Feeds

NY Museum of Modern Art embraces 14 video games

Did your favorite digital diversion make the curatorial cut?

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!
N1 mini-'slab to plop into crowded pond next year
The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose
Finnish firm coyly exposes mystery product – and WE NO what it is
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'
Sugarcoating Android's Lollipop makes tab easier to swallow
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.