isa International Sociological Association
isa home abstracts home abstracts form search list of abstracts

Abstracts of dissertations

Study of the development, diffusion and social and cultural impact of 8-bit video games in Spain (1983-1992).
Meda, Ignasi

Carlos Tabernero
Center for the History of Science (CEHIC)
Autonomous University of Barcelona

Year of completion in progress

language of dissertation Spanish

  • video games
  • history of science
  • tinkering
  • technologic discourses
Areas of Research
  • Visual Sociology
  • Deviance and Social Control
  • Sociotechnics, Sociological Practice
My dissertation aims to provide a historical and sociological analysis and contextualization of the swift development and diffusion of 8-bit videogames in Spain during the 1980s. My research also problematizes different theoretical frameworks through the exploration of the period known in Spain as "The Golden Age of Spanish Software". Some video game hobbyists and experts, curious and nostalgic video game players in Spain know and regularly use such expression to refer to an unknown but rather important set of episodes that took place in the country between 1983 and 1992: the beginning and later widespread use of home computers and video games in Spanish households. According to this, it is well known that a small but promising industry of video games was created during the early 80s, although it was not until the mid and late 80s that such industry grew to the point that some information sources noted that Spain had the second most powerful video game industry in Europe, just behind UKs. However, such flourishing industry had almost disappeared in the early 90s, at the time when international video game industry was making the technological transition from 8-bit to 16-bit machines.

So far, most of the studies and publications around have focused exclusively on the analysis of the technical characteristics and the effects of video games as entertainment machines, without considering social and cultural contexts in which they have appeared and become popular. This dissertation aims to fill such gap, taking into account other scientific disciplines such as history of science, sociology of media and digital anthropology, which offer a more complex historical portrait, focusing on the multitude of information flows and social and individual actors who also contributed to Spain became, in a short time, one of the leading European producers of entertainment software for 8-bit computers.

Furthermore, this dissertation pretends to better understand entertainment technologies in areas such as:

- Knowledge of industrial relations and technological development with respect to the emergence and explosion of video games.
- Study of marketing campaigns and advertisements related to video games.
- Analysis and contextualization of the impact of computing and video games as a new phenomenon of entertainment and leisure.
- Research and recognition of relationships, interactions and mutual influences between video games and world of fiction such as movies, comics and literature.
- Exploration and analysis of relationships, interactions and mutual influences between computering, video games and idiosyncrasies of Spanish labour market.