Atari’s Star Wars and the Birth of the Multimedia Blockbuster

Forty-five years ago this summer, Star Wars arrived in theatres and changed Hollywood forever. Six years later, Luke Skywalker and friends would help revolutionize another industry: video games. Drawing on hundreds of archived corporate documents, William O’Hara (Gettysburg College) spins a tale of rapidly developing technology, media synergy, and game design history. You’ll learn how a small team of Atari engineers went from a wild idea to the first successful cinematic video game, bringing Star Wars from the silver screen to the local arcade and forging the template for the multimedia franchises that dominate today’s entertainment industry.

William O’Hara is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Gettysburg College, where he conducts research on music of the 19th and 21st centuries, and teaches courses on music theory, music history, and film & videogame music. An avid photographer, microbrewer, and soccer fan, he earned his PhD from Harvard University and now resides in Frederick, MD with his wife and two daughters.

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