asiascape vistas

Techno-Culture, New Politics, and Philosophy in East Asia

Asiascape Vistas is a forum for discussion about the many and various dimensions of cyberculture found in or originating from East Asia. Its focus is on the interplay between these media and questions of politics & philosophy. Contributions are from the academic collective responsible for the core project, but other contributions will also be considered by that collective.
If you wish to contribute to Asiacape Vistas, please send an email using the form on the contact page.

Manga, Social Media, Art, Movies & Drinks - Spotlight Taiwan reminder


Professor Chris Goto-Jones, Director of Asiascape, is delighted to invite you to the Spotlight Taiwan Sampler on Monday 2 December from 19.00 until 21.00 in the Auditorium at LUC The Hague for a taste of Asiascape’s vision on Taiwan.
All players in the Asiascape Spotlight Taiwan Project will be present (physically and virtually) to warm you up for the exciting events in 2014.



19.00 Welcome & Introduction by Chris Goto-Jones
19.10 A few words by Taiwanese Representative Mr. James K.J. Lee
19.15 Florian Schneider – Conference: The Emancipatory Potential of Social Media in Asia
19.25 Jay Hwang – Film Festival: Some Thoughts on Taiwan
19.35 Cissie Fu – Artist-in-Residence: Exploring Taiwanese Female Masculinity
19.45 Closing by Chris Goto-Jones, followed by conversations over drinks

More information on the project is here:

Gamification and the Japanese LDP

Image source: Internet Watch News

After some very busy months, I finally got round to writing about a fun game the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party officially released for smartphones this past summer: あべぴょん (Abepyon) is a casual jumping game in which the player has to swing the device left/right to jump from one platform to the next and climb the ladder of fame towards the top: the prime minister’s rank. And the best thing is, the character you control is no one else than Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō in various outfits. Before I say more, check out these links to get an idea of the game, or simply download it for your smartphone if you have one (careful, its addictive).
youtube video 1

youtube video 2

Abepyon is surprisingly fun and addictive, because its mechanics are simple and rewarding. You climb, receive points for each meter you elevate the character, with which you can unlock new outfits for the PM. More importantly, your achievements are signaled by displaying known buildings which match the current height of your climb, and a rank in the party/government corresponding to the height you achieve before falling, from “member of parliament” over “leader of a parliament committee” to “cabinet minister” and, finally, “prime minister.”

If you are not content with simply enjoying it, you might want to ask 1. what it communicates, 2. what it wants to achieve, and 3. if it is effective to this end. However, I’m not entirely sure about 1., so 2. and 3. are even more difficult to evaluate. Let’s start with the obvious. The game creates sympathy: it’s fun, addictive, and not lacking self-irony, featuring a cute and modifyable character and a playful overall design. Maybe I should stop here. This is enough and I think the LDP PR office has done a good job in this sense. Everything else is pure speculation...
But let’s speculate for a moment. In his book Persuasive Games, Ian Bogost (2007) shows how rule based gameplay can be used to represent or evaluate simple or intricate systems by making the player part of the system and granting him or her the ability to influence it. In one of his examples, Bogost discusses the U.S. Republican Party’s 2004 campaign game Tax Invaders, arguing that by replacing the aliens in the original Space Invaderswith John Kerry’s taxes and by positioning the player as the defender against this assault, the game successfully turns the player into an active part in the campaign against Kerry and the Democrats, which are at the same time framed as alien intruders (103-109).
Whereas Tax Invaderscharges the player with defending the country against a threat, Abepyon offers a quite different message . The game prompts us to help Abe(chan), the game's character, climb the career ladder. Although one could say that this contributes to the awareness that our individual actions (votes) count, this message is weakened considerably by the fact that the ascent leads no-where, at least in terms of political direction. (By the way, I’m not sure where the comparison with all the buildings fits in, beyond its feedback function. Maybe the LDP thinks of hierarchies in architectural terms?)
But maybe that is expecting too much. What do you think?