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Themesicon: navigation pathGenerative Toolsicon: navigation pathGame Art

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beginning could show little more than geometrical shapes. The ‹building-block look› of the first games for video arcades or early play consoles like the Atari 2600 actually recall historical techniques of picture-making in stunning ways. Ancient Greek and Roman mosaics or the Moorish «alicatado» (tile covering) of the Alhambra in Granada are only two examples of historical production methods that show a clear connection to the pixels from which computer images are constructed. In the meantime, the fact that early games of the seventies have an obvious connection to abstract art of past eras has almost become a commonplace in academic discussions. Mark J.P. Wolf, an American media scholar writes: «The video game began with perhaps the harshest restrictions encountered by any nascent visual medium in regard to graphic representation. So limited were the graphic capabilities of the early games that the medium was forced to remain relatively abstract for over a decade.»[21] Like many computer players who had been socialized through games during the seventies and early eighties, Wolf is also of the opinion that the further graphical development of computer games, which now


permit the creation of almost deceptively accurate photorealistic fantasy worlds, is not just a step forward aesthetically: «This great, untapped potential will only be mined by deliberate steps back into abstract design that take into consideration the unique properties of the video game medium.»[22] Many of the artists who modify computer games have done him this favour and stress exactly those abstract, non-object bound aspects of computer game graphics. It is not necessary to be preoccupied with dates, which is popular in German media theory, in order to notice that the visually poor early days of computer games fall into a period in which creative minimalism was also considered a virtue in the arts. During the period in which computer games like «Spacewar» (1962), «Pong» (1972) or «Asteroids» (1973) only consisted of two-dimensional elements on a black background, a radical reductionism was en vogue in the fine arts as a result of minimalist and concept art. [23] The parallels do not stop with the scanty visuals: artists like John F. Simon Jr. (who in the nineties became one of the first software artists) have repeatedly pointed out similarities between concept-based and software-based

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