June 28, 2010, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Retrospectives | Tags: ,

INDULGE ME a couple of paragraphs about art history.

The effect of the rise of photography on art was profound. Suddenly, the painters of the 19th Century could not compete in an area where “realism” was the standard of excellence. Slowly, the medium splintered into a thousand different strands.

Rather than strive to objectively recreate reality, new forms of expression emerged. From Impressionism to Expressionism, Cubism and beyond – these methods attempted to reveal the truth, while simultaneously rejecting objective representation. Put simply, there was no point in attempting to compete with the realism of photography, so more symbolic, subjective and surreal techniques flourished.

Videogames have taken the opposite route. Early on, the technology simply didn’t exist to design a precise, mirror-image vision of the world, so surreal and/or expressionistic representations were the standard. Mushroom kingdoms populated by lizard men, haunted corridors roamed by giant mouths, bizarre alien lifeforms – all were created with just a few chunky pixels. Where realism was impossible, suggestion took its place.

(Read more at Resolution…)

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