What is Arcadism? Revisited

3 min readJan 20, 2023

Arcadism is a media theory that examines the use of crossovers as a method of creation and serves as a catch-all term for the study of gaming and arcade history. It also explores the intersections between arcade culture, broader history, and other intellectual movements and schools of thought. Furthermore, it is used to describe the relationship between various digital subcultures and art movements. As a media theory, Arcadism highlights the mid/late 90s to early 2000s as the digitization of public spaces, which eventually became known as “cyber-spaces.”

These digital spaces have had a significant impact on mass media entertainment and commercial spaces such as arcades. Arcadism is used to broaden the narratives and perspectives in gaming without creating additional micro-categories. Video gaming is a relatively new medium in the context of media history, and its identity within society has been influenced by certain stereotypes and prejudices. These stereotypes are often perpetuated by the numerous genres and sub-genres that are used to categorize video games for commercial purposes. In order to be proactive in the gaming industry, educate people on the larger culture it impacts, and explore intersections with other fields of study, the term “Arcadism” was formed. This terminology does not further define gaming genres, but instead, aims to make the discourse around gaming more open, facilitating cross-referencing with established fields such as social sciences, philosophy, media, and aesthetics.

As gaming and virtual spaces are relatively new culturally, understanding these spaces is challenging. Building a singular narrative about identities and ideas within virtual spaces is difficult because virtual spaces can behave abstractly and vary from game to game. Therefore, it is essential that we preserve the abstract nature of virtual spaces and identities within those spaces. We should allow insights and utilities from virtual worlds to positively influence our physical world, without attempting to conclude how one should perceive the virtual or politicizing virtual spaces in a way that mirrors our physical world. Arcadism aims to blur the lines between “Game Producer (Developer)” and “Game Consumer” (Player). Since gaming is a profitable commercial enterprise, these two classes of people have come to the forefront, with the “Players” and the…