Citation: Payne, Matthew Thomas and Peter Alilunas. “Wicked Games, Part III: Caution — Content May Be Hot…and Hidden.” Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture 22.6 (April 2016). Solicited for inclusion.
Payne, Matthew Thomas and Peter Alilunas. “Regulating the Desire Machine: Custer’s Revenge and 8-Bit Atari Porn Video Games,” Television and New Media, in press.
Exploring the short and largely forgotten history of adult-oriented 8-bit video games produced for the Atari 2600 home game console, this essay argues that the games represent an important attempt by media producers to bridge the adult film and interactive entertainment industries. Although American Multiple Industries, Playaround, and Universal Gamex failed to establish a market, their titles nevertheless demonstrate how adult games function as desire machines within an erotic economy that sells a host of anticipatory pleasures. Indeed, the resulting public outcry not only led to the game industry’s first sex-based controversy, but the antagonism signals the desire to regulate sexual expression on a new media technology as game producers—following the lead of adult video professionals—attempted to transport users’ joysticks from living rooms into bedrooms.