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Adventures in Everyday Spaces: Hyperlocal Computer Games in 1980s–1990s Czechoslovakia

Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)

Abstract

Švelch introduces the term “hyperlocal games” to describe computer and video games created by people from a particular place about that place and about the people who inhabit it, written primarily (but not exclusively) for the local community. Drawing from three case studies from 1980s and 1990s Czechoslovakia, Švelch reads hyperlocal games as instances of de Certeau’s concept of spatial tactics and the Situationist practice of dérive. In these games, young amateurs recreated the sites of their everyday lives, such as schools, towns or hobby clubs, and subjected the resulting game spaces to their own rules, fulfilling their ambitions and challenging adult authorities. Švelch argues that studying hyperlocal games can sensitize game scholars and historians to the everyday contexts of game production.

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Fig. 2.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    For the sake of readability, I have translated titles of all games into English. Czech or Slovak titles can be found in the list of references.

  2. 2.

    I interviewed all authors with the exception Petr Hossner, the co-author of Emgeton Story . Interviews were conducted in Czech and later translated into English.

  3. 3.

    The exclusion of women from these spaces is discussed in detail in my monograph (Jaroslav Švelch 2018).

  4. 4.

    Interestingly, Fuka himself had no hand in making the game and did not even know its authors in person.

  5. 5.

    Emgeton Story takes its title from the Czechoslovak brand of audio cassettes, which were at the time the prevalent storage medium used for 8-bit computers.

  6. 6.

    Not counting the (at least) eight games taking place in unspecified schools, which may be or may not be based on real-life ones. Besides games taking place in apartments, hobby clubs, and schools, there is, for example, one set in a gas heater factory (Misterka and Hertl 1988).

  7. 7.

    Most existing literature on everyday life and youth culture in Communist Czechoslovakia focuses on the 1950s and 1960s (Knapík and Franc 2011; Knapík 2014). Later decades have mostly been studied from the perspectives of the dissent and music subcultures (Vaněk 2002, 2010).

  8. 8.

    About 44.3% Czech households owned at least one car in 1991, whereas this figure was 88.4% in the U.S. in 1990 (John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center 2003; Czech Statistical Office 2014).

  9. 9.

    Having made a game also meant having one more item in one’s software library—an item that could be given to others in exchange for pirated copies of new commercial games.

  10. 10.

    Most of the script for Stodman was written during classes at the very school where the game took place.

  11. 11.

    This collaboration was part of the game’s fiction and not based on real-life factual information.

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Švelch, J. (2021). Adventures in Everyday Spaces: Hyperlocal Computer Games in 1980s–1990s Czechoslovakia. In: Swalwell, M. (eds) Game History and the Local. Palgrave Games in Context. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66422-0_2

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