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Familiar Concepts, Unfamiliar Territory
April-June 2011 (vol. 33 no. 2)
pp. 112, 111
George Royer, University of Texas at Austin

The history of videogames, from a computing history and business history standpoint, is not yet comprehensively documented. Likewise, historians have not fully realized the utility of the videogame industry as a counterpoint to the analysis of the personal computing industry. Although an exhaustive, definitive history of the videogame industry has yet to be written, there is growing interest in the documentation and study of videogames. Much of the available literature on videogames focuses heavily on the game as an object and ignores the underlying technologies and business practices that facilitated the development, marketing, and distribution of the videogame microcomputers, or consoles. The author suggests that an interrogation of the early videogame console industry can provide computer historians with a lens though which to scrutinize issues salient to the history of the PC industry.

1. M. Campbell-Kelly, and W. Aspray, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, 2nd ed., Westview, 2004, p. 204.
2. Campbell-Kelly and Aspray, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, p. 222.
3. N. Montfort and I. Bogost, Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, MIT Press, 2009, p. 61.
4. S. Cohen, Zap: The Rise and Fall of Atari, McGraw-Hill, 1984, p. 88.
5. M. Campbell-Kelly, From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry, MIT Press, 2003, p. 279.
6. L. Herman, "System Profile: The Atari Video Computer System (VCS)," The Videogame Explosion: A History from Pong to PlayStation and Beyond, M.J.P. Wolf ed., Greenwood Press, 2008, pp. 65–66.

Index Terms:
History of computing, videogame, Atari, videogame consoles, software
Citation:
George Royer, "Familiar Concepts, Unfamiliar Territory," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 112, 111, April-June 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2011.37
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