Fondation EDF bets on video games

Zaxxon edited by Sega in Japan, 1982

It was a bit disconcerting to enter the new show « Game » at Fondation EDF which is devoted to the evolution of video games since the 1950’s. I did not know how to start and manipulate any of the tools and had to beg a young « mediateur culturel » for help. But I was quite impressed to find out that they had become not only a social phenomenom but an economic one as well,  with tens of billions of dollars generated by youtubers and players alike. A recent example being the Pokemon go created for mobile phones.

Michel Ancel, France, 1972, Amy Hennig, USA , 1964, Steve Slug Russel , USA, 1937, Ralph Baer, Germany,1922-2014, William Higinbotham, USA, 1910-1994, Gunpei Yokoi, Japan, 1941-1997, Philippe Ulrich, France, 1951, Will Wright, USA, 1960, Roberta Williams, USA, 1953, all creators of video games

“Let’s Play” are games that youtubers comment on line acting as anchor on the screen. They are followed by millions of fans. It seems that today’s video games are watched more than played. “Uncharted 4 : A Thief’s End” looked to me just a like an adventure film but it is an Instagram game edited by Sony, with beautiful decors and adventurers who travel to Madagascar. The evolution of FIFA football games over 23 years was visually interesting ans is equally successful. “Me at the Zoo”, is a 19 second video of Jawed Karim in a zoo, talking about elephants : it has been viewed over 40 million times since 2005 !

“Unchartered 4: A Thief’s end” takes us to Madagascar, Scotland and Italy

I played at “Rayman” created by Michel Ancel and commercialized by Ubisoft in 1995. This company has recently produced Ghost Recon:Wildlands, one of their most ambitious with an 80 million euros development budget and it is a pure French product. I watched commentators from the 80’s discuss the phenomenal success of video games on television.

“Another world”, edited by Delphine Software, France, 1991

It was easier to read the biographies of great physicists an mathematicians of the 1950’s who were trying to turn science into a playful game and I loved the windows displaying antique (from the 1950’s)  machines and gameboys. The curator of the show is Jean Zeid, a philosopher interested in cinema who learned to play videos in the 70’s. He wishes this exhibition to be a tool between generations, to help explain to parents what their children are fascinated by.

Tennis for two”, 1958, invented by American physicist William Higinbotham in his lab of Brookhaven

I highly recommend that you visit the show with young children who can interpret images for you and use the machines. But in any case, visually, the space is very interesting and for an electrical company such as EDF, it is an immensely appropriate exhibition…

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One Comment on ““Fondation EDF bets on video games”

  1. Véronique

    Une fois de plus tu me donnes envie de voir (et de goûter à) ce que tu décris. Je vais voir le Retour d’Ulysse lundi et je te dirai ce que j’en pense!!!!


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