zkm_gameplay. the next level

29 Sep 2018 – 30 Jan 2022

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

Museum admission

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe, Germany

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All gaming enthusiasts, but also visitors who have little experience with computer games so far, are invited to exchange critically and to engage creatively – and of course to play – in the exhibition.


The new concept is not only based on the experiences of »ZKM_Gameplay«, but also on the exhibition »Games and Politics«, which has been touring all continents since 2017 in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut.

Medium of the digital society

The fact that the computer game has developed into a leading medium is hardly a bold thesis today anymore about the importance of the interactive and multimedia medium. It has moved far from its origins as a laboratory experiment and toy and has turned into »the« medium of a digital society, between pop culture, entertainment and art. 

level 1: retro
In section of »level 1: retro«, the origins, milestones and developments of the medium from the 1970s to the 1990s are presented. For example, visitors can play »Super Mario« at historical arcades and consoles. 

level 2: modern narratives
The section of »level 2: modern narratives« is dedicated to the unique narrative possibilities of computer games – from the interactive thermal paper stories of »Choosatron« to the surreal dream worlds of Bill Viola's »The Night Journey«. 

level 3: aesthetic & creative games
Exceptional audiovisual presentations and surprising game mechanics await the visitors in the section of »level 3: aesthetic & creative games«: For example, you can explore the almost infinite universe of »No Man Sky« or let haptic fireworks of light from »Wobble Garden« stimulate your synapses. 

level 4: political games
Visitors to the section of »level 4: political games« learn how computer games can playfully communicate political processes and their background. For example, political differences of opinion can be clarified together at the »Democracy Machine«. In addition, works from the Goethe-Institut's worldwide »Art Game Jam« are presented in this section.

level 5: in the spotlight
The section of »level 5: in the spotlight« provides regular information on current debates and discourses on game studies, game culture and student projects. 

 Indie Games 

The approximately 50 works of the playsite are so-called indie games: they mainly come from artists and small independent game studios. The artistic handling of the medium, which does not always follow a classical game design, is in the foreground. In the interactive installations of the exhibition, the real space becomes part of the virtual game world and playing becomes a collaborative experience with which the creative possibilities of the medium of computer games are redefined.


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