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Coin-Operated AmericansRebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade$
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Carly A. Kocurek

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691821

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691821.001.0001

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Play Saves the Day

Play Saves the Day

Tron, Wargames, and the Gamer as Protagonist

(p.115) 5 Play Saves the Day
Coin-Operated Americans

Carly A. Kocurek

University of Minnesota Press

Drawing from the discussion of technomasculine ideals and game violence from previous chapters, this chapter analyzes gaming-related Hollywood films that provide iconic examples of the deployment of technomasculinity in popular narratives: TRON and WarGames. Both films focus on the exploits of boyish gamer protagonists who display a sophisticated knowledge of computer technologies and a willingness to bend or break established rules to pursue their own ends. In both films, anxieties about video gaming and computer technologies are subsumed by celebratory narratives of sophisticated technological abilities and masculine dominance. Further, in both films, the characters’ technological expertise and willingness to bend rules prevent significant disaster. The films’ ongoing popularity speaks to their continued resonance, a resonance that Disney’s 2010 TRON sequel, TRON: Legacy, demonstrates especially well. In analyzing these films, Kocurek provides an important historical context for current discourse surrounding not only gamers but male technologies.

Keywords:   Gamers, TRON, WarGames, Video game film, Game studies, Media studies, Technomasculinity, Male technologies

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