An in depth 40-year history of will be displayed at the museum beginning in March.

Video game enthusiasts and historians alike are sure to enjoy the Smithsonian’s upcoming offering. Next month, the museum will launch The Art of Video Games, a six-month exhibit that aims to showcase the 40-year history of video games as a medium of artistic expression. The exhibit will pay particular emphasis on visual effects and the creative use of new technologies in video games, and will also showcase influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe.

From the event site:

New technologies have allowed designers to create increasingly interactive and sophisticated game environments while staying grounded in traditional game types. The exhibition will feature eighty games through still images and video footage. Five games will be available for visitors to play for a few minutes, to gain some feel for the interactivity—Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and World of Warcraft. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles. Visitors will be able to connect with the content of the show across generations, from those who remember the classics such as Pitfall! to those playing contemporary games like Flower.

The public is also invited to vote on what games are included in the exhibit:

From February 14 through April 7, 2011, the public is invited to help select games to be included in the exhibition. You can vote online for eighty games from a pool of 240 proposed choices in various categories, divided by era, game type, and platform. The games on the ballot were selected by exhibition curator Chris Melissinos, who worked with the museum and an advisory group consisting of game developers, designers, industry pioneers, and journalists.

Smithsonian: The Art of Video Games

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