Mark J. P. Wolf: Video Games and the American Cultural Context

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 As the birthplace of video games and a major producer of them, the United States of America is the location of much of video game history, which is usually covered in detail when the history of video games is recounted. Although video games spread to other countries in the early 1970s, particularly to Japan and Europe, the American video game industry remains intimately bound to American popular culture. Popular American themes such as cross-cultural conflict, cultural assimilation, and the importance of personal identity are explored in many games, such as the games of the Grand Theft Auto series, the cities of which are very American in their depiction and action. Some games, like Red Dead Redemption (2010) and BioShock Infinite (2012), even have designs which refer to, and are highly influenced by, American history, even though their settings are entirely fictional.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 It makes sense, then, to explore video games within the American cultural context, and how it may have shaped their nature from their very beginning, if even in just a general way. While a large domestic audience may explain how video games quickly became a viable industry in America, other initial conditions must be examined to explain how, why, and in what form video games came about in America.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 A Convergence of Conditions

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The 1880s through the early 1900s saw the rise of arcades as places of entertainment due to the introduction of coin-operated amusement devices, including the coin-operated mutoscopes and kinetoscopes that paved the way for cinema. Like these machines, early arcade games were simple, visual, action-based, and inexpensive to play, making them similar to much early film, which appealed to a wide mass audience of limited means and education that made up a significant percentage of the American public around the turn of the century. As a nation of immigrants and many languages, visual media—including film, comics, television, and video games—have usually found widespread popularity that crosses language barriers, making them good candidates for export as well. Electromechanical games, housed in upright cabinets, provided the format that would be adopted by arcade video games, and frequently they were shooting games or racing games, genres that would become mainstays for video game makers. So the arcade provided a ready venue for video games to enter, once they could fit the arcade cabinets and be cheap enough to operate.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 From the late 1800s onward, the do-it-yourself mentality, an outlook that began with immigrant homesteading pioneers, was increasingly applied to the rapidly-spreading electrical technology. Inspired by entrepreneurs and inventors like Thomas Edison, many boys and young men experimented with telegraph and radio technologies, resulting in the formation of technological elites and the culture of hacking. The boom in technological expansion that came with the Second World War, particular in the area of computer technology, along with other resources like the G. I. Bill that increased college enrollments, encouraged the development of university laboratories, like those at MIT and the University of Utah, which became homes to mainframe computers and the hacker subculture. It was in such places that hacking led to the first mainframe games, like Spacewar! (1962), inspired as much by the technology as the American-Soviet Space Race and a renewed cultural interest in science fiction. While concurrent movements in the American art world, such as interactive installation art, abstract art, electronic music, and experiments which combined art and technology, may not have had a direct influence on the rise of video games, they at least helped contribute to an environment that helped validate the minimalistic appearance of early video games.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 During the post-war period, television was making inroads into American homes, which were now moving away from the city into the suburbs, where residents had greater leisure time to enjoy family life and activities in the home, including watching TV. Television quickly became a ubiquitous technology, leading German-born inventor Ralph Baer to consider new uses for it. Baer’s work eventually led to the first home video game console system in 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey, which was made by Magnavox, a maker of television sets. The close association of video games with television not only helped them quickly become a commercial product, as opposed to an artistic novelty or underground subculture, but also helped determine, along with electromechanical games and popular arcade video games, the kinds of genres that would come to dominate the young medium, namely shooting games, racing and driving games, and other fast-action games.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Throughout the 1960s, projects of the US Government Space Program and Department of Defense provided the motivation, and funding, for the integrated circuit industry, which in the 1970s resulted in the miniaturization and lower prices that allowed integrated circuits to start appearing in consumer products, such as pocket calculators, digital watches, and of course video games. The 1970s were another period of great technological enthusiasm, as home video, home computers, and home video games became popular. Entrepreneurs and investors funneled millions of dollars into electronics ventures and start-ups to meet the demand. The unbridled experimentation and numerous offerings led to a glutting of the market in several electronics industries, including the video game industry as well, which experienced crashes in 1977 and later in 1983-84. Pessimism followed, and it took the success of a foreign system, the Nintendo Famicon (renamed the Nintendo Entertainment System for its North American release), for the industry to rebound in 1985.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Influences after the Crash

