Games as Art and Design: MoMA to add 14 Video Games to their collection

I can remember a time, not so long ago, when the debate over whether games “counted” as art would drum up a lot of hubbub. Some would discount games as they were “consumer products”. Others would say that games had just as much, if not MORE credit than popular cinema. Thankfully, we’ve since moved past this squabbling and are now on the dawn of seeing video games collected and annexed into modern art history.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has selected 14 games to represent the foundation of their video games collection in their Phillip Johnson Galleries. The 14 games selected are as follows:

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Tetris (1984)
  • Another World (1991)
  • Myst (1993)
  • SimCity 2000 (1994)
  • vib-ribbon (1999)
  • The Sims (2000)
  • Katamary Damacy (2004)
  • EVE Online (2003)
  • Dwarf Fortress (2006)
  • Portal (2007)
  • flOw (2006)
  • Passage (2008)
  • Canabalt (2009)

MoMA has gone through a year and a half of research and investigation while trying to determine the criteria for building this budding installation. Paola Antonelli explains that the institution is taking a design-based approach

Our criteria … emphasize not only the visual quality and aesthetic experience of each game, but also the many other aspects—from the elegance of the code to the design of the player’s behavior—that pertain to interaction design.

MoMA has explained that the manner in which these game will be represented in the gallery depends on the manner in which they will be best represented. Some 5 minutes games will be playable in their entirety, while others will offer a timed selection of the game. As for EVE Online, an MMORPG, the museum hopes to create a guided tour of the experience with the help of players and designers. And while MoMA has only selected 14 game for initial run, they are looking at a list of additional games to add in the near future. Some selections of note are: Grim Fandango, The Legend of Zelda, Zork, and Minecraft. The initial games will be exhibited in March 2013.

We’re rather excited to see Myst make the initial list as well as Minecraft make the extended list. Have you played any of the 14 games? What games do you think should be included for the future?


Source: [MoMA]

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