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Coin-Operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade

Carly A. Kocurek

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ISBN 10: 0816691827 / ISBN 13: 9780816691821
Published by Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2015
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Coin-Operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood ...

Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Video gaming: it’s a boy’s world, right? That’s what the industry wants us to think. Why and how we came to comply are what Carly A. Kocurek investigates in this provocative consideration of how an industry’s craving for respectability hooked up with cultural narratives about technology, masculinity, and youth at the video arcade.

From the dawn of the golden age of video games with the launch of Atari’s Pong in 1972, through the industry-wide crash of 1983, to the recent nostalgia-bathed revival of the arcade, Coin-Operated Americans explores the development and implications of the “video gamer” as a cultural identity. This cultural-historical journey takes us to the Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa, for a close look at the origins of competitive gaming. It immerses us in video gaming’s first moral panic, generated by Exidy’s Death Race (1976), an unlicensed adaptation of the film Death Race 2000. And it ventures into the realm of video game films such as Tron and WarGames, in which gamers become brilliant, boyish heroes.

Whether conducting a phenomenological tour of a classic arcade or evaluating attempts, then and now, to regulate or eradicate arcades and coin-op video games, Kocurek does more than document the rise and fall of a now-booming industry. Drawing on newspapers, interviews, oral history, films, and television, she examines the factors and incidents that contributed to the widespread view of video gaming as an enclave for young men and boys.

A case study of this once emergent and now revived medium became the presumed enclave of boys and young men, Coin-Operated Americans is history that holds valuable lessons for contemporary culture as we struggle to address pervasive sexism in the domain of video games—and in the digital working world beyond.


About the Author:

Carly A. Kocurek is assistant professor of digital humanities and media studies and director of digital humanities at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her work has appeared in journals including Game Studies, Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, and Visual Studies and in the anthologies Before the Crash and Gaming Globally.


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