Video Game History and the Fact of Blackness

Russworm, TreaAndrea M.
ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories

Video games studies, including many of our most inspired written accounts of video game history, is very white. Stories about US video game pioneers, from engineers and designers to early adopters and arcade patrons, tend to be mostly about the white men who created, consumed, and periodically saved the industry. Even now that game history is on the verge of becoming as queer and ostensibly nonconformist as some aspects of its games and culture are theorized to be, these new avenues of critical investigation speak most directly to a queer mainstream that has always been constructed as white. Although there is much to be inspired by in the proliferation of emergent video game histories that are more gender-inclusive, trans, or so-called diverse, with few exceptions these progressive accounts still tend to be White. White. White. Black designers, players, blerds, and technocrats have been excluded from the canon of old and new video game histories in much the same way Frantz Fanon theorized that blackness functions as a fact: an outwardly defined pejorative social inscription that justifies its alienation and exclusion...