The Early Micro User: Games writing, hardware hacking, and the will to mod


Historical perspectives are largely absent from contemporary debates about user-making. In this paper, I approach the question of user and player making, historically. I consider what microcomputer users and players did in the 1980s, when digital games first became available to play. Excavating the practices of early users through historical research into game coding, hardware building and hacking places not only places practices such as game modification into a longer arc of cultural history of user activity. Exploring what early users did with computers also provides new perspectives on contemporary debates about users’ productivity. The high degree of interest that contemporary users’ productivity is generating in academic circles provides a wider context for such inquiries.