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Abstracts of dissertations

Study of the Development, Diffusion and Social and Cultural Impact of 8-bit Video Games in Spain (1983-1992)
 
Author
Meda, Ignasi
ignasi21mc@hotmail.com
Spain

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

Year of completion in progress

language of dissertation Spanish

Keywords
  • video games
  • history of science
  • tinkering
  • technologic discourses
Areas of Research
  • Visual Sociology
  • Deviance and Social Control
  • Sociotechnics, Sociological Practice
Abstract
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 as well as curious and nostalgic video game players in Spain know and regularly use this expression to refer to an unknown but rather important set of episodes that took place in the country between 1983 and 1992: the start and later widespread use of home computers and video games in Spanish households. It is well known that a small but promising industry of video games was created during the early 1980s. By the mid to late part of the decade, the industry grew to the point that some information sources noted that Spain had the second most powerful video game industry in Europe, just behind the UKs. The flourishing industry, however, had all but disappeared by the early 90s, the moment when the international video game industry was making the technological transition from 8-bit to 16-bit machines.

Most studies about the development and demise of 8-bit video games have exclusively focused on the games' technical characteristics and its effects entertainment machines. These studies have neglected the social and cultural contexts in which the games appeared and became popular. This dissertation aims to fill this gap by taking into account other scientific disciplines such as the history of science, the sociology of media, and digital anthropology, all of which offer a more complex historical portrait. This more holistic approach considers the multitude of information flows and social and individual actors who were also instrumental in Spain becoming, within a short period, one of the leading producers of entertainment software for 8-bit computers in Europe.

Furthermore, this dissertation analyzes:

- industrial relations and technological development with respect to the emergence and explosion of video games;
- marketing campaigns and advertisements related to video games;
- the impact of computing and video games as a new phenomenon of entertainment and leisure;
- relationships, interactions, and mutual influences between the video gaming industry and the world of fiction, including movies, comics, and literature; and
- the relationships, interactions and mutual influences between computing, video games, and idiosyncrasies of Spanish labour market.