552 Book Notes Michael Z. Newman. Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2017. 252 pp. Michael Z. Newman’s Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America traces the shifting “status and identity” of video games in the 1970s and ’80s through the discourse of various groups, the gaming industry, the media, and the marketers by recreating the context of their “emergence.” This focus on “emergence” is, indeed, the key to this book in terms of what it can and cannot deliver. In short, Newman wants to explore the birth of video games on its own terms and to reproduce the arguments, concerns, and reactions to video games before conclusions about them had been reached. The book is thus not interested in economic questions or power relations, per se, though Newman does add a light gender critique throughout the book’s ﬁ ve chapters. All in all, Atari Age reveals that much of our contemporary understanding of, and gripes with, video game and computer technology are not much different from those of yesteryear. Newman’s emphasis on, or method of, emergence is most successful when he contextualizes video games. In keeping with trends in
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Nov 28, 2018
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