Events Calendar

31 Oct
Circuits of Play: Early Video Games As Spatial Topologies
Event Type

Lectures, Symposia, Etc.



Target Audience

Faculty, Graduate Students




University Unit
Humanities Center
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Circuits of Play: Early Video Games As Spatial Topologies

Join the Humanities Center at our Thursday colloquia.  Zach Horton (Pitt, English) will discuss his written work, prepared responses by several faculty experts on the topic and then an open discussion among the participants and the audience. The respondents will be Heather Kelley (CMU, Entertainment Technology Center) and Brent Malin (Pitt, Communication). 

This talk will examine the moment in media history when video games moved from the lab to the home, precipitating a dramatic shift in the organization of domestic space. Focusing primarily on the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console—released in 1972—he will trace changes in family play and household media consumption that were anticipated by the system's designers as well as linkages to political, technological, and conceptual trends at the time. He'll argue for a systems theory reading of the multiple circuits created by the Odyssey when it inserted itself as a mediating device in gender, economic, and spatial circuits, altering them in complex ways. Horton will also trace these dynamics to earlier and later video games, arguing that while the Odyssey set the course for video games a social-medial force, it also opened up potential avenues of relationality in domestic space that were lost as video games became the commercial juggernaut that was their fate a few short years later.

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Thursday, October 31 at 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Humanities Center, 602
Fifth Avenue at Bigelow, Pittsburgh, PA 15260