RAIFORD GUINS is an Associate Professor of Culture and Technology at Stony Brook University, US. On 16 March 2015, he gave a Medea Talk about an expanded view of ‘game design’ to include the industrial and graphic design of the historic coin-operated arcade video game cabinet.
View the lecture embedded below, or on YouTube.
Arcade Video Games and Design History
In this Medea Talk, Raiford Guins will argue for an expanded view of ‘game design’ to account for the industrial and graphic design of the historic coin-operated arcade video game cabinet. Attention is afforded to machines produced between 1971 and 1979, before color monitors and multicolored graphics became prevalent. Focusing on a period before the ‘video game craze’ hit full swing with its major ‘stars’ on the horizon and with the design paradigms of older electromechanical games still prevalent, it provides a look into machines for which cabinets played a much larger role in ‘filling in the gaps’ when the modified TVs behind the bezel still radiated in black and white. Technological constraints compelled cabinet design to play a contributory if not constitutive role in defining the game and gameplay. The talk closes with a brief introspective discussion of the particular problems facing the research of coin-op history while signaling the importance of Design History to the critical historical study of video games.
About Raiford Guins
Raiford Guins is an Associate Professor of Culture and Technology within the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory at Stony Brook University. He is also Founding Curator of the William A. Higinbotham Game Studies Collection at Stony Brook University and Principal Editor with the Journal of Visual Culture. He has recently published Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game After (MIT Press, 2014) and is currently researching his next book, tentatively entitled Serving History: A Pre-History of an Analog Computer Game Posthumously named Tennis For Two, 1941-1958. His writings on game history appear in The Atlantic, Cabinet, Design and Culture, Design Issues, Game Studies, Journal of Visual Culture, and Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture. He has also edited Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon, with Henry Lowood. The collection will be published in 2016 with MIT Press.