, generally through the promotion of a main character (kyara) and an attractive fictional world. From their introduction in this media environment at the beginning of the 1980s, Japanese video games are now increasingly getting both integrated and shaped by this system while still being understudied in regard to the ways in which its different modes of production and distribution affect gamers (not only in the actual play activity, but also in their consumption modes and cultural practices), and games’ content.
Therefore, this special issue aims to fill a lack present both in theories and analyses of (trans)national and (trans)cultural aspects of video games in the game studies community, as well as in interdisciplinary studies about the Japanese media culture. Admittedly, video games and popular culture are increasingly becoming subjects of interest within academia. Nevertheless, very few publications and researches have dealt with an examination of video games from a Japanese perspective, or even taken into account the possible specificities of Japanese video games. Since a theory of Japanese video games is cruelly lacking in the academic sphere, papers for this special issue would be an invaluable contribution to the fields of game and media studies, as well as Japanese studies.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
– Japanese video games and Japaneseness
– The specificity of video games within the media mix
– Aesthetics and game design in Japanese video games
– Analyses of contents, themes or recurring motifs in Japanese video games
– Japanese video games and otaku culture
– History of video games in Japan and study of its home market (Japanese video game industry; geemu sentaa [game centers]; cultural practices and preferred genres of Japanese gamers, etc.)
– Transmedia circulations in the media mix
– Amateur media mix productions (doujin geemu)
While Kinephanos privileges publication of thematic issues, we encourage writers to submit papers exceeding the theme, which will be published in each issue.
How to submit?
Please send an abstract of up to 1000 words, in English or French, by February 1st, 2013, to:
The abstract must include the title, the topic and the object(s) that will be studied. Please include bibliographical references, your name, email address, and your institutional affiliation.
Following our approbation sent to you by email (2-3 weeks after the deadline), please send us your completed article by July 1st, 2013.
Kinephanos is a peer-reviewed Web journal. Each article is evaluated by double-blind peer review. Kinephanos does not retain exclusive rights of published texts. However, material submitted must not have been previously published elsewhere. Future versions of the texts published in other periodicals must reference Kinephanos as its original source.
All texts must be written in MLA style. 6,000 words maximum (excluding references but including endnotes) with 1.5 spacing, Times New Roman 12pt fonts. Footnotes must be inserted manually in the text as follows : … (1) and references must be placed within the text as follows (Jenkins 2000, 134). Please include a bibliography with all your references, and 5 keywords, at the end of the text.
For the editorial guidelines, refer to the section Editorial Guidelines.
Kinephanos accepts papers in English and in French