Le salon “Computer” de Lausanne. Partie 5 : Quand le jeu vidéo ne fait pas évènement

par Pierre-Yves Hurel


Contexte : Cet article fait partie du dossier à propos du salon lausannois “Computer”

  • Dans le premier (lien), j’ai présenté mes choix méthodologiques, le corpus étudié et les principales périodes du salon.
  • Dans le second article (lien), je relate comment cette foire était intégrée dans un contexte de rivalité régionale.
  • Dans le troisième article (lien), j’étudie les entreprises présentes sur le salon.
  • De le quatrième article (lien), je relate les ambiguités de Computer dans son adresse au grand public, ainsi que l’ouverture relative au domaine culturel.
  • Dans ce cinquième article, j’étudie la place tenue que le jeu vidéo semble avoir occupé au sein du salon.

Nous l’avons vu lors des articles précédents, le jeu vidéo n’est pas au centre de l’attention du salon lausannois de l’informatique « Computer ». Une première lecture superficielle du corpus pourrait même pousser à croire en son absence totale. Et pourtant, à y regarder de plus près du côté des illustrations, des termes génériques et des CD-ROM interactifs, le salon semble bien avoir été, un peu malgré lui, un vecteur de diffusion de jeux vidéo en Suisse romande. Continue reading Le salon “Computer” de Lausanne. Partie 5 : Quand le jeu vidéo ne fait pas évènement

The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 5: When video games are no event.

par Pierre-Yves Hurel


Context : This paper is part of a dossier about the “Computer” exhibition, taking place in Lausanne 1978-2004.  

  • In the first part (link), I presented my methodological choices, the media corpus, and the main periods of  the “Computer” exhibition.
  • In the second part (link), I have shown to what extent the show became part of a regional rivalry.
  • In the third part (link), I listed the companies attending the “Computer” fair and showed its clientele.
  • In the fourth part (link), I showed the deep ambivalence of the targeted audience and the slow intrusion of cultural aspects in the exhibition.
  • In this fifth part, I will be studying the place that video games occupied at the fair.

As we’ve seen in my previous articles, video games were not exactly in the focus of attention of the “Computer” exhibition in Lausanne. At a first cursory glance, you might even think they were missing completely. And yet, on closer inspection the show does seem to have been, somewhat despite itself, a moment of dissemination for video games in French-speaking Switzerland. Continue reading The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 5: When video games are no event.

Case Study: Necronom (Lunatic Software/Linel, 1991, Amiga)

by Aurelia Brandenburg, Adrian Demleitner, Arno Görgen, Addrich Mauch, and Eugen Pfister

Monsters, space, and guns all wrapped up in a shoot-em-up – Necronom, published by Linel in 1991, first got high praises in 1990, but then never took off the way first reports in the press anticipated. With this case study, our team tried to trace the game’s development, its strange course of reception and its contents itself.

Continue reading Case Study: Necronom (Lunatic Software/Linel, 1991, Amiga)

The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 4: On the margins of “Computer”: cultural production

by Pierre-Yves Hurel


Context : This paper is part of a dossier about “Computer” exhibition.

  • In the first part (link), I detailed my methodological choices, presented the corpus of newpsaper sources and a chronology of the “Computer” exhibition.
  • In the second part (link), I have shown to what extent show was integrated into a context of regional rivalry
  • In the third part (link), I listed the companies attending “Computer” and introduce the clientele.
  • In this fourth article, I’m considering the ambivalence of targeting the show’s audience and the slow intrusion of cultural artefacts in the exhibition.
  • More articles will be published over the coming week

Who was Lausanne’s Computer trade show targeted audience? If you’ve read the previous articles, the answer seems obvious: local swiss professionals. All the more surprising is the emphasis with which the organizers had to repeat that their show was only for professionals, because crowds of enthusiasts and interested families had to be explicitly rejected for years… before a belated about-turn. Continue reading The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 4: On the margins of “Computer”: cultural production

Le salon “Computer” de Lausanne. Partie 3 : Les géants, les utilisateurs et l’informatique romande à travers le temps

par Pierre-Yves Hurel


Contexte : Cet article fait partie du dossier à propos du salon lausannois “Computer”

    • Dans le premier (lien), j’ai présenté mes choix méthodologiques, le corpus étudié et les principales périodes du salon.
    • Dans le second article (lien), je relate comment cette foire était intégrée dans un contexte de rivalité régionale.
    • Dans ce troisième article, j’étudie les entreprises présentes sur le salon.
    • De nouveaux articles seront publiés dans les prochaines semaines.

