Dominic Arsenault

Dominic Arsenault is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal.

  • Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware

    Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware

    The Super Nintendo Entertainment System

    Dominic Arsenault

    How the Super Nintendo Entertainment System embodied Nintendo's resistance to innovation and took the company from industry leadership to the margins of videogaming.

    This is a book about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that is not celebratory or self-congratulatory. Most other accounts declare the Super NES the undisputed victor of the “16-bit console wars” of 1989–1995. In this book, Dominic Arsenault reminds us that although the SNES was a strong platform filled with high-quality games, it was also the product of a short-sighted corporate vision focused on maintaining Nintendo's market share and business model. This led the firm to fall from a dominant position during its golden age (dubbed by Arsenault the “ReNESsance”) with the NES to the margins of the industry with the Nintendo 64 and GameCube consoles. Arsenault argues that Nintendo's conservative business strategies and resistance to innovation during the SNES years explain its market defeat by Sony's PlayStation. 

    Extending the notion of “platform” to include the marketing forces that shape and constrain creative work, Arsenault draws not only on game studies and histories but on game magazines, boxes, manuals, and advertisements to identify the technological discourses and business models that formed Nintendo's Super Power. He also describes the cultural changes in video games during the 1990s that slowly eroded the love of gamer enthusiasts for the SNES as the Nintendo generation matured. Finally, he chronicles the many technological changes that occurred through the SNES's lifetime, including full-motion video, CD-ROM storage, and the shift to 3D graphics. Because of the SNES platform's architecture, Arsenault explains, Nintendo resisted these changes and continued to focus on traditional gameplay genres.

    • Hardcover $29.95 £24.00

Contributor

  • Video Games Around the World

    Video Games Around the World

    Mark J. P. Wolf

    Thirty-nine essays explore the vast diversity of video game history and culture across all the world's continents.

    Video games have become a global industry, and their history spans dozens of national industries where foreign imports compete with domestic productions, legitimate industry contends with piracy, and national identity faces the global marketplace. This volume describes video game history and culture across every continent, with essays covering areas as disparate and far-flung as Argentina and Thailand, Hungary and Indonesia, Iran and Ireland. Most of the essays are written by natives of the countries they discuss, many of them game designers and founders of game companies, offering distinctively firsthand perspectives. Some of these national histories appear for the first time in English, and some for the first time in any language.

    Readers will learn, for example, about the rapid growth of mobile games in Africa; how a meat-packing company held the rights to import the Atari VCS 2600 into Mexico; and how the Indonesian MMORPG Nusantara Online reflects that country's cultural history and folklore. Every country or region's unique conditions provide the context that shapes its national industry; for example, the long history of computer science in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, the problems of piracy in China, the PC Bangs of South Korea, or the Dutch industry's emphasis on serious games. As these essays demonstrate, local innovation and diversification thrive alongside productions and corporations with global aspirations.

    Africa • Arab World • Argentina • Australia • Austria • Brazil • Canada • China • Colombia • Czech Republic • Finland • France • Germany • Hong Kong • Hungary • India • Indonesia • Iran • Ireland • Italy • Japan • Mexico • The Netherlands • New Zealand • Peru • Poland • Portugal • Russia • Scandinavia • Singapore • South Korea • Spain • Switzerland • Thailand • Turkey • United Kingdom • United States of America • Uruguay • Venezuela

    • Paperback $45.00 £35.00