Bogost\'s \"Racing the Beam\" Breaks New Ground

Racing the Beam, The Atari Video Computer System

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Rebecca Keane
Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
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Atari Was Foundation for Many of Today's Video Games

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In his new book, "Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System" (MIT Press) Literature, Communication, and Culture Associate Professor Ian Bogost examines how the first dominant video computer game system shaped the fledgling gaming industry.

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In his new book, "Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System" (MIT Press) Literature, Communication, and Culture Associate Professor Ian Bogost examines how the first dominant video computer game system shaped the fledgling gaming industry.

Co-authored with Nick Montfort, Racing the Beam begins a new Platform Series offering a detailed and accessible study of the rarely explored territory of the systems underlying computers. In Beam, Bogost and Montfort develop a critical approach examining the relationship between platforms and creative expression. Their lenses are six game cartridges that were developed in the late 1970s for the Atari VCS: Combat, Adventure, Pac-Man, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall! and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Atari so dominated home video games that the name became the generic term for videogame console. Bogost contends, "It's an extremely important piece of video game history, yet no one has written seriously about it in video game research""or really even in popular culture... It's worth doing this not just to geek out on retro chic, hipster stuff. Rather, we ought to take the history of video games as seriously as we would take the history of any cultural object. The influence of the Atari VCS and its games on later titles""including today's games""is significant, extremely significant in our opinion and not obvious."

Ian Bogost will lecture and sign copies of Racing the Beam: the Atari Video Computer System on April 2, 12 noon at the GT Barnes & Noble bookstore.

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Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts

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Institute and Campus, Student and Faculty
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Keywords
atari, bogost, Racing the Beam
Status
  • Created By: Rebecca Keane
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 4, 2009 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:05pm