Writer – Researcher – Editor – Consultant – Publisher – Supporter 

First and foremost: I am a Leeds United supporter… “Until The World Stops Going Round” MOT/ALAW/WACCOE

I am also Chair and Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the Media School, Indiana University and Adjunct Professor in Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.  I co-edit the MIT Press Game Histories Book Series with Henry Lowood.

I am a cultural historian who is deeply enamored by the material lives of technological artifacts and by how we experience objects in the world. This obsession with objects has taken me deep into a landfill to excavate Atari’s trash and to museums where artifacts are preserved and displayed. In pursuit of objects, my work happily ping-pongs across the scholarly fields of design history, history and philosophy of technology, and museum studies, as well as my mother discipline, cultural studies. I pursued my MA and PhD at the University of Leeds in what is now called, The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. I was trained by the generation of British scholars who shaped one of the most innovative mixed-disciplinary publications in academia, BLOCK. And I proudly hail from the same institution that spawned Richard Hoggart, Tony Harrison, and the Gang of Four…

Academic Writings have taken two paths: 1) studies of technological artifacts across their different trajectories and situations; and 2) design histories of artifacts that concentrate on the design professions and practices of industrial design, graphics and visual communication, and interaction design. An emergent area for me is sports writing– centered on my concept of the “dislocated supporter” and the growing prominence of English football within the US. I have also developed an interest in sports and games branding along with the history of games and advertising.

I have written the following books: Feeling Leeds: Notes on Loving a Football Club from Afar (Pitch Publishing, 2022); Atari Design: Impressions on Coin-Operated Video Game Machines (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020); Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife (MIT Press, 2014); and my first book, Edited Clean Version: Technology and the Culture of Control (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), which may prove a “pre-history” of content moderation.

I also greatly value the experience of collaborating with friends and colleagues. This spirit has resulted in the following book projects: EA Sports FIFA: Feeling The Game (with Henry Lowood and Carlin Wing, Bloomsbury, 2022); Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon (with Henry Lowood, MIT Press, 2016); The Object Reader (with Fiona Candlin, Routledge, 2009); and Popular Culture: A Reader (with Omayra Zaragoza CruzSage, 2005). I am thrilled to share that Replayed: Essential Writings on Software Preservation and Game Histories (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023) will be published in June. I served as the general editor for this collection of Henry Lowood’s works. Matt G. Kirschenbaum provides the book’s Foreword and TL Taylor conducts an interview with Henry.

*Here are talks that Lowood, Wing, and I did on our project, EA Sports FIFA: Feeling the Game.

Collaborative ventures have also produced special themed issues of the Journal of Visual Culture which I served as a founding editor from 2000 to 2018.  In 2014 I edited, “Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man @ 50,”  and in 2012 I celebrated John Berger’s 40th anniversary of Ways of Seeing. Not one to rest, I was also a co-founder of ROMChip: A Journal of Game Histories.

My writings on design, technology, and history appear in many scholarly journals such as:   American Journal of Play, Design Issues, Design and Culture, Game Studies, Journal of Design History, and the Journal of Visual Culture to name a few.  Many of my articles can be downloaded via academia.edu

Popular Writings take the forms of a blog on William Higinbotham’s 1958 analog tennis simulation for The Strong National Museum of Play, a photoessay for the art magazine, Cabinet, on Atari’s materials excavated from the Alamogordo landfill, and a co-authored piece in The Atlantic with the team of archaeologists who excavated Atari’s games in April 2014.

The Dig: Xbox Entertainment Studios Unearths E.T. Cartridges

Consultancy Work A true career highlight for me is the consultancy work that I’ve enjoyed doing for a number of major US cultural institutions including: The Strong National Museum of Play, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, New York Historical Society, Cradle of Aviation Museum, and Institute of Museums and Library Services, among others. I have also supported collection development for The Strong and Stanford University Libraries via personal donations and by connecting donors to these institutions. In 2023 I donated my interviews with former Atari designers to Stanford University’s Silicon Valley Archive. Each Spring I serve as a judge for the World Video Game Hall of Fame housed at The Strong.

Future Projects In Spring 2023 I plan to draft a proposal for a new book entitled, “Design History of Video Games,” which will consist of a series of short essays on design issues and challenges across the history of games. I also plan to continue my writings on football culture with an article devoted to the growing support for Leeds United in the US. Further afield, I hope to co-author a book with Henry Lowood on the history of football simulations and I aim to write a short book tentatively titled, “When The World Turned Day-Glo,” on sunshine pop graphic design from 1968 – 1972. A little dream is to also write a book on temporality and music…if I can find the time.

Other Interests I am also the co-founder of Crossbar Records, an independent vinyl only record label publishing the best in new street rock ‘n’ roll, punk, and mod.


Check out: crossbarrecords.com

My leisure time (yeah, right!) consists of collecting vinyl records, playing EA Sports FIFA, educating my son on the fine art of goal keeping, and visiting Elland Road when my bank account allows.


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