Red Threads: Robert Maxwell and the Early UK and International Videogames Industry

Wade, Alex (2022) Red Threads: Robert Maxwell and the Early UK and International Videogames Industry. Game Studies, 21 (4). ISSN 1604-7982

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This paper examines Robert Maxwell’s involvement with the UK and global videogames industry. While Robert Maxwell was heavily involved in the formation of the UK and international videogame industry, accounts of his involvement are often limited to the intrigue around the acquisition of Alexey Pajitnov’s seminal puzzler Tetris from the USSR in the late 1980s. Yet, for scholars of videogames, Maxwell’s influence over the videogames industry extends far beyond feted accounts of Russian software, stretching backwards and forwards through the culture and history of the international videogames industry. Contributing to this legacy through archival, primary and secondary sources, this paper unveils Maxwell’s considerable sway over videogames, hardware and software, including histories of Sinclair Computing, Mirrorsoft, Microdealer and Sphere Inc, demonstrating links that extended across Europe and the United States showing the crucial position of Maxwell to the early commercial videogame industry. In conclusion, the paper argues for an unacknowledged and uncomfortable acceptance that local and international videogame industries are built on a pyramid of illegal and unethical activities, at the amateur, semi-professional and professional levels.

Item Type: Article
31 August 2021Accepted
1 January 2022Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Robert Maxwell, 1980s British Videogames, Mirror Group, Mirrorsoft, 1980s Eastern European videogames, US videogames
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-04 - heritage studies
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Alex Wade
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2022 09:31
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 16:59

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