A Brief Contribution to Archaeogaming: Zombie Games

Enjoy this post from friend, colleague, collaborator, and Punk Archaeologist, Prof. Bill Caraher on the life and afterlife of video games.

The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World

This last month has been pretty fun.

I’ve been thinking a bit about objectbiographies, reading for a multibook review, and, believe it or not, still thinking about the Alamogordo Atari Expedition.

While these things rattled around in my brain, I got to pondering the life history of the Atari games. As the final tally on the money raised by auctioning the excavated Atari games has made the news over the past couple weeks, I wondered how these games fit into the metaphor of object biography. Object biography imagines that objects, like people, have life histories. They are born, they live fruitful, agentative, and complex lives, and then, like all life, they die.

Archaeologists then exhume these objects and they begin second lives in museums, collections, or storerooms. Some classes of objects, say, prestige goods accustomed to elite consumption continue to live on as important objects, displayed…

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