February 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Boswell Book Company
Michael Z. Newman, associate professor and chair of the UWM department of journalism, advertising, and media studies, will appear at Boswell Book Company to talk about his new book Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America.
Beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey and Pong in 1972, video games, whether played in arcades and taverns or in family rec rooms, became part of popular culture, like television. In fact, video games were sometimes seen as an improvement on television because they spurred participation rather than passivity. These “space-age pinball machines” gave coin-operated games a high-tech and more respectable profile.
In Atari Age, Michael Newman charts the emergence of video games in America from ball-and-paddle games to hits like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, describing their relationship to other amusements and technologies and showing how they came to be identified with the middle class, youth and masculinity.
Newman shows that the “new media” of video games were understood in varied, even contradictory ways. They were family fun (but mainly for boys), better than television (but possibly harmful), and educational (but a waste of computer time). Drawing on a range of sources, including the games and their packaging; coverage in the popular, trade and fan press; social science research of the time; advertising and store catalogs; and representations in movies and television, Newman describes the series of cultural contradictions through which the identity of the emerging medium worked itself out.
Free and open to the public.
For more information, visit Boswell Book Company’s website.
Source: UWM Report