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 The year 1985 marked a turning point in the US video game industry, which would no longer be the dominant producer of video game consoles, with Nintendo and SEGA becoming the two main contenders for industry dominance. The rise of Japanese video games in the US was foreshadowed in 1978 when Taito’s Space Invaders became a hit game in the US; it was the first foreign import to find a mass audience there. It is rather ironic, then, that Atari, America’s powerhouse video game company of the pre-Crash era, and the first company devoted solely to the production of video games, was given a Japanese name. Taken from the game of Go, “atari” means a situation in which pieces are in danger of being captured on the next turn—a forewarning of the taking over of the market when Nintendo eclipsed Atari in the mid-1980s.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 But the US market for video games was growing new sectors, such as handheld games and game systems, home computer games, and new types of technology, like that used in vector games and laserdisc games. Americans have always loved gadgets, and they bought into the new technologies that were appearing, with video games providing a reason to buy a home computer in many households; some of those, like the Texas Instruments TI99/4a home computer, even had a cartridge slot built into it. Home computers also allowed users to write their own games or type in the code for games from hobbyist magazines, carrying on the do-it-yourself tradition. Atari joined in, producing its own line of home computers, including the Atari 400, Atari 800, and the Atari ST series. Home computers also helped video games gain respectability, since they could help teach programming and the procedural, logical thinking that it required; even the Atari 2600 had a cartridge named Basic Programming (1979).

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 America had one of most advanced telephony infrastructures in the world, so with the addition of modems, home computers could use telephone lines and network with each other, resulting in new possibilities for gameplay. In 1978, the first publically-available bulletin board system (BBS) came on-line in Chicago, around the same time that the first multi-user domain, or MUD, came on-line in Essex, England. The first on-line console gaming came shortly after, with the release of Mattel’s PlayCable service in 1981 and the CVC Gameline service in 1983. Mattel’s PlayCable delivered games for its Intellivision system, while the CVC Gameline allowed Atari 2600 users to receive games on-line. The CVC Gameline Master Module plugged into the Atari 2600’s cartridge port and had an internal 1200 baud modem through which games could be loaded into the unit’s 8 KB of RAM, allowing games to be downloaded and played but not saved.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Elsewhere in American popular culture of the late 1970s and 1980s, merchandising and franchising were becoming popular business strategies, with the marketing of movies like Star Wars (1977) and its extensive toy lines and tie-in merchandise. With more movie sequels being made than ever before, intellectual property was coming to be seen as the seeds of franchises which could extend over multiple media, with each release supporting the others, giving rise to the early forms of transmedia marketing and authorship which are so popular today. Deregulation of the American media industries during the 1980s also made it easier for corporations to buy up holdings in multiple media and then distribute their content across multiple media.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Early on, then, video games became one more venue into which transmedia franchises could adapt their material. Even the relatively low-resolution Atari 2600 had dozen of cartridges for it adapted from movies, television shows, comics, literature, music, and other intellectual properties. Some cartridges were even adaptations of television commercials, including Chase the Chuck Wagon (1983) and Kool-Aid Man (1983), both of which are now sought after by collectors. The 1980s also saw video games themselves becoming the source of character-based franchises, such as those surrounding Pac-Man, Mario, and Zelda, which would also spread to other media. Thus, video games had many outside influences helping to bring them into the American public’s attention, and by the mid-1980s, they were well-established and well-integrated into the American cultural scene.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 But the American video game industry, competitive as it was, had lost its dominance. The Crash destroyed confidence in the market, and Nintendo and SEGA remained the two giants battling it out in the late 1980s. Two other foreign companies, Sony and Philips, had developed the CD-ROM, an optical disc that could store 650 megabytes of data, and by the end of the decade it would begin to replace the cartridge as the main storage medium for games. Although an American game, Cyan’s The Manhole of 1987, is generally credited with being the first video game to become available on CD-ROM, American video game companies were slow to incorporate CD-ROM drives into their game systems. Japanese companies did so much sooner. A CD-ROM add-on peripheral was released for the NEC PC-Engine/Turbogrfx-16 in 1989, and for the SEGA Mega Drive/SEGA Genesis in 1992; and in 1991, Fujitsu’s FM Towns Marty (released in Japan), became the first 32-bit system and the first console system with a built-in CD-ROM drive. Finally, in 1993, an American system, Trip Hawkins’s 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, came with a CD-ROM drive, but the console was a commercial failure and ceased production only three years later. But subsequent systems would use CD-ROMs as they became the industry standard, and by 1996, only the Nintendo 64 was still cartridge-based.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 The American video industry remained in crisis into the 1990s. Arcades were disappearing as home games improved and were able to compete against them, and even Atari, the flagship company of the American video game industry and the only company to produce arcade games, home game systems, and home computers, had lost some of its relevance and was finally merged with JTS Inc. in 1996, forming JTS Corp., which sold the Atari name and assets only two years later to Hasbro Interactive for only a fraction of what Warner Communication had bought it for over two decades earlier. Finally, in 2000, French software publisher Infogrames took over Hasbro Interactive, and the Atari brand was now no longer American.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 The mid-1990s also saw another Japanese giant entering the gaming race, with the release of the Sony PlayStation. Once the PlayStation found success, Sony began working on the PlayStation 2, drawing developers away from the Windows platform. In 1998, four engineers from Microsoft’s DirectX team put together a prototype for a gaming console, which they referred to as the DirectX Box. Microsoft accepted the idea, shortened the name to Xbox, and in November of 2001, the system was finally released, joining the PlayStation 2, released in 2000, and the Nintendo GameCube, released in 2001, in the sixth generation of console system technology. The Xbox was the first console to have a built-in hard disk drive, eliminating the need for memory cards, and the system was also known for its Xbox Live on-line gaming service. The Xbox was the first competitive home video game system to come from an American company in over a decade and a half, and soon Microsoft became one of the Big Three console producers along with Nintendo and Sony. The US was back in the gaming game.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 By 2001, computer graphics were widespread in all areas of American visual media. Computer graphics had been used in Hollywood feature films in the 1970s and 1980s, and television commercials also provided the high budgets and hunger for novelty that computer graphics needed to advance. Film and television made companies providing these graphics feasible, and those companies’ developments would find their way into video games. Home video games began using filled-polygon three-dimensional graphics around the mid-to-late 1990s, but they would always lag behind cutting-edge computer graphics due to games’ need for graphics that were rendered interactively in real-time (some games used pre-rendered imagery, but were less interactive as a result). But even with lower polygonal resolution, flat lighting, and limited textures, three-dimensionally rendered computer-generated imagery brought video games closer to other media like film and television.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Soon after the World Wide Web went worldwide in 1993, the American game industry also launched the genre of massively multiplayer on-line role-playing games. The first game to be considered as an MMORPG was 3DO’s Meridian 59 (1995), but by the end of the 1990s, the Big Three MMORPGs with the most players were Origin Systems’s Ultima Online (1997), 989 Studio’s EverQuest (1999), and Turbine Entertainment Software’s Asheron’s Call (1999). On-line games grew in popularity into the 2000s, though 2002 saw the release of both Ragnarok Online and the free-to-play MapleStory, two South Korean MMORPGs that helped make Korea a major player in the realm of MMORPGs.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 Nostalgia, Retrogaming, and Preservation

