6-1 | The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga

Book Review

The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga

Jimmy Maher
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012. Contents, notes, index, glossary, bibliography. 344 pp. $26.95 paper. ISBN: 9780262017206

Codename Revolution: The Nintendo Wii Platform

Steven E. Jones and George K. Thiruvathukal
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012. Contents, notes, bibliography, index. 216 pp. $24.95 paper. ISBN: 9780262016803

by Zach Whalen

First Paragraph:

As the second and third titles in the Platform Studies series from MIT Press, The Future Was Here (2012) by Jimmy Maher and Codename Revolution (2012) by Steven E. Jones and George K. Thiruvathukal continue the series beyond the launch title coauthored by its editors, Ian Bogost and Nick Montfort. In their Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (2009), Bogost and Montfort advanced a critical approach to historicizing the Atari VCS by reading the relationships among its technical affordances and influence on and by human culture. These latest titles share this fundamental interest in the links involving the artifacts produced on a platform, the technology involved, and the culture that surrounds both. But the chronological and thematic breadth of the works under review also demonstrate that the Platform Studies approach can provide insight both to older systems as well as emerging situations of play. The Future Was Here will be of greatest value to those wishing to learn a good deal about an important transitional system, the Commodore Amiga (produced from 1985 through the mid-1990s), and Codename Revolution will interest those following shifts in the social contexts of play that are accompanying new motion- controlled gaming paradigms. In other words, while The Future Was Here takes a deeper look into the system itself, the scope of Codename Revolution is broader, using a rigorous analysis of the Wii as a social platform to support the argument that “all platforms are social platforms.”