The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Video games use images, actions, and player participation to tell stories and engage their audiences. In the same way as film, animation, and performance, they can be considered a compelling and influential form of narrative art. In this exhibition, the museum is the first to comprehensively examine the evolution of video games as an artistic medium. From the Atari VSC to the Playstation 3, this exhibition shows the development of visual effects and aesthetics since the 1970s, the emergence of games as a means for storytelling, the influence of world events and popular culture on game development, and the impact games can have on society. It includes multimedia presentations of video game footage, video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, historic video game consoles, and a selection of working video game systems for visitors to play. The public was asked to assist with the selection of materials for the show by choosing the 80 games that they feel best represent particular moments in the overall timeline. Voting for games to be included ended April 17, 2011; the winning games were announced May 5, 2011.

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