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 By the mid-1990s, many of the members of “Generation X” who had grown up with video games were beginning to have children of their own, and they were also becoming nostalgic for the early games of their own youth. As home computers became more powerful, emulators for earlier game consoles began to appear, leading to the retrogaming movement and renewed interest in early games. Communities formed on the Web to collect and exchange old game information, and homebrewers even wrote games for older systems like the Atari 2600 and the Vectrex. Over the next decades, not only would older games be re-released in new forms for newer systems, but the old games would also prove to be good fodder for the tiny screens of cell phones and other mobile gaming devices, which, at the time, had neither the computational power nor the screen resolution to compete with contemporary home console games and home computer games.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Nostalgia not only calls attention to objects of the past, it also helps reveal the current state of their preservation. In the United States, video games were the object of study by hobbyists and journalists from the 1970s onward, discussed in such venues as the magazine Popular Electronics, which featured a multi-part essay by Jerry and Eric Eimbinder on the history of video games which appeared beginning in October of 1980. In the 1980s, entire magazines devoted to games appeared, such as Electronic Games (1981-1985), Computer Gaming World (1981-2006), Atari Age (1982-1984), Commodore Power/Play (1982-1985), Amiga World (1985-1995), GamePro (1989-2011), and others. During the 1980s, psychologists like Patricia Marks Greenfield also studied video games and their effects on youth, and in 1985, the first doctoral dissertation on video games, Interactive Fiction: The Computer Storygame ‘Adventure’, was written by Mary Ann Buckles at the University of California, San Diego. Alongside the retrogaming movement, video games were gradually acknowledged as objects worth of preservation, with Hot Circuits: A Video Arcade as the first museum exhibit devoted to video games, which ran from June of 1989 to May of 1990 at the American Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Nostalgia was not limited to Americans, either, as video games had been around long enough in many countries for the retrogaming movement to appear in many areas around the globe. Games in general were no longer made only for domestic markets, but drew interest and profits from a much wider audience. Perhaps today more than ever, specific cultural content and influence from their cultures of origin may be what set games apart from others, allowing them to offer something which cannot be found elsewhere.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 The Continuing Relevance and Development of American Video Games

