HCTD Seminar: Platform Studies and the Atari Video Computer System
Who: Ian Bogost, Georgia Tech
When: Thursday, 11 June 2009, 11am
Where: CB10.04.470 (235 Jones Street, UTS, Building 10, Level 4, Room 470)
Videogames are Played on Computers!
Platform Studies and the Atari Video Computer System
The 1977 Atari VCS was the first important home videogame console. It
offered interchangeable cartridges, of which thousands were made
during the console's surprisingly long life. But it was also a weird
computer, fraught with absurd hardware constraints that resulted from
a combination of financial limitations and the imagined purposes of
its creators. Yet, almost immediately, developers devised creative
techniques that used the basic affordances of the machine in
surprising ways, by repurposing memory registers, exploiting in its
custom graphics chip, and building on those techniques over time.
This talk will cover the weird hardware design of the Atari VCS, how
programmers use it, and how the relationship between hardware and
software influenced creativity on the machine—and through its many
popular games, entire conventions and genres of videogaming.
Ian Bogost appeared on the Colbert Report to talk about his new book
"Persuasive Games". Video and details at Ian's blog:
Ian Bogost is brought to Sydney as a speaker and mentor for
X|Media|Lab "Serious Games" at the Sydney Film Festival, a partnership
with the ABC TV and Screen Australia initiative linking documentary
filmmakers and games developers to produce new modes of factual
Dr. Ian Bogost is a videogame designer, critic, and researcher. He is
Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and
Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC. His research and writing
considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative
practice focuses on games about social and political issues.
Bogost is author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame
Criticism (MIT Press 2006), recently listed among “50 books for
everyone in the game industry,” of Persuasive Games: The Expressive
Power of Videogames (MIT Press 2007), and co-author of Racing the
Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. He is a popular writer and
speaker and widely considered an influential thinker and doer in the
videogame industry and research community.
Bogost’s videogames about social and political issues cover topics as
varied as airport security, disaffected workers, the petroleum
industry, suburban errands, and tort reform. His games have been
played by millions of people and exhibited internationally at venues
including Laboral Centro de Arte (Madrid), Fournos Centre for Digital
Culture (Athens), Eyebeam Center (New York), Slamdance Guerilla Game
Festival (Park City), the Israeli Center for Digital Art (Holon) and
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne).
Bogost holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and Comparative
Literature from the University of Southern California, and a Masters
and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA. He lives in Atlanta
with his wife and two children.