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In the first fifteen years of the development of the video game industry in Japan (from 1973 to the late 1980s), we can witness the formation and the emergence of main features of geemu. Japanese video games, or geemu[4], are not linked to an ‘essence’ of any kinds (national, mediatic, etc.), but to a market, or rather to -- admittedly unstable and fluctuating -- markets[5]. Like Aoyama and Izushi already attested, the evolution of the Japanese video game market is linked to a specific economic and cultural context: We argue that the cross-sectoral transfer of skills occurs differently depending on national contexts, such as the social legitimacy and strength of preexisting industries, the socioeconomic status of entrepreneurs or pioneer firms in an emerging industry, and the sociocultural cohesiveness between the preexisting and emerging industries.

General knowledge about Japanese video games, coming usually both from historical books and video game studies in the West, as well as through the discourse of the specialized press and media, and online fan communities, is only one facet of the world of video games in Japan[1]. rightly asserted, the development of “digital play” was conducted jointly through a complex process in the three circuits of technology, culture, and marketing (Kline et al., 2003), we must acknowledge that the Japanese video game industry has its own process through these circuits, including of course its global and transnational aspect, but which constitutes only a part of the overall picture. This aforementioned discourse nevertheless underlies an assumption firmly rooted in video game studies and historical accounts of video games: it is as if the only manifestation of the Japanese video game industry had been made on a global level, while the specific development of the industry on the Japanese territory had never existed. Unfortunately, these assumptions tend to neglect the complex geopolitical and socioeconomic negotiations taking place on Japanese territory -- before, during, and even after the creation of a global media complex -- forming tangible distinctions between the Japanese and the North American (or European) market as each tries to divert and capture these flows. His publications consist of articles and chapters in anthologies such as The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies (Routledge, forthcoming), Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming (ABC-Clio, 2012), Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (Mc Farland, 2009), The Video Game Theory Reader 2 (Routledge, 2009), and The Video Game Explosion: A History From PONG to Play Station and Beyond (Greenwood Press, 2008). The paper offers a short history of the origins and the establishment of the Japanese video game industry (from 1973 to 1983).

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Similar to the work of Marc Steinberg on the anime’s media mix (Steinberg, 2012), we must examine the economic and material conditions of the video game industry in Japanese territory to better understand the evolution of video games globally, locally and everything in between.

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