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Possibly attributed to the pioneer spirit, the desire to invent and innovate also has an entrepreneurial side, which business conditions in America tend to encourage. Applied to video games, we find that there are such a wide range of video games, along with their design styles, goals, and game content, that it becomes difficult to say anything in general that applies to all American video games. Here, for example, are screenshots from Sneak ‘n’ Peak (1982), flOw (2006), Passage (2007), and The Stanley Parable (2013) (see Figure 1).

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 Figure 1. Screenshots from Sneak ‘n’ Peak (1982) (top, left); flOw (2006) (top, right); Passage (2007) (bottom, left); and The Stanley Parable (2013) (bottom, right).

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 Sneak ‘n Peak is a game based on hide and seek, played in a simple house with extremely limited graphics, an odd idea for a game from a time when graphics were so limited. flOw is an abstract game in which the player controls an undersea creature which eats other organisms, growing and changing based on what is eaten, an open-ended game which continues as long as one wishes to play. Passage is an Art game, a deliberately low-resolution game which is not about winning or losing but rather a metaphor for the passage of a person’s entire life, played on a horizontal strip of a screen that compacts on both ends but opens out in the middle where the player’s character is moving. The Stanley Parable is a game known for its breaking of the rules and conventions that video game players expect, which is responsible for much of its charm and uniqueness.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 One can also debate where the line around “American games” should be drawn; while flOw was made by American game company thatgamecompany, the main design force behind the game was Jenova Chen, a Chinese immigrant who came to the United States to study at USC, where the game became his Master’s thesis. How long must someone live in the US to be considered American? At the same time, the wide-ranging mix of immigrants and other cultures is itself a part of what made America what it is, and continues to be important.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Diversity can also be attributed to the fact that independents and small studios make up a large part of the American video game industry. The Entertainment Software Association’s 2017 report, “Analyzing the American Video Game Industry 2016”, provides the following statistics:

  • 29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0
  • There are 2,457 active game companies in the United States across 2,858 locations.
  • Game companies are located in all 50 states and 83.70% of Congressional districts.
  • There are an estimated 65,678 direct employees in America’s video game industry.
  • 99.7% of American-based game companies are small businesses.
  • Video game industry growth is due to (1) the rise of independent video game developers, who in 2016 made up 98.10% of all company additions, and (2) the increasing amount of video game studies courses and programs offered across 940 American educational institutions of higher learning. (ESA 4)

