Gameplay. Video Game Culture


Since they became popular in the seventies and eighties, video games have developed as an expressive and entertainment medium, and have taken center stage in our imaginary: nowadays contemporary society and culture cannot be understood without having consider the video game. Gameplay travels to the origins of video games to analyze their language and value the impact they have had on both digital popular culture and art and society. Gameplay is intended as an exhibition to play, and at the same time understand the culture of the game and enjoy it in a critical spirit. It's about (re)discovering and (re)playing.

Videoludification of society

The exhibition also proposes a reflection on the growing videoludification of society: from mobile phone games, through youtubers and media sports (e-sports), to so-called serious games, training videogames with applications that go Beyond entertainment.

Works of art and 28 game points

Gameplay Video Game Culture is art and game: you can see the work of artists such as Mary Flanagan, Joan Leandre, Harun Farocki, Lawrence Lek, Mónica Rikić and Blast Theory, among others, and offers visitors 28 game points: from the first machines recreational and historical computer games until new immersive proposals,

Exhibition route

The exhibition proposes the approach to the world of videogames through five areas:

Level 1. Replay. Origins of the video game

Seventies and eighties. Technological roots: computer games, coin-op machines (pay per game) and consoles. Technological evolution is intertwined with social changes. Nintendo would become a new Disney. The success of Pong (1972) as a mass commercial product; Japanese and American mythical games; the first domestic consoles; the visual parallels between silent movies and video games; The golden age of the Spanish video game.

Level 2. Liquid narratives

The video game is a ludonarrative medium, in which creators can articulate the design of rules and game mechanics (interaction patterns), non-linear narrative and the representation of imaginary worlds to provide us with unique interactive experiences. Board and role-playing games, the popular imaginary, science fiction, comic book and manga superheroes as a source of video game inspiration; the rules of video games; the video gamers before the decision making and the confrontation with the defeat. Works by Mary Flanagan and Joan Leandre.

Level 3. Art and playful essay

Complex intersections of art, technology and game. New batch of independent creators, authors of indie games that explore alternative videogame styles. Also simple game concepts, but at the same time transgressive, that resort to technologies, interfaces and / or forms of interaction that seem to propose simply to play by playing, but in a different and captivating way. Indie video game references (Limbo, Journey, What Remains of Edith Finch, Gray). In this area we find a video park where you can play through large format screens.

Level 4. Breaking the magic circle

Historically, video games have received criticism of being an escapist medium, of passing within a magical circle that separates them from real life. The capitalist spirit resonates in many popular video games, but they can also be a cultural space of activism: feminist videos; new gender roles; the role of women in the contemporary video game; the potential of the video game for empathy with a social accent. Works by LaTurbo Avedon, Paolo Pedercini and Anna Anthropy.

Level_5. Ludopolis. Gamified lives

Contemporary society has been videoludified. The video game has leaked into people's lives at different levels and in many different fields. Educational, military videogames, for the practice of architecture, for the training of surgical operations or to promote the socialization of children with autism. Works by Roc Herms, Harun Farocki, Lawrence Lek, Mónica Rikić and Blast Theory.


The CCCB presents an extensive program of activities, with debates, workshops, audiovisual proposals and digital content, to broaden the reflection on the nature of videogames, on the space they occupy in our current imaginary and on their impact on society.



Gameplay Video Game Culture is an expanded adaptation of Gameplay. The next level, conceived and presented first in ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. This exhibition has been curated by Óliver Pérez Latorre, professor at the UPF of the degrees of Audiovisual Communication, Advertising and Public Relations and Computer Engineering, and Jérôme Nguyen, expert in communication sciences, ludologist and curator and researcher in training at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. With the collaboration of the Banco Sabadell Foundation.