John Vanderhoef, in Melanie Swalwell, Helen Stucky, and Angela Ndalianis's Fans and Videogames: Histories, Fandom, Archives, pp. 111-127, 2017.


This chapter addresses a complex array of historical, social, political, industrial and economic concerns that coalesce around the practice of contemporary NES homebrew game development. I foreground the retro-gaming industry that commodifies digital game nostalgia, drawing connections between the formal operations of this industry and its alternative forms exemplifed in NES homebrew development. While existing within the greater economy of the retro-gaming industry, retro homebrew differs considerably from industry interests in that it insists on the continued value of aging technology in the face of rapid innovation, preserves historical development practices, and encourages a model of game development and consumption that indirectly challenges the larger cultural myth of the technological sublime and opposes the consumer electronics industry practice of manufactured obsolescence.

AuthorJohn Vanderhoef