Feeds

NY Museum of Modern Art embraces 14 video games

Did your favorite digital diversion make the curatorial cut?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has elevated the humble video game into its pantheon of art objects, and has named the first 14 of the 40 or so games that it will eventually add to its collection.

"Are video games art?" MoMA curator Paola Antonelli asked rhetorically when announcing the collection, then answered herself. "They sure are, but they are also design, and a design approach is what we chose for this new foray into this universe."

Playability and pure gaming goodness were not enough for a game to be accepted into MoMA's rarified atmosphere. As Antonelli explains, neither visuals nor aesthetics – although important – would suffice, either. Among the criteria she cites that elevate a game beyond the quotidian are the elegance of its code and the behavior of the game player that the game evokes.

"In order to develop an even stronger curatorial stance," she continues, "over the past year and a half we have sought the advice of scholars, digital conservation and legal experts, historians, and critics, all of whom helped us refine not only the criteria and the wish list, but also the issues of acquisition, display, and conservation of digital artifacts that are made even more complex by the games' interactive nature."

And you thought that your Pac-Man persona was merely a gobbler of yellow dots, or that you were simply paving roads in Sim City, and you did not need the validation of curators, historians, or critics. Peasant.

The first 14 games chosen by Antonelli and her curatorial staff span a broad range of styles, from the minimalist simplicity of the original Tetris to the ethereal boredom of Myst to the low-res sentimentalism of Passages to the inevitable doom of Canabalt.

"Over the next few years," Antonelli writes, "we would like to complete this initial selection with Spacewar! (1962), an assortment of games for the Magnavox Odyssey console (1972), Pong (1972), Snake (originally designed in the 1970s; Nokia phone version dates from 1997), Space Invaders (1978), Asteroids (1979), Zork (1979), Tempest (1981), Donkey Kong (1981), Yars' Revenge (1982), M.U.L.E. (1983), Core War (1984), Marble Madness (1984), Super Mario Bros. (1985), The Legend of Zelda (1986), NetHack (1987), Street Fighter II (1991), Chrono Trigger (1995), Super Mario 64 (1996), Grim Fandango (1998), Animal Crossing (2001), and Minecraft (2011)."

The original Tetris of 1984

The original Tetris of 1984, as minimalist as anything created by Dan Flavin or Sol LeWitt

The first 14 games will be unveiled in MoMA's Philip Johnson Art and Design Galleries in March of next year, where they – or presentations of their gamey essences – will take their places alongside such other iconic objects as the original iPod, Lego blocks, and the Bic lighter. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.