9-1 | Tempest: Geometries of Play
Tempest: Geometries of Play
Judd Ethan Ruggill and Ken McAllister
Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2015. List of figures, introduction, appendixes, notes, works cited, and index. 168 pp. $29.95. ISBN: 9780472052691
Judd Ruggill and Ken A. McAllister’s Tempest: Geometries of Play presents a book-length study of the titular Atari arcade game Tempest, a 1981 3-D vector graphic shooter. Ruggill and McAllister provide both a close reading of Tempest and a wide sweep of its cultural context. Geometries of Play is an essential book for anyone interested in Tempest and a useful contribution to the underdeveloped history of video games prior to the Nintendo Entertainment System era. If the book has a failing, it sometimes overreaches on its claims to the game’s influence, but this overreach is always tempered by the authors’ emphasis on historic milieu over direct inspiration and an extension of the discussion into fruitful directions.