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 The report also noted that 94.57% percent of the 2,457 companies were founded domestically (ESA 5), and that “96.55% of Congressional districts have either a video game company or a higher educational institution offering education in video game studies” (ESA 11). Most of the companies also publish their own games, and “70.80% of developers create content for computer and online distribution platforms” (ESA 23). Thus, the American video game industry is robust and widespread, and so it is naturally an arena where competition is vital.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 It is perhaps not surprising, then, that competition-based games have become the dominant form of video gaming. It did not necessarily have to be so, and cooperative games could have become the dominant type; consider the mass popularity of cooperative MMORPGs in Asia, where culture tends to be more collective in nature than individualistic. Other genres, like adventure games that require navigation and exploration or puzzle games, or open-ended sandbox-style games, could have also become dominant; but they did not. Instead, one of the most popular genres is the first-person shooting game, the very name of which emphasizes an individual’s first-person perspective on the world of the game.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 American video game arcades from the early days of video game history provided an interesting combination of competition and individualism at the same time; many arcade game were played by a single player while others merely watched the performance, yet from Asteroids (1979) onward, many games featured personalized high-score tables where players could record their initials, making them able to compete with others for high scores, and even compete with their own high scores. The connection between video games and war has been present in American films like Tron (1982), WarGames (1983), Cloak & Dagger (1984), The Last Starfighter (1984), Toys (1992), Ender’s Game (2013), and Ready Player One (2018). Typically in these films, the otherwise virtual activities within video games become tied to real world stakes and consequences, and the development of players’ game skills become connected to some type of life-or-death military conflict. The American military has used video games in its training ever since Atari’s BattleZone (1980) was retooled for the military as the Bradley Trainer, and of course countless video games have war and personal combat as their subject matter. There are so many connections between war and video gaming that it is difficult to even imagine that it might have been otherwise, until one considers the wide range of content in video games coming out in industries around the world.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 Part of the reason for its continuing relevance is the industry’s willingness to take risks; American companies have risked some of the highest budgets to ever be spent on video game development. According to statistics found on Wikipedia regarding on game development and marketing costs, American companies have published nine out of ten of the most expensive video games, with Grand Theft Auto V costing $265 milllion.7 The total cost of developing and marketing each of these games is over $100 million, which represents risks on a similar scale with big-budget Hollywood films. Of course, it should also be noted that Wikipedia’s “List of commercial failures in video gaming” also contains a fair share of failed endeavors by American companies.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 Of course, sometimes the expectations of industry can also go too far, and ask too much of employees.  As production deadlines near and “crunch time” goes into effect to get games done by their release dates, workers can be asked to put in long hours, sometimes without the additional pay that usually comes with working overtime.  For example, in 2004, Electronic Arts faced a class-action lawsuit, Jaime Kirschenbaum vs. Electronic Arts, which accused the company of not paying employees the overtime pay they deserved. It all began when a blogger claiming to be the spouse of an EA employee complained that graphic artists were treated unfairly and asked to work a typical week of 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. The suit was finally settled a year later in 2005, with EA paying out $15.6 million. Months later a second lawsuit was filed, this time for overtime pay for programmers and engineers, which was later settled for $14.9 million (Surette). Four year after that, in 2010, the wives of workers at the San Diego branch of Rockstar Games complained about the working conditions endured by their spouses and threatened legal action, posting an open letter on Gamasutra from “Determined Devoted Wives of Rockstar San Diego Employees,” after the “crunch mode” period required for the completion of Red Dead Redemption (2010) (Chalk). What is interesting in both of these cases is that it was the employees’ spouses at home, not the employees themselves, who initiated these complaints, suggesting that the long hours are assumed to be a part of the internal culture of the industry.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 Finally, there is one vast area of popular culture, advertising, which has cast its immense shadow on American video games and should be considered here. First, game advertisements very quickly framed video games as a product and family activity for the home, as something interactive and conducive to family-bonding as opposed to the relatively passive activity of watching television, helping it become an accepted part of American culture. Second, like all other media to come along before it, video games also became yet one more venue for advertising itself to reach an audience.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 Advertisements were introduced into games beginning in the early 1980s. Atari’s Pole Position (1982) used in-game roadside signs (see Figure 2) to advertise real companies, and Chase the Chuck Wagon (1983), Kool-Aid Man (1983), and Pepsi Invaders (1983) were all essentially advertising.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Figure 2. Roadside billboard advertising, in various ports of Atari’s Pole Position (1982), the first game to feature in-game advertisements.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 Some games came with the products they advertised, for example, Quaker Oats’s Cap’n Crunch’s Crunchling Adventure (1999) was released on a CD-ROM attached to cereal boxes. The companies most interested in advergaming, as it came to be called, tended to be those marketing food and drink to younger crowd: snack food and soda companies like 7-Up, Coca-Cola, Cheetos, and Pepsi, and fast-food restaurant chains like Burger King, McDonald’s, and Domino’s Pizza. Advergames could target adults as well; for example, car manufacturers including BMW, Toyota, and Volvo also produced advergames.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 After the appearance of web-based games, advergames began appearing on-line, usually with links to companies’ websites, allowing games to be more closely connected with their company and company information, and spreading the games digitally without additional cost, resulting in viral marketing. Services like The Massive Network can place ads into on-line video games through the use of software development kits that place advertising images onto in-game billboards, posters, and other surfaces, and can change these ads over time. Advertising, then, has become just another way of adding verisimilitude to the vast video game worlds that emulate the real one, and which, more than ever, are designed for consumption around the world.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0  Producing for a Global Market

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 By the turn of the millennium, video games were well-established in most countries around the world, with many strong national industries producing games for worldwide consumption, including console games, on-line games, computer games, and casual games. At the same time, the very notion of a national video game industry is itself becoming blurred and eroded. Major game-companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Rockstar Games have offices in multiple countries, and it is not unusual for games to cross many borders during their production.

