Is Street Fighter a Martial Art? : Virtual Ninja Theory, Ideology, and the Intentional Self-Transformation of Fighting-GamersIs Street Fighter a Martial Art? : Virtual Ninja Theory, Ideology, and the Intentional Self-Transformation of Fighting-GamersAA10759175
208 , 2017-03-17 , International Research Center for Japanese Studies
This experimental article explores the question of whether it is possible to examine the experience of playing fighting games (video games) as a form of self-cultivation or practice and, in so doing, whether it becomes possible to shift the debate about the potential impact of violent video games on the people who play them (and on society around them). The article draws on five years of surveys and interviews with gamers from around the world, but seeks to interpret this data through a critical and creative reading of the games themselves as well as a reading of the so-called bushidō tradition (of texts about the intersection between Zen and the martial arts). The article concludes that fighting games might be experienced as forms of martial arts in themselves, complete with potentials for self-transformation, but that this form of engagement requires appropriate intentionality from players, which provokes a space for a manifesto to guide players’ intentions.