Jacob Birken, "Video Games: Digital Image Cultures" (Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, 2022)


Let's plays are among the most popular genres on YouTube. The visual worlds of video games shape the worldviews of millions. Gaming is a hobby and a mass spectacle.

For a long time, the history of video games was primarily one of technical progress: from pixelated figures in 2D to increasingly convincing illusions of reality in games like Control. At the same time, independent game worlds emerge, such as in the expressionist dystopia Disco Elysium. 

In Video Games: Digital Image Cultures (Videospiele: Digitale Bildkulturen), Jacob Birken vividly analyzes the different types and generations of games, provides insights into the interaction of hardware and software, and shows how newer video games stylistically reference the past of their own medium. But does this also revive the unfulfilled promises of the future of the information society?

Jacob Birken writes and researches on the history, aesthetics, and theory of media technologies. In 2018, he published "The California Institution" on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He currently works at the University of Cologne.

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.

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Rudolf Thomas Inderst

Rudolf Inderst is a professor of Game Design at the IU International University of Applied Science.

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