MoMa acquires 14 video games for collection confirms video games as art

first_imgIn an argument that Roger Ebert basically started then eventually backed out of, the Museum of Modern Art has taken a side, and acquired 14 video games as part of a new collection, with an aim to grow it to 40 titles in the future. If MoMa housing a collection of works doesn’t declare something as “officially art,” we don’t know what does.The 14 games that have already been officially chosen:Pac-Man (1980)Tetris (1984)Another World (1991)Myst (1993)SimCity 2000 (1994)vib-ribbon (1999)The Sims (2000)EVE Online (2003)Katamari Damacy (2004)Dwarf Fortress (2006)flOw (2006)Portal (2007)Passage (2008)Canabalt (2009)In MoMa’s announcement, it asks the question “Are video games art?” answering, “they sure are.” However, it didn’t simply choose which game is the prettiest, or has the most stylized art, but rather used design approach as their main metric. The games were selected for being “outstanding examples of interaction design,” and MoMa is even taking the elegance of a game’s code into consideration. Within the next few years, MoMa wants its collection to grow, with its sights set on a large swath of games we can all pretty much agree belong on the list.Spacewar! (1962)various games from the Magnavox Odyssey (1972)Pong (1972)the original Snake (1970s)Space Invaders (1978)Asteroids (1979)Zork (1979)Tempest (1981)Donkey Kong (1981)Yar’s Revenge (1982)M.U.L.E. (1983)Core War (1984)Marble Madness (1984)Super Mario Bros. (1985)The Legend of Zelda (1986)Nethack (1987)Street Fighter II (1991)Chrono Trigger (1995)Super Mario 64 (1996)Grim Fandango (1998)Animal Crossing (2001)Minecraft (2011)Don’t be too mad that games like Journey, Rez, and Shadow of the Colossus aren’t on the list yet. MoMa is on the right track, and — if anything — setting its sights on Tim Schafer (with Grim Fandango) shows a great deal of competence and promise for the collection.Some of the main design traits MoMa is looking for when considering to acquire a game include a game’s designed behavior, the aesthetics, if the game does something unique in its medium, and how the game’s length affects the overall experience.Depending on the best presentation of the game, MoMa might make it available to play in the gallery. The whole of Chrono Trigger, for example, wouldn’t quite lend itself to a playable art exhibit, whereas five minutes of flOw or the open, timeless approach of Minecraft (hunger meter aside!) would lend itself well to groups of museum patrons shuffling in and out. However, MoMa is thinking of ways to present demos of the games that don’t quite lend itself to a full play. It’ll be especially interesting to see how the museum presents EVE Online, a game that doesn’t lend itself well to a museum atmosphere because of its very genre, but also because it is regularly referred to as “playing a spreadsheet.”The initial 14 games will be installed in MoMa’s Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013.last_img read more

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