Peter NelsonNov 6, 2023
Computer Games As Landscape Art
Peter Nelson's book Computer Games As Landscape Art (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) proposes that computer games are the paradigmatic form of contemporary landscape and offers a synthesis of art history, geography, game studies and play. Like paint on canvas, the game engine is taken as the underlying medium, and using the Valve Source Engine as the primary case study, it analyses landscapes according to the technical, economic and cultural features this medium affords. It presents the single-player first-person shooter (Half-Life 2) as a Promethean safari, examines how the economics of gambling and product placement shaped the eSports landscapes of Counter-Strike and reveals how sandboxes such as Garry’s Mod visualise the radical landscape of Web 2.0. This book explores how our relationship to the environment is changing, how we express this through computer games and how we can move beyond examining artistic influences on games to examining how historical connections flow through games and the history of landscape images.
Rudolf Inderst is a professor of Game Design with a focus on Digital Game Studies at the IU International University of Applied Science, editor of “Game Studies Watchlist”, a weekly messenger newsletter about Game Culture and curator of @gamestudies at tiktok.