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 And today, it’s easier than ever to start a video game company. The availability of off-the-shelf hardware and software tools for game design, coupled with the growing market for mobile games and the ease of their distribution and delivery, have reduced the overhead necessary for starting a company, making them possible even in economically-depressed parts of the world. Mobile games and MMORPGs quickly propagate far beyond their national origins, and hits like Angry Birds (2009), from Finland, and Pou (2013), from Lebanon, demonstrate that top-selling games can come from smaller national industries. Simultaneous world-wide releases offer the lure of greater profits, and increasingly multinational corporations are up to the task. Games like Grand Theft Auto V (2013), by multinational video game developer and publisher Rockstar Games, had a reported development and marketing budget of USD $266 million (Acuna) and made USD $800 million on its first day of sales. It reached USD $1 billion after three days, making it the fastest-selling entertainment product in history (Goldfarb, Thier, Westbrook). Only with the anticipation of a global audience—and the means for simultaneous worldwide release—are such successes possible.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 Collaborations, company ownership, branch office locations, and franchised intellectual property (IP) are crossing national boundaries more than ever before. For example, The LEGO Group, a Danish company, hired Travellers’ Tales, a British company now a subsidiary of the American Company Warner Bros. Interactive (itself owned by conglomerate Time Warner, Inc.), to produce LEGO-themed video games, and to do so, Traveller’s Tales outsourced some of the work to the Argentine company Three Melons; the games were then programmed for systems from the US and Japan. Thus, the companies influencing the final form of the LEGO games are located in at least five countries on four continents. And this is not unusual; according to a 2008 Game Developer Research survey, 86% of game studios used outsourcing for some aspect of game development (“Survey”).

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 So just as many national video game histories are finally being written, the very concept of a national industry is being reconfigured by the growing shift toward transnational game development. What is more, such transnational exchanges also enrich the cultures they impact, while at the same time establishing video game conventions at a global scale, spreading influence and combining ideas until they can no longer claim a single country of origin.  The cross-fertilization of ideas and influence has yielded a rich harvest of diverse designs and styles, form and content, transcending points of origin and opening to the further exploration of the possibilities that video game designers have yet to discover.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 Works Cited

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 Acuna, Kirsten. “Grand Theft Auto V Cost More To Make Than Nearly Every Hollywood Blockbuster Ever Made.” Business Insider, 9 Sep. 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/gta-v-cost-more-than-nearly-every-hollywood-blockbuster-2013-9. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Chalk, Andy. “‘Rockstar Wives’ Complain About Working Conditions.” The Escapist, 11 Jan. 2010, http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/97391-Rockstar-Wives-Complain-About-Working-Conditions. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Eimbinder, Jerry, and Eric Eimbinder. “Electronic Games: Space-Age Leisure Activity,” Popular Electronics, October 1980, pp. 53-59.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 Entertainment Software Association. “Analyzing the American Video Game Industry 2016.” February 2017. http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ESA-VG-Industry-Report-2016-FINAL-Report.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 Goldfarb, Andrew. “GTA 5 Sales Hit $1 Billion in Three Days.” IGN, 20 Sep. 2013, http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/09/20/gta-5-sales-hit-1-billion-in-three-days. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 “List of most expensive video games to develop.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Marks Greenfield, Patricia. Mind and Media: The Effects of Television, Video Games, and Computers. Harvard UP, 1984.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Surette, Tim. “EA Settles OT Dispute, Disgruntled ‘Spouse’ Outed.” Gamespot, 26 Apr. 2006, https://www.gamespot.com/articles/ea-settles-ot-dispute-disgruntled-spouse-outed/1100-6148369. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 “Survey: Outsourcing in Game Industry Still on Increase.” Gamasutra, 2 Apr. 2009, http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=23008. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Thier, Dave. “GTA 5 Sells $800 Million In One Day.” Forbes, 18 Sep. 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2013/09/18/gta-5-sells-800-million-in-one-day. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 Westbrook, Caroline. “Grand Theft Auto 5: Game Smashes Records to Become ‘Fastest Selling Entertainment Product Ever’ after Passing $1bn Mark.” Metro News, 21 September 2013, http://metro.co.uk/2013/09/21/grand-theft-auto-5-becomes-fastest-selling-entertainment-product-ever-after-passing-1bn-mark-4061933. Accessed 30 Dec. 2018.

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