Monday, March 7, 2011

The Art of Video Games Coming to American Art Museum

Here's another great opportunity to sort out distinctions among the various domains of Visualization so often lumped confusingly under the single term "Art". An exhibit called "The Art of Video Games" will be at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from March 16, 2012 through September 30, 2012. Video games use images, actions, and player participation to tell stories and engage their audiences. In the same way as film, animation, and performance, they can be considered a compelling and influential form of narrative storytelling.

The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as a visual medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. The exhibition will feature some of the most influential designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe. It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition.

New technologies have allowed designers to create increasingly interactive and sophisticated game environments while staying grounded in traditional game types. The exhibition will feature eighty games through still images and video footage. Five games will be available for visitors to play for a few minutes, to gain some feel for the interactivity—Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and World of Warcraft. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles.

From February 14 through April 7, 2011, the public is invited to help select games to be included in the exhibition. You can vote online for eighty games from a pool of 240 proposed choices in various categories, divided by era, game type, and platform. The games on the ballot were selected by exhibition curator Chris Melissinos, who worked with the museum and an advisory group consisting of game developers, designers, industry pioneers, and journalists.

Click on the heading above to vote on your favorites from the selections provided.

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