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“The Art of Video Games” Exhibit Comes to The Smithsonian on March 16

“The Art of Video Games” Exhibit Comes to The Smithsonian on March 16

by Michelle QuillenMarch 5, 2012

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will be debuting its new exhibit, “The Art of Video Games”, on March 16. The showcase will observe video games as an art form, and be the first of its kind to display the development of games over the last forty years.

Incorporating the visual and audio elements of images and clips from eighty different titles, the exhibit will focus on the evolution of video games and their usage as a storytelling vehicle. The included footage was chosen based on a public poll of  119,000 people in 175 countries, totaling 3.7 million votes. It is in part sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and will also feature the work of some of the business’s most prolific names.

Also highlighted by the six-month production are aspects of game development and how the improvement of technology has lent greatly to video games’ ability to engage players through powerful narration and captivating aesthetics. The stories of developers and artists will also be told via twenty video interviews playing throughout the exhibit.

Attendees have the opportunity to get a hands-on experience of how new game play elements have contributed to the industry’s advancement, as the public will be able to play five featured games: Pac-Man by Namco Bandai and Midway, Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo, The Secret of Monkey Island by LucasArts, Myst by Brøderbund, and Flower by Sony Computer Entertainment.

“The Art of Video Games” will launch with GameFest, a three-day convention-esque gathering focusing on fan interaction and participation, such as artist meet-and-greets, discussion panels, movie screenings, and costume photo-ops. A concert by a Gamer Symphony Orchestra takes place on April 29, and a “Music of Games” performance on May 5 by the 21st Century Resort will also complement the multi-media presentation.

On display at the Smithsonian until September 30, “The Art of Video Games” will then travel to six other cities, including New York, Miami, Memphis and Seattle.

To see a video of Chris Melissino, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s guest curator, explaining what makes video games an art form, please visit

For a comprehensive schedule of GameFest events and more details about the showcase, go to



Source: The Entertainment Software Association

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About The Author
Michelle Quillen
Michelle Quillen
Being found at the arcade was what Michelle considered "playing outside" as a child. She began writing before it became homework, sang before it was cool to be in a band, kept an online journal before they were called "blogs", and continues to pursue these passions from her hometown of San Diego, CA with her husband and four cats.