10-1 | The New Video Game History

Welcome to the American Journal of Play special issue on the new video game history, another in the series of theme issues we publish from time to time. Each focuses on an important topic in the fast-developing study of play. Each is guest edited by a distinguished expert on the topic. And each includes work by the leading researchers and thinkers on the topic. Our guest editor, video game historian and director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) Jon-Paul C. Dyson has assembled a series of articles that raise new questions about—and explore innovative approaches to—the study of video game history. An interview with Dyson, who discusses ICHEG’s efforts to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of video games, opens the issue. Raiford Guins interrogates the concept of a new video game history by analyzing changes in the research and writing of game history. Carly Kocurek examines the lives of three often overlooked women—a game regulation activist, an arcade route operator, and an industry executive. Laine Nooney deconstructs the origin story of early computer game developer Sierra On-Line and the company’s first game Mystery House. And in an excerpt from psychologists Patrick M. Markey and Christopher J. Ferguson’s book Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong, the authors examine the violent video game moral panic and its impact on game research. Taken together, these articles challenge our approach to video game history, explore new methodologies and source materials, and underscore the importance of video games to evolving histories of play.