Finally after years of fun, interaction, and entertainment, video games have been given their first major museum exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.! This exhibition, titled “The Art of Video Games,” explores the 40-year evolution of video games as an art form that spans across computer graphics, character and story development, and even player interaction and interpretation. I was able to snag some press passes for the exhibition’s opening weekend, so check out my video below to see what it’s all about!
“The Art of Video Games” exhibition will be on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from March 16 – September 30, 2012. After September, the exhibition will travel to 10 other cities around the U.S. By now you may be asking “what games can you see in the exhibition?” The answer to this is a little tricky – an advisory board (consisting of game developers, journalists, and designers) selected 240 video games and asked the public to vote for which games would be displayed in the exhibition. With over 3.7 million votes, 80 games were selected to be showcased through screenshots and game footage. As you walk through the exhibition, you’ll see these 80 games broken into 4 different genres (Action, Target, Adventure, Tactics) per game console. There are 20 consoles on display, and they are placed in a chronological order by era:
In addition to these awesome games and displays, the exhibition also includes concept artwork and video interviews of game designers and artists, and even invites attendees to play 5 games, each with their own gaming stations and large projection screens. The 5 playable games are Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.
Ever wonder how these museum exhibitions are created? Check out these behind-the-scenes pictures showing how the exhibition was built!
If at this point you’re still not convinced that you should go see this exhibition, then take a look at these videos for some more information and inspiration!
I had a blast checking out “The Art of Video Games,” and I can’t wait to see how this exhibition does during it’s travel around the U.S. I think it’s amazing that we’re finally seeing a major exhibition on video games, and I believe that events like this will help change how the world views video games and gamers in general. What I found most interesting was the genre display breakdown, where instead of featuring “popular” games based in the standard RPG, FPS, and RTS groups, the exhibition features games that made an impact on the industry and in American Art based on stories, characters, game mechanics, and graphics in terms of Action, Adventure, Target, and Tactics. One aspect of the exhibition that exceeded my expectations was the discussion on video games growing and evolving as a narrative art medium, and what makes this so compelling is the idea that art is not just found in graphics, designs, pixels, and music, but also in how players interact with and react to these immersive video game worlds. This exhibition is a great start in educating gamers and non-gamers alike on the artistic creations, cultural impact, and value of video games!
Love and Peace,