The Media & Communications in Australia

By Stuart Cunningham; Graeme Turner | Go to book overview

18
Video and computer
gaming
P. David Marshall

A cultural industry has emerged that has provided an interesting bridge between how we use television and how we use computers. The current generation of electronic games is divided among four major standards that straddle these other technologies as software and hardware extensions. The term video game is used to describe what are called console games that are linked like VCRs via cables to television sets. Either cartridges or CD-ROMs are inserted into these consoles so that particular games can be played through joystick controls. Computer games are played through the software programs sold on CD-ROMs or downloaded from the Internet and are controlled via keyboard, joystick or mouse. A third type of electronic game is handheld game consoles which are either cartridge-interchangeable games or stand-alone single games. Arcade video games represent the fourth form of electronic games. In all four forms, roughly the same digital computer chip technology has been employed to store the various graphics and functions necessary for the display and play of the games.

In this chapter, we will analyse electronic games from three main perspectives. First, through a history of the form and an investigation of current trends, we will look at electronic games as an industry, both within Australia and internationally. Second, we will look at the dominant issues around electronic games that have been the source of much of the research written over the last 20 years. Finally, we will identify and evaluate some new research directions for the analysis of games and their players that have adapted and adopted techniques developed in the studies of film and television in particular.


ORIGINS

As much as electronic games appear to be new and unique, they are connected with much longer historical threads that have generally not been scrutinised as

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