Computer games in a museum? At Aachen’s Ludwig Forum visitors can currently transform themselves into whatever they want or fight duels with pixelated swords.
OXO, Pong, Pac Man, Tetris, Pokémon, Mario, The Sims, Counter Strike – do you remember any of these games? In the meantime, the digital gaming landscape has gone through enormous changes. Today, computer games are produced with budget extravagance comparable to that of Hollywood blockbusters, and millions of gamers around the world are measuring their skills with each other in the arena of so-called eSport.
Since the mid-1990s, artists have been turning their attention to computer games, seeking to exploit their potential as artistic material or exploring their influences on culture.
The Aachen exhibition is designed to be fun, but also to explore and highlight the significance of digital games as a medium, and the phenomenon of playfulness itself. A selection of digital games and interactive installations will be on show, inviting young visitors, in particular, to participate, experience and reflect.
Until 6th May 2018
Digital Games – Art and computer games
Ludwig Forum for International Art
Jülicher Str. 97-109
Open Tue-Sun 10am – 5pm
Admission free for guests aged 21 and under
Thursdays only: admission free for all
"Everything" is an interactive experience in which you can become anything you see – animals, planets, galaxies and lots more. Learn how to transform yourself and create worlds within worlds within worlds.
The game has been showered with prizes, for example the Most Amazing Game Award of the A MAZE Festival in Berlin and the Golden Nica of the Ars Electronica in the computer animation section. The trailer to "Everything", which has the character of a stand-alone short film, received an Oscar nomination.
David OReilly, Damian De Fede, Everything, 2017, computer game, (c) Double Fine Presents & David OReilly.
Nidhogg is a two-player single combat computer game with a retro aesthetic look. The pixelated combatants are armed with swords and fight for their survival from screen to screen. Nidhogg is an extremely fast game that calls for massive concentration and is, in a certain sense, quite brutal.
Messhof, Nidhogg, 2010, computer game, (c) Messhof
Since 2005, the video artist Bill Viola has been working with a team at the Game Innovation Lab of the University of Southern California on a computer game called "The Night Journey". Players move around in a three-dimensional environment which they experience from a first-person perspective like in an ego-shooter game. But instead of triggering the usual shot, the X-button on the controller actuates thoughts which lead to dream sequences. These are computed depending on the actions of the player.
Bill Viola and USC Game Innovation Lab, The Night Journey (work in progress), since 2005, computer game, photo courtesy of USC Game Innovation Lab