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.

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 “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

The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 2: “Esprit Romand” and the “Röstigraben”

by Pierre-Yves Hurel


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

In the first one, I presented my methodological choices, the corpus studied, and the main periods of “Computer”.
– In this second one, I address how this show was integrated into a context of regional rivalry
a series of articles to be published over the coming week


The “Groupement Romand pour l’Informatique” (G.R.I.), which presents itself as a group of computer “users” (“utilisateurs” in French), stands behind the “Computer” trade show in Lausanne. Its website (gri.ch) states actually, that the group has been meeting since 1971. They understand themselves as true “users” of IT, but the term should be understood as it was before the era of home computing: G.R.I.’s aim was, and still is, to energize the market and enable the big local players to remain competitive. A short article published in the Journal de Genève (JDG) on June 15, 1971, reports on the initial meeting of around one hundred people “representing companies, administrations, associations and schools” from all over French-speaking Switzerland. The stated aims of this independent non-profit association were to “promote and develop information for specialized circles and the general public”, develop training, distribute documentation, “participate in the definition of information technology” and, finally, “protect the interests” of its members in the IT field. Continue reading The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 2: “Esprit Romand” and the “Röstigraben”

The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 1: A first overview

This paper is part of a dossier about the “Computer” exhibition, taking place in Lausanne 1978-2004.   This dossier includes a series of articles to be published over the coming weeks. In this first one, I present my methodological choices, the corpus studied, and the main periods of “Computer”.

by Pierre-Yves Hurel

In what specific cultural and technological environment did video games emerge in French-speaking Switzerland? What are the regional particularities that need to be taken into account here? How was the computerization  covered by the local press? To answer these questions, I decided to study the media coverage of the “Computer” exhibition. The show was held biannually, then annually from 1978 to 2004 in Lausanne-Beaulieu. Enormous halls then were home to the world’s and local computer industry’s finest, spread out over multiple stands equipped with computers, goodies, and explanatory leaflets. In between the aisles, senior executives came in search of “IT solutions” and curious onlookers came to discover the newest “cutting-edge” machines.

Continue reading The “Computer” exhibition of Lausanne. Part 1: A first overview

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