Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America
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During their decade of emergence ‐‐ from 1972, when Pong was introduced, to the height of Pac‐Man Fever in 1982 ‐‐ the new medium of video games was understood in contradictory ways. Would video games embody middle‐class legitimacy or reflect the lingering disrepute of pinball arcades? Were they a new, participatory use for television or an intensification of television’s power? Would they foster family togetherness or allow boys to escape from domesticity? Would they make the new home computer a tool for education or a potentially wasteful toy? 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.