Nick Montfort and I were thinking about the Platform Studies series today, as we are wont to do. There are two books in the series that are nearing completion now, which we are delighted about, but there are many more to be written. We were talking about some platforms that we thought were large and low-hanging fruit for any interested authors – ones that would be great to write about. These are a few platforms or families of platforms that seem to us to have interesting technical aspects, diverse and important historical connections, a good amount of worthwhile cultural production, and a number of adherents:

  • Apple II


  • Commodore 64

  • Flash

  • Game Boy and/or Game Boy Advance

  • iPhone and iPad

  • Java

  • Macintosh

  • MSX

  • NES

  • PC

  • System/360

  • Unix and Linux

  • Windows (“Wintel”)

In case there’s anything that seems puzzling about this list: A platform, as far as the Platform Studies series is concerned, is something that supports programming and programs, the creation and execution of computational media. (This is pretty much what Wikipedia defines as a computing platform, too.) So BASIC, Java, and Flash are as much platforms as the mainly-hardware consoles and computers that are listed, as are the operating systems on the list.

If any of these interest you enough that you’d consider writing a book about them, please contact me and/or Nick. If you have a favorite platform that we haven’t mentioned and want to suggest that someone write about it, please leave us (and any potential authors who are reading) a comment. You can also do so at Nick’s blog, where a startlingly similar post offers a startlingly similar invitation.

* Results not typical.

published June 9, 2011


  1. Max Geiger

    CD-i. I’m not joking.

  2. Ian Bogost

    No reason to kid, we’d happily consider a book on the CD-i.

  3. Tanner Higgin

    Dreamcast, please.

  4. Tama Leaver

    Sure the AMIGA deserves to be on that list!

  5. Anders Howard


  6. Robert Jackson

    The Addams Family Pinball Machine

    The history and legacy of that machine is far more interesting than anyone remembers.

  7. marcell mars


    web browser (html/javascript).

  8. Ian Bogost

    @Tama Leaver

    We have an Amiga book forthcoming already!

  9. Michael Austin

    I think something on the Sega arcade boards of the ’90s (the Models 1, 2 and 3) would be really interesting. They employed aerospace engineers to create them! Who now work for Lockheed Martin! Plus remember how cool Virtua Fighter looked?!

  10. Michael Austin

    For a less than serious suggestion, would anyone read a book about the Tiger R-Zone?

  11. William Huber

    emacs. (Not volunteering.)