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So a short while ago, I remember reading somewhere about the Smithsonian Institute planning a video game exhibit focusing on the art aspect. As months went by, I completely forgot about it. Until about a week ago when my mother received an invitation to visit the opening of said exhibit. And knowing me all too well, she invited me to go with her and make a night of it.
I don't think I was this excited in years.
The exhibit was a very neat collection of various videogame artifacts. The most interesting parts of the exhibit were in two rooms - the first room was a set of 5 interactive games that you could play. At each station was a description of which game it was and the impact it had on videogame design, art, and culture. The screen for each game was projected onto a wall so you could watch yourself play like you were on the big-screen. The five games were Pac-Man, Myst, Flower, Super Mario Bros, and Secret of Monkey Island.
The other room was a chronology of video game systems through the ages. Starting all the way from the Atari VCS, Coelcovision, and Intellivision, and making it all the way through to the next gen era of PS3, XBox360, and Wii. For each system there was a description of it as well as the inclusion of 4 influential games on that system. One game was chosen for each of 4 categories - Action, Target, Adventure, and Tactics. I stared briefly at a few from my own childhood (N64, Dreamcast, PS2) until I ended up at the one system that took up most of my childhood - DOS/Win95. Without doubting what would be at the top of the 4 influential games list, I must admit they made good choices for the other categories, which are as follows:
Action - Doom II
Target - Diablo II
Adventure - Fallout
Tactics - Starcraft
The whole exhibit is really enjoyable, with other rooms including various concept drawings, art, and quotes from various game developers and programmers. Plus for the opening they had an open bar so it was all the more fun.
Website with info and details - http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/winninggames/
You can look through and see what the 4 game selections were for each game system in the exhibit.
To top off the night, my mom bought me the book accompaniment to the exhibit, which features all of the games + in-depth descriptions. Also included in the book are interviews with various members of the video game industry.
A segment from said book
EDIT:(Yowza that's huge)
I hope you find this informative and entertaining
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I like Doom and all, but I think Unreal makes a better example of art in video games. In fact, I see most of these winners are just the most popular - not necessarily the games with the best design and art direction.
I would agree with you as well, but then I think about the death sequence of the cacodemon and baron and I'm like.. naaaahhhh.
In fact, I see most of these winners are just the most popular - not necessarily the games with the best design and art direction.
It's a museum exhibit about video games. How could it be anything but an appeal to popularity? And it worked, too. People actually want to go to the Smithsonian now.