10-1 | Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America

Book Review

Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America

Michael Z. Newman
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2017. Acknowledgments, preface, notes, and index. 252 pp. $29.95 cloth. ISBN 9870262035712

by Anastasia Salter

First Paragraph:

In the introduction to Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America, Michael Newman observes that he was born in the same year as the debut of Pong (1972) and grew up during the height of the Atari craze. As a slightly younger scholar, I missed the direct experience of the Atari era. Nintendo was all the rage among my peers, though like Newman I could not convince my parents to buy the hot console of the moment. Newman succeeds both in painting the era I missed in impressive detail and in capturing its sig-nificance for scholars. Atari Age focuses on a very narrow time period at the dawn of video games, as its title suggests. It is not, however, simply an account of Atari as a business or even as a cultural producer. Instead, Newman engages with the video game and console during Atari’s reign as physical artifacts situated in changing spaces influenced by a migration from the public to the domestic sphere.