The 1980s saw an explosion in the use of the VCR, arguably the most significant new form of home entertainment technology since television.
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Videogames are the pre-eminent commercial entertainment product of the 21st century, with sales eclipsing film and music revenue. With cross-over into artistic, educational and political spheres assured with their move from desktops and consoles to mobile devices and social media, research into videogames has never been greater, but exploration of their historic drivers is as elided as the technology is influential, giving rise to a range of questions including: What were the social and economic conditions that gave rise to a billion dollar industry? What were the motivations of the early 'bedroom coders'? How important were the 'format wars' of the 80s to the internationally pitched console wars of the 90s, 2000s and beyond? What are the legacies of the seminal videogames of the 1980s and how do they inform the current social, political and cultural landscape?. .With a focus on the characteristics of the UK videogame industry in the 1980s, Wade explores these questions from perspectives of consumption, production and leisure, outlining the construction of a habitus unique to this time. He also uses the US and European markets as a continuing point of comparison. Through interviews with developers, gamers and journalists examining the phenomena of bedroom coding, arcade gaming and format wars, mapped onto enquiry into the seminal genres of the time including driving, shooting and maze chase, Playback: A Genealogy of 1980s British Videogames examines how 1980s Britain has become the culture of work in the 21st century and considers its meaning to contemporary society. This crucial and timely work fills a lacuna for students and researchers of sociology, media/games studies and will be of interest to employees of the videogames and media industries.
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