What might histories of games tell us not only about games, but also about the people who play and design them?
We think that the most interesting answers to this question will have two characteristics. First, the authors of game histories that tell us the most about games will ask big questions. For example, how does game play and design change? In what ways is such change inflected by societal, cultural and other factors? How are games changed/different when they move from one cultural or historical context to another? These kinds of questions forge connections to other areas of game studies, as well as other areas of history, cultural and technology studies.
The second characteristic we seek in “game-changing” histories is a wide-ranging mix of qualities partially described by terms such as diversity, inclusiveness, irony and so on. Histories with these qualities deliver interplay of intentions, users, technologies, materials, places, and markets. Asking big questions and answering those questions in creative and astute ways strikes us as the best way to reach the goal not of an isolated, general history of games, but rather a body of game histories that will connect game studies to scholarship in a wide array of fields. The first step, of course, is producing those histories.
Game Histories is a series of books that we hope will provide a home – or maybe a launch pad – for the growing international research community whose interest in game history rightly exceeds the celebratory and descriptive. In a line, the aim of the series is to help actualize critical historical study of games. Every book in this series will exhibit acute attention to historiography and historical methodologies, while the series as a whole will encompass the wide-ranging subject matter we consider crucial for the relevance of historical game studies. We envisage an incredibly active series with output that will reshape how electronic and other kinds of games are understood, taught, and researched while broadening the appeal of games for the allied fields such as History of Computing, History of Science and Technology, Design History, Design Culture, Material Culture Studies, Cultural and Social History, Media History, New Media Studies, and Science and Technology Studies.
The Game Histories series welcomes contributions in, but not limited to, the following areas:
Henry Lowood is Curator for History of Science and Technology and for Film and Media collections at Stanford University and the coeditor of The Machinima Reader (MIT Press)
Raiford Guins is Professor of Culture and Technology at Stony Brook University and the author of Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife (MIT Press)
Bay Area Video Arcades, Photographs by Ira Nowinski
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Courtesy of Stanford University Libraries