81 Chapters
Medium 9780253017154

5. Ed Fries: The Economics and Politics of a Launch

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

THE YEARS BRIDGING THE VERY END OF THE TWENTIETH century and the very beginning of the twenty-first were an interesting time in the history of video games. A few years prior to the millennium, the video game industry experienced a gold rush the likes of which had not been seen since before the infamous crash of 1983. In the six years between the initial sale of the Atari Video Computer System and the year when millions of unsold Atari cartridges were buried in a desert landfill, no fewer than ten game consoles were put on the market, many backed by major tech-industry companies like General Electric and Magnavox or toy companies like Mattel and Milton Bradley. By comparison, between October 1992 and September 1996 at least twenty video game consoles or video game console add-ons were placed on the market. These included the Sega CD, Atari Jaguar, Sega 32X, 3DO, Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo Virtual Boy, NEC PC-FX, Amiga CD32, FM Towns Marty, Apple Bandai Pippin, Atari Jaguar CD, Casio Loopy, Tiger R-Zone, Pioneer Laser Active, Playdia, Neo Geo CD and CDZ, Supervision, Mega Duck and Cougar Boy, and Nintendo Stellaview (among others). This was a staggering amount of new technology flooding the game market in a very short time, and as was the case when a similar phenomenon occurred in the early 1980s, the vast majority of these systems failed to find an audience. In fact, the millennial transition period is probably more notable for the number of companies that found themselves forced out of the game console industry (including household names like Sega and Atari) than those that got their start in the period.

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Medium 9780253014993

7. Keeping It Real: Sports Video Game Advertising and the Fan-Consumer

Thomas P Oates Indiana University Press ePub

Cory Hillman and Michael L. Butterworth

IN THE UNITED STATES, FEW, IF ANY, CULTURAL ACTIVITIES, products, or experiences are immune to the often unrestrained hands of commercialism, marketing, and advertising in the ambitious and overzealous pursuit of audiences and consumers. Sports are especially subject to these conditions, evidenced by the following examples: advertisers spent approximately $10.9 billion on national sports broadcasts between the final quarter of 2010 through September 2011; NBC paid the International Olympic Committee $2.2 billion to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Winter and Summer Olympics; CBS and Turner Broadcasting agreed to pay nearly $11 billion to the NCAA for the rights to the annual men’s college basketball tournament. Divisional realignment in college football has also been stimulated by the desire to create “megaconferences” in the chase for lucrative television packages with major networks, and the NCAA’s decision to determine its national champion of college football’s Football Bowl Subdivision with a four-team playoff beginning in 2014 came with estimates that the tournament could be worth as much as $6 billion.1 Meanwhile, fans spent $3.2 billion on Major League Baseball (MLB) team merchandise in 2011, marking an 8.1 percent increase from the previous season, and the typical NFL fan spends approximately $60 on apparel, snacks, and other merchandise during the week of the Super Bowl.2

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Medium 9780892728060

Have you ever visited this part of the park?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Let’s make it clear before you even get started that your answer is incorrect. Katahdin, you’re saying, plain as blueberry pie. And yes, that is the state’s highest peak, the Mountain of the People of Maine, the Greatest Mountain, terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The question, however, is this: What is the beautiful basin that affords this jaw-dropping view? A small pond now within the bounds of Baxter State Park, this place was the site of a turn-of-the-century sporting camp, and a dozen cabins still sit along the shore here. From the porches of several of these, you can look out at the long ridge of Barren Mountain, the rounded crown of the Owl, the deep cut of Witherle Ravine, and Katahdin’s magnificent Hunt Spur. Beautiful as the spot is, it hasn’t always been serene. Controversy has swirled around the pond in recent years, and the place was much in the news. That’s all quieted of late, and today the waters are placid once again. Have you ever visited this part of the park? Turn to page 98 to learn more about this stunning spot.

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Do you know the names of these dangerous rocks?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

It all began with a licentious affair between a king and his lover, a married woman. At least that’s the apocryphal explanation for the name of this pair of rocky ledges off Maine’s midcoast. Apparently they were named after some similarly intimate rocks in the Thames, which were given to a man whose wife King John had gotten to know (rather too well). Very naughty stuff. In Maine this siren and her mate have been angry lovers since boats starting plying the waters around them, lashing out at many vessels and sinking their share. They mark the entrance to a busy fishing harbor, and until the late nineteenth century, all that warned mariners away from their dissolute and deathly grasp was a simple tripod beacon placed atop them. In 1892, a stone fog signal was built here, but the shipwrecks continued to claim boats and lives. So a light tower was built in 1907, one of the last lighthouses to go up on the coast of Maine. With a normal tide, the sea claims all but fifteen feet of rock here, and when it storms, there’s little to protect the light from taking a fearsome thrashing. In January of 1933, the lightkeeper’s home was flooded, and the assistant keeper was reimbursed by the Department of Commerce for the loss of his radio and Hawaiian guitar. Close to fifty years later the keeper’s house was totally destroyed. Not even the guitars made it that time. The octagonal tower was automated in 1975, and made its way on to the National Register of Historic Places in December 2002. Today, you can read a memoir by the former keeper, buy a not very sexy ceramic replica of the light for $95 (www.collectiblesrome.com), and get a boat ride out to see these adulterous rocks from a number of local cruising companies. Turn to page 101 to see where they’re located.

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8. Edward Castronova: Games, Economics, and Policies

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

EDWARD CASTRONOVA BEGINS HIS BOOK EXODUS TO THE Virtual World with a discussion of Star Trek’s holodeck that, at first glance, seems very similar to Eugene Jarvis’s discussion of that fictional technology in chapter 3 of this book. Castronova explains that it is a “perfect simulation room” that “allows users to enter into a deeply accurate simulation of any environment, from the Wild West to the surface of Pluto” (3). He begins that book with a discussion of the holodeck because, like Jarvis, he sees in it a model for where games might go and what they might do to and for the people who play them. Castronova’s perspective, however, offers a kind of cautionary reply to Jarvis’s enthusiasm. If the holodeck was ubiquitous, he offers, “no starship would do anything at all” (3). Instead, there would be a dramatic shift in what people did with their time, where they did these things, and what the value of that time was considered to be. Simulation, in the form of games, would introduce dramatic social change.

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