Paying close attention to practices of trolling and making memes, Megan Condis demonstrates that, despite the supposedly disembodied nature of life online, performances of masculinity are still afforded privileged status in gamer culture. Even worse, these competing discourses are creating rifts within the culture at large, as witnessed by the links between the GamerGate movement and the rise of the alt-right during the last presidential election

Karolina Sobecka’s video game reverses the logic of First Person Shooter games. In her work, the gun is AI-assisted. It fires automatically when a ‘target’ enters its field of view and guides the player’s hand to aim more effectively. The player cannot drop the weapon or stop it from firing, but he/she can obstruct it (and the gun’s) vision. The object of the game is to shoot as few people as possible

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In 1961, Donald Michie, a British WWII code breaker and a researcher in artificial intelligence, developed MENACE (the Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine), one of the first programs capable of learning to play and win a game of Noughts and Crosses (or Tic-Tac-Toe if you’re American.) Since he had no computers at his disposal at the time, he created a device built out of matchboxes and glass beads to simulate a learning algorithm.

This year’s edition of the GAMERZ festival not only demonstrated that there is nothing trivial about play but it also explored how our relationship to play has changed with the advances of technology. And, more interestingly, it invited us to join artists whose work investigates how the digital age is changing man, whether we’re talking about Huizinga’s homo ludens, the working man (Homo Faber) or more generally the modern man (Homo sapiens.)

The works on show range from a robotic soccer robot to the Soccket energy generating football, from the ever irresistible and painful Leg Shocker to the world premier of Jer Thorp’s immersive installation The Time of the Game. The result is an exhibition that brings into a highly popular museum an entertaining but also critical and provocative view of the impact that technology has on ‘the beautiful game.’