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2022: Special Issue: Ludomaterialities

Playing with Light: On the Materialities of Video Game Spaces

  • Arvid Kammler
November 15, 2022


When playing video games players are encountering light in many different ways. On the one hand the display rendering the game space visible is emitting light into its surroundings. On the other hand the environment itself may become visible in reflections on the display. Both phenomena contribute significantly to the experience of playing video games. Consequently this calls for an investigation regarding the constituent effects of light in the process of playing video games. This contribution is going to question the superimposition of spatialities of light as well as the construction of the space of light in the act of playing. The second part of this contribution deals with the question of the processuality of the light play space. Thirdly, the meta-materiality of light as a constituent element of the video game is of particular interest. Light in video games appears as a process of constant transformation and manifests itself as representation of sand, water and spaceship corridors and other materialities. Since it seems to always be visible only as a reference, the question must be asked whether light is ultimately describable as the simulacrum of the video game.