80 games selected for art exhibition

Written by Clive Webster

May 6, 2011 | 14:06

Tags: #are-games-art #art #exhibition #gallery #games-are-art #games-as-art

Companies: #games #smithsonian

An exhibition titled The Art of Video Games has narrowed down its choice of exhibits to 80 games, which will be shown at the Smithsonian American Art Museum next March.

The debate about whether games are art, or can even be considered as such, has raged back and forth for years, but the Smithsonian is unequivocal in its opinion: 'In the same way as film, animation and performance, they [video games] can be considered a compelling and influential form of narrative art.' Have that, Roger Ebert.

Around 3.7 million votes were cast between February and April to choose which games would feature in the exhibition. The 80 winners include well known titles such as Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers 3, Bioshock and Heavy Rain, but also more obscure titles such as TRON: Maze-Atron and Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator.

The nominations have been broken down according to era, genre and platform, and some of the definitions are not immediately recognisable to the average gamer. If we described the genre of a game as 'target', we're fairly confident nobody would know what we were talking about. The target genre apparently includes Space Invaders, Gunstar Heroes, Star Fox, Goldeneye 007 and Diablo II. Eyebrows may also be raised at the definition of Portal as an action game.

The exhibition will also feature five games available for visitors to play for a few minutes. These will be Super Mario Brothers, Pac-Man, The Secret of Monkey Island (we imagine Joe is booking his flight right now), Myst and World of Warcraft.

Are these the right choices for the exhibition? Do you think games can be classified as art? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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