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Themesicon: navigation pathGenerative Toolsicon: navigation pathGame Art

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looked upon as a subcategory of Software art. To be sure, they are to a large degree actually based on code, and are actual software. Yet in contrast to most software works that do not come out with internal commentaries on programs and computer functions, many of these works take up definite positions on a multi-level social, economic and political network of themes that go far beyond simply re-designating or recontextualising software. Whoever works as an artist with computer games is dealing with a subject that has now become an integral part of Pop culture, even if it is socially marginalized, at least in Germany. This marginalization certainly stands in no relation to the cultural and financial importance of computer games. In the USA alone, computer games represent a 2.5 billion dollar business annually. They are part of the media socialization for most young people in western industrialized countries and, at the same time, one of the most important motivations for building faster and faster, higher performance computers. Artistic experiments with computer games apply not only to code but also, along with this entire cultural and economic complex, to a mature social culture that has


been built around computer games. Art that deals with computer games therefore has quickly moved beyond the boundaries within which most Internet art and software art is situated. At the same time, in games, art has found a subject with which it had much in common structurally. In his famous essay «Homo Ludens,» Dutch historian John Huizinga convincingly demonstrated that the apparently so regressive game is in reality the origin of human culture, and therefore of the fine arts as well. To be sure, Huizinga’s remarks on contemporary art of his time remain rather superficial, [30] yet many of the elements that he describes as being fundamental to games are also valid for art: their apparent meaninglessness and pointlessness, their position outside of the everyday world, their «being forever childish.» Even if many artists of the 20th century have integrated elements of games into their own work, it is in works like those described above where art and games first came together in mutually complementing forms.