Au sein du salon lausannois de l’informatique « Computer » cohabitent les « géants » venus de l’étranger et les acteurs locaux. Ces derniers sont de différentes natures : il y a d’une part les « utilisateurs » – les grandes entreprises (privées ou publiques) locales qui viennent exposer leurs projets en lien avec l’informatisation de la suisse romande, et d’autre part les jeunes pousses qui proposent leurs propres logiciels. Il est vraisemblable que « Computer » (et les autres foires) joue un rôle important en termes de networking pour les acteurs impliqués dans l’exposition – cette fonction est d’ailleurs explicité lors d’un article de 2001. Continue reading Le salon “Computer” de Lausanne. Partie 3 : Les géants, les utilisateurs et l’informatique romande à travers le temps

The dawn of the German Football Management Games: Starbyte Super Soccer (1991)

by Beat Suter

The following text originally appeared here.

Starbyte Super Soccer is one of those early football management games (genre: strategy). The name had to be chosen that way because there were other products with the same name Super Soccer, for example from Nintendo. And Starbyte itself already had another soccer strategy game on offer with Soccer Manager Plus (1989). Two years later, the new soccer manager game focused on the German Bundesliga and tried to be as accurate as possible. Continue reading The dawn of the German Football Management Games: Starbyte Super Soccer (1991)

The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 3: American giants and local users

by Pierre-Yves Hurel


Context : This paper is part of a dossier about “Computer” exhibition.  

  • In the first part (link), I detailed my methodological choices, presented the corpus of newpsaper sources and a chronology of the “Computer” exhibition.
  • In the second part (link), I have shown to what extent show was integrated into a context of regional rivalry
  • In this third part, I will list the companies attending “Computer” and introduce the clientele.
  • More articles will be published over the coming weeks

At Lausanne’s “Computer” trade show, international “giants” peacefully coexist with local actors. There were the as well large local companies (private or public) who come to showcase their projects linked to the computerisation of French-speaking Switzerland as also young developers who presented their own software. It is likely that the “Computer” exhibition (like other fairs) played an especially important networking role for the actors involved in the exhibition – a function explained in this article in “Le Temps” from 2001. Continue reading The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 3: American giants and local users

Chunky Game Booklets – Part 3: From Strategy Guides to Downsizing the printed matter

by Beat Suter

Instruction Manuals – accessible and for everyone, but now obsolete

Most games in the 80s and 90s came on discs or CD-ROMs in artful cardboard boxes and contained an insightful instruction manual. The printed booklet was essential for teaching how to play the game, telling a story or prologue and making a player familiar with the computer system the game was made for. Instruction manuals were clear and detailed, often even extensive. The Swiss games of the 80s and 90s relied on them as much as any other game. These instruction manuals showed an interesting diversity of approaches from story booklets over cartoons to extensive strategy guides.


Part 1 — A Serious Manual
Part 2 — Story Booklets
Part 3 — From Strategy Guides to Downsizing the printed matter


Continue reading Chunky Game Booklets – Part 3: From Strategy Guides to Downsizing the printed matter

Of Bare Chested Men and Violence: Barbarians and War in 1980s games and press coverage

by Aurelia Brandenburg and Adrian Demleitner

This text traces a joint inquiry into a loose link between bare chested men as protagonists and the depiction of violence in 1980s video games. For this analysis, we collaborated from our respective perspectives from historical and design research. Aurelia Brandenburg has a background in history, digital humanities and gender studies and Adrian Demleitner in software studies and design research. Our focus was on the reception as well as visual semantics of video games that used barbarian- or soldier-themed characters.

Continue reading Of Bare Chested Men and Violence: Barbarians and War in 1980s games and press coverage

Chunky Game Booklets – Part 2: Story Booklets

by Beat Suter

Instruction Manuals – accessible and for everyone, but now obsolete

Most games in the 80s and 90s came on discs or CD-ROMs in artful cardboard boxes and contained an insightful instruction manual. The printed booklet was essential for teaching how to play the game, telling a story or prologue and making a player familiar with the computer system the game was made for. Instruction manuals were clear and detailed, often even extensive. The Swiss games of the 80s and 90s relied on them as much as any other game. These instruction manuals showed an interesting diversity of approaches from story booklets over cartoons to extensive strategy guides.


Part 1 — A Serious Manual
Part 2 — Story Booklets
Part 3 — From Strategy Guides to Downsizing the printed matter – coming soon


Continue reading Chunky Game Booklets – Part 2: Story Booklets

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