Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System

Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System

5.0 2
by Nick Montfort, Ian Bogost
     
 

ISBN-10: 026201257X

ISBN-13: 9780262012577

Pub. Date: 01/09/2009

Publisher: MIT Press

The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that "Atari" became the generic term for a video game console.
The Atari VCS was affordable and offered the flexibility of changeable cartridges.
Nearly a thousand of these were created, the most significant of which established new techniques, mechanics, and even entire

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Overview

The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that "Atari" became the generic term for a video game console.
The Atari VCS was affordable and offered the flexibility of changeable cartridges.
Nearly a thousand of these were created, the most significant of which established new techniques, mechanics, and even entire genres. This book offers a detailed and accessible study of this influential video game console from both computational and cultural perspectives.

Studies of digital media have rarely investigated platforms--the systems underlying computing. This book (the first in a series of Platform Studies) does so, developing a critical approach that examines the relationship between platforms and creative expression. Nick Montfort and Ian
Bogost discuss the Atari VCS itself and examine in detail six game cartridges:
Combat, Adventure, Pac-Man,
Yars' Revenge, Pitfall!, and Star
Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
. They describe the technical constraints and affordances of the system and track developments in programming, gameplay,
interface, and aesthetics. Adventure, for example, was the first game to represent a virtual space larger than the screen (anticipating the boundless virtual spaces of such later games as World of Warcraft and
Grand Theft Auto), by allowing the player to walk off one side into another space; and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was an early instance of interaction between media properties and video games. Montfort and
Bogost show that the Atari VCS--often considered merely a retro fetish object--is an essential part of the history of video games.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262012577
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
01/09/2009
Series:
Platform Studies
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
390,974
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Timeline

1 Stella 1

2 Combat 19

3 Adventure 43

4 Pac-Man 65

5 Yars' Revenge 81

6 Pitfall! 99

7 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 119

8 After the Crash 137

Afterword on Platform Studies 145

Notes 151

Bibliography 159

Index 169

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Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book and everyone should get it its amazingly helpful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago