This blog post is a very small part of a much larger project that attempts to historicize and contextualize the origins of violent misogyny and toxic masculinity in video games culture. If video gaming’s masculinity was born in the arcades of the late 1970s and early 1980s, as others Like Carly Kocurek  and Shira Chess  have suggested, this project argues that it was honed and hardened by the home console market, especially by Sega of America in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, when the home video console shifted from the living room into private domestic spaces and as game companies began aggressive marketing campaigns that ultimately helped to define an ideal masculinity and a path to rebellion that was attractive to both young white men and suburban teenage boys. An identity which has had a lasting legacy and becomes uniquely tied to the contemporary identity of many white male “gamers.”Read More
Welcome to the Center for History of Video Games and Critical Play's Blog. This space is dedicated to publishing work that encourages gamers, scholars and students to consider how video and other games offer unique ways of looking at history and history pedagogy, the interpretation of games, game play, and the impact of games on culture. In doing so we hope to create a space where we engage in an academic conversations that focus on representations of history and historical narrative in both World and American histories through a variety of video and tabletop games. The work here will investigate the assumptions that guide such representations of history and analyze the extent to which the medium of history-themed video games can bring new questions and perspectives to academic history and history education.
This paper was presented at the Southwest Popular / American Cultural Association conference in Albuquerque, NM on February 7, 2018.
The use and reuse of the epic and mythic West has been iterated in many forms throughout the years. This portrayed West, however, as Daniel R. Maher writes “is the copy of a copy of a fiction.”  The “copy of a copy of a fiction” goes back to the middle 19th century, but it was always an invention – an invention that sought to reorder and reorganize how society understood and imagined itself. Dime novels in the mid-19th century used Davy Crockett to encapsulate the individual and the West; Buffalo Bill and his Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World brought the “adventures” of Western settlement and war to large arenas in the East in the late 19th century; Films, beginning with The Great Train Robbery in 1903, and later T.V. in the 1950s began to infuse the tropes of a gendered, ordered, and necessarily controlled West; Film and T.V. copied the copies of the fiction and presented a mythic representation of the “Old West,” further enhancing the idea of a lawless West needing order. Video / arcade games have more recently incorporated, or layered, a new copy of the mythic West with its concomitant masculinity and violence into this newest medium. As video / arcade games rose in relevance and popularity in the 1970s, they borrowed heavily from the well of established western myths. Early versions of these video games included titles such as Gun Fight, Boot Hill, and High Noon. While rather simple in form and action, they contained the essential copied forms of earlier mediums. As video game technology improved, the gaming platforms provided a different and more immersive experience for gamers. And while the incorporation of the Western narrative has become more complex in many of these games, they all maintain a connection to the violence and the individual cowboy of western myth – the copy of a copy ad nauseam. Many of these more recent games have garnered a strong following and some critical acclaim, including GUN, Call of Juarez, Red Dead Redemption, Lead and Gold, and Six-Guns.Read More