Jaroslav Švelch: Subversion hinter dem Schutzschild des Fortschritts. Spielen und Schreiben von Computerspielen in den Computerclubs der kommunistischen Tschechoslowakei, in: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2021. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 267-282.


This essay points out a seeming paradox of the Czechoslovak hobby computing and gaming movement in the 1980s – the fact that its activities were supported by the state, and yet the resulting games ignored or subverted state ideology. Czechoslovak state authorities supported playing on computers as a way of teaching children how to program and become useful members of the national economy or military. Yet, computer clubs became sites of unsupervised tinkering and experimenting, and their members and alumni wrote games that poked fun at Party ideology and invited players to anti-government demonstrations. The essay has two main goals. The first is to describe how computer game cultures existed and thrived under state socialism thanks to the computer hobbyists’ tactical repurposing of the existing state infrastructures. The second is to analyze the entertaining and subversive products of that gaming culture, focusing on a specific case of the game »Šatochin«, a parody of Soviet war hero narratives. The article draws from archival research, oral history interviews, and textual analysis of preserved computer games.

Über den Autor

Jaroslav Švelch, Ph. D., geb. 1981 in Sušice. 2005 Master in Medienwissenschaften, 2011 Master in Linguistik, Phonetik und Übersetzungswissenschaften an der Karls-Universität Prag. 2007–2008 Gastwissenschaftler am Fachbereich für Vergleichende Medienwissenschaften am Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2012 Stipendiat am Microsoft Research Lab New England. 2013 Promotion in Medienwissenschaften an der Karls-Universität Prag zum Thema »Computerspiele in den 1980er-Jahren in der Tschechoslowakei«. 2017–2019 Postdoc an der Universität Bergen. Zurzeit Assistant Professor am Fachbereich Medienwissenschaften der Karls-Universität. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Gaming the Iron Curtain: How Teenagers and Amateurs in Communist Czechoslovakia Claimed the Medium of Computer Games, Cambridge, MA 2018. Daneben weitere Veröffentlichungen über die Geschichte von Spielen in der Sowjetunion, über Humor in digitalen Spielen, digitale Monster und Voice Acting in digitalen Spielen.

Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung

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