Publication Details

Wilson, J. A. (2000). Odyssey renewed: Towards a new aesthetics of video gaming. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 3 (5).


The first home video-gaming console, the Magnavox Odyssey, was released in 1972. Its limited graphical capacities led Magnavox to ship it with a number of plastic overlays for the user's television that would admit a little variety into the then relatively crude gaming experience, limited to a built-in, Pong-like game. Computer and video games have come a long way since then, but it often seems as if critical approaches to gaming have continued shuffling through these plastic films, taking transformations of the screen, or on-screen events, for the whole of the gaming experience. It seems to me that reflection has been paralysed, becoming a discourse of regulation as it revolves around anxieties about gender, violence and narrative. I'd like to explore these anxieties as they've emerged in a few places, and then see if I can articulate the beginnings of an approach that might afford us a more complex, less pessimistic aesthetics of gaming.