Melanie Swalwell

  • Homebrew Gaming and the Beginnings of Vernacular Digitality

    Melanie Swalwell

    From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, low-end microcomputers offered many users their first taste of computing. A major use of these inexpensive 8-bit machines—including the TRS System 80s and the Sinclair, Atari, Microbee, and Commodore ranges—was the development of homebrew games. Users with often self-taught programming skills devised the graphics, sound, and coding for their self-created games. In this book, Melanie Swalwell offers a history of this era of homebrew game development, arguing that it constitutes a significant instance of the early appropriation of digital computing technology.

    Drawing on interviews and extensive archival research on homebrew creators in 1980s Australia and New Zealand, Swalwell explores the creation of games on microcomputers as a particular mode of everyday engagement with new technology. She discusses the public discourses surrounding microcomputers and programming by home coders; user practices; the development of game creators' ideas, with the game Donut Dilemma as a case study; the widely practiced art of hardware hacking; and the influence of 8-bit aesthetics and gameplay on the contemporary game industry. With Homebrew Gaming and the Beginnings of Vernacular Digitality, Swalwell reclaims a lost chapter in video game history, connecting it to the rich cultural and media theory around everyday life and to critical perspectives on user-generated content

    • Hardcover $35.00

Contributor

  • Debugging Game History

    Debugging Game History

    A Critical Lexicon

    Henry Lowood and Raiford Guins

    Essays discuss the terminology, etymology, and history of key terms, offering a foundation for critical historical studies of games.

    Even as the field of game studies has flourished, critical historical studies of games have lagged behind other areas of research. Histories have generally been fact-by-fact chronicles; fundamental terms of game design and development, technology, and play have rarely been examined in the context of their historical, etymological, and conceptual underpinnings. This volume attempts to “debug” the flawed historiography of video games. It offers original essays on key concepts in game studies, arranged as in a lexicon—from “Amusement Arcade” to “Embodiment” and “Game Art” to “Simulation” and “World Building.”

    Written by scholars and practitioners from a variety of disciplines, including game development, curatorship, media archaeology, cultural studies, and technology studies, the essays offer a series of distinctive critical “takes” on historical topics. The majority of essays look at game history from the outside in; some take deep dives into the histories of play and simulation to provide context for the development of electronic and digital games; others take on such technological components of games as code and audio. Not all essays are history or historical etymology—there is an analysis of game design, and a discussion of intellectual property—but they nonetheless raise questions for historians to consider. Taken together, the essays offer a foundation for the emerging study of game history.

    Contributors Marcelo Aranda, Brooke Belisle, Caetlin Benson-Allott, Stephanie Boluk, Jennifer deWinter, J. P. Dyson, Kate Edwards, Mary Flanagan, Jacob Gaboury, William Gibbons, Raiford Guins, Erkki Huhtamo, Don Ihde, Jon Ippolito, Katherine Isbister, Mikael Jakobsson, Steven E. Jones, Jesper Juul, Eric Kaltman, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Carly A. Kocurek, Peter Krapp, Patrick LeMieux, Henry Lowood, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Ken S. McAllister, Nick Monfort, David Myers, James Newman, Jenna Ng, Michael Nitsche, Laine Nooney, Hector Postigo, Jas Purewal, Reneé H. Reynolds, Judd Ethan Ruggill, Marie-Laure Ryan, Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Anastasia Salter, Mark Sample, Bobby Schweizer, John Sharp, Miguel Sicart, Rebecca Elisabeth Skinner, Melanie Swalwell, David Thomas, Samuel Tobin, Emma Witkowski, Mark J.P. Wolf

    • Hardcover $50.00
  • 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