Date

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Adviser

Pettegrew, John

Other advisers/committee members

Smith, John K.

Abstract

This thesis explores the use of paratext, or the material surrounding a text, in the rise of video games in American arcades and homes. Paratext bridged the gap between the game and the player, inviting players to play and providing context to a game's content. By translating game rules into context players understood, paratext mirrored American culture and common themes players recognized. While arcades were the originating space for video games, home console games became more prevalent in the late 1970s and eclipsed the arcade as innovative space for video games. Atari dominated the game industry and its paratext through the video game market crash in 1982 and 1983. Following that, Nintendo used paratext to create and control its own image to break into the American market. The research shows that material surrounding a game remained as important as gameplay throughout the formative years of the game industry.

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History Commons

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