[SIGCIS-Members] Book announcement: GAMING THE IRON CURTAIN out Dec 18 on MIT Press

Ben Peters bjpeters at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 10:36:04 PST 2018


Delighted to hear, Jaroslav! I warmly recommend it and mean every bit of
this blurb:

“At once necessary and original, disciplined and deliberately disorienting,
informative and crackling with gamer intelligence, *Gaming the Iron Curtain*
expertly guides the reader through the peripheral thickets of gaming
subcultures in Czechoslovak hobby computing in the 1980s. Švelch sketches
the political complexities of Czechoslovak computing cultures and uncovers
how unknown Central European homebrewers dreamt up new meanings of 'Hello,
world!' in the Soviet bloc. A welcomed and pioneering work.”

Benjamin Peters, Associate Professor, University of Tulsa; author of *How
Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet*

On Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 1:16 PM Jaroslav Švelch <jaroslav at svelch.com> wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
>
>
>
> I have mostly been just a lurker on this list, mainly because I have never
> been to a SHOT conference and don’t know most members in person. This might
> change next year, as I’m planning to come to Milan.
>
> However, I would like to announce the release of my book Gaming the Iron
> Curtain: How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia Claimed
> the Medium of Computer Games.
>
>
>
> The book tells a social history of computer games in 1980s Czechoslovakia
> in seven chapters, starting with technology policies and hardware
> manufacturing, and ending with activist games about the 1988-89
> demonstrations that led up to the Velvet Revolution. Along the way, I peek
> into paramilitary youth clubs, arcades on wheels, and bedrooms and kitchens
> of computer enthusiasts. I also dicuss informal software distribution,
> gaming fanzines, DIY joysticks, illegal arcade machine manufacturing, ports
> and conversions, and some very local computer game genres. I’m hoping the
> book will be of interest not only to game scholars, but also to historians
> of computing and technology in general. Also, it has cool photos!
>
>
>
> The book is coming out December 18 with MIT Press in the Game Histories
> series: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/gaming-iron-curtain
>
> If you’d like to ask for a review copy, please contact David Ryman at MIT
> Press: dryman at mit.edu
>
>
>
> Best,
>
> Jaroslav
>
>
>
> An official summary follows:
>
>
>
> ================================================
>
> GAMING THE IRON CURTAIN
>
> How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia
>
> Claimed the Medium of Computer Games
>
> Jaroslav Švelch
>
> https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/gaming-iron-curtain
>
> ================================================
>
>
>
> Summary
>
> ------------------
>
> Aside from the exceptional history of Tetris, very little is known about
> gaming culture behind the Iron Curtain. But despite the scarcity of home
> computers and the absence of hardware and software markets, Czechoslovakia
> hosted a remarkably active DIY microcomputer scene in the 1980s, producing
> more than two hundred games that were by turns creative, inventive, and
> politically subversive. In Gaming the Iron Curtain, Jaroslav Švelch offers
> the first social history of gaming and game design in 1980s Czechoslovakia,
> and the first book-length treatment of computer gaming in any country of
> the Soviet bloc.
>
> Švelch describes how amateur programmers in 1980s Czechoslovakia
> discovered games as a medium, using them not only for entertainment but
> also as a means of self-expression. Sheltered in state-supported computer
> clubs, local programmers fashioned games into a medium of expression that,
> unlike television or the press, was neither regulated nor censored. In the
> final years of Communist rule, Czechoslovak programmers were among the
> first in the world to make activist games about current political events,
> anticipating trends observed decades later in independent or experimental
> titles. Drawing from extensive interviews as well as political, economic,
> and social history, Gaming the Iron Curtain tells a compelling tale of
> gaming the system, introducing us to individuals who used their ingenuity
> to be active, be creative, and be heard.
>
> ------------------
>
>
>
> Jaroslav Švelch, Ph.D.
> New media and digital games scholar (http://svelch.com)
> Postdoctoral fellow, University of Bergen
> Games and Transgressive Aesthetics project: http://gta.b.uib.no/
> Assistant professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University,
> Prague (on leave)
> ________________________________________________________
> My book GAMING THE IRON CURTAIN: How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist
> Czechoslovakia Claimed the Medium of Computer Games
> Coming out December 2018 with MIT Press,
> https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/gaming-iron-curtain
>
> Phone: +420 773 988 425
>
>
>
>
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-- 
Benjamin Peters

Associate Professor, Media Studies, the University of Tulsa
Affiliated Fellow, the Information Society Project, Yale Law School
Recent books on the (2018 Computer History Museum & 2017 Vucinich
Prizes) Soviet
Internet
<http://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Network-Nation-Information/dp/0262034182/>
 and Digital Keywords <http://amzn.to/1ToHD4v>
Benjaminpeters.org
Tweet @bjpeters
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