The exhibit that celebrates video game art will be shown in one of the main hubs of game development.
The Art of Video Games – a first-of-its-kind, touring exhibition showcasing the 40-year evolution of entertainment software as an artistic medium – will make its second stop at the EMP Museum in Seattle, Wash., on February 15.
The exhibition's opening in Seattle is part of a multi-year, 10-city tour that launched last fall, following its enormously popular presentation at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and a successful display at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Fla. EMP will celebrate the exhibition's opening with a variety of events, including a family-friendly Game Nite. Visitors will have the opportunity to hear from prominent figures in the entertainment software industry, take pictures with video game characters, and play a selection of games on EMP's Sky Church screen – the largest indoor LED HD screen in the world – along with other activities.
EMP is not the only institution recognizing the artistic merit of video games. New York City's venerable Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recently announced plans to display video games in its Phillip Johnson Galleries beginning in March. So far, MoMA curators have selected 14 games, including Pac-Man and Tetris, to become part of the museum's permanent collection. MoMA plans to acquire a total of 40 games, selecting each based on elements including their interactive design, visual quality, aesthetic experience, and the elegance of their programming code. In addition to displaying the games, the museum also plans to study, preserve, and exhibit computer and video games as part of its Architecture and Design collection.
Additionally, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, is currently featuring Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the game Spacewar! Developed by students and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and released to the public in 1962,Spacewar! became a cult favorite that inspired and paved the way for a generation of games such as Nutting Associates' Computer Space, Cinematronics' Space Wars, and Atari's Asteroids. Museum visitors can play a model of Spacewar! as well as 20 other video games, ranging in platform and genre, which illustrate Spacