The Evolution Of Video Games


Whitechapel Gallery

Image by Sofia Gallarate

Since birth, video games have shown a glimpse of a pre virtual reality experience; from the comfort of our sofas we have had the chance to enter alternative spaces, giving us the possibilities to be ideal fighters, dystopic housewives, unscrupulous criminals or not-so-trained soldiers, to mention just a few of the millions – if only a little controversial - roles we are able to interact with this pixelated world.
Thanks to the fast technological development in the last 30 years we have also seen a rapid transformation in the graphic of video games, from early basic and pixelated visuals to incredibly realistic representations of our present world, current video games have a crucial impact on the public, often raising questions and consequent doubts on how image-making technology can influence public perceptions, opinions and, at times, tragic actions.
Expert in underpinning the problematic of the world of images through the production of brilliant movies and installations, Harun Farocki's recent work shown at the Whitechapel Gallery charts the evolution of computer game graphics, revealing the controversial aspects of the genre.
By looking at topics such as the use of napalm by the US during the Vietnam War, or the circulation of conflict simulation and conflict-based video games that spread during the Iraq war, Farocki’s four-screen-installation makes us reflect on the increasingly blurred distinction between our world and the virtual one, and about the many alarming elements that reside in the in-between.