Bullet Hell: The Globalized Growth of danmaku games and the Digital Culture of High Scores and World Records

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Publication details

Title of host publicationTransnational Contexts of Development History, Sociality, and Society of Play
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Mar 2016
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9783319438177


Johnson examines “bullet hell” or “danmaku” games, and unpicks their relationships to Eastern and Western gaming cultures, and competitive and non-competitive gamers. He first traces the genre’s history and its subsequent spread from Japan into the West, before focusing on the extraordinarily high levels of reflex and eyesight required to play them at the highest level. The chapter then examines several interrelated issues: the epistemological uncertainty surrounding the concept of world records in a community without any centralized database of information; the newly globalized culture of high scores; and why less-skilled players choose to play games with such an extreme reflex requirement. It concludes by summarizing the present state of the genre and the place of danmaku in the broader world of gaming.

Bibliographical note

Self-archiving of author accepted manuscript not supported by the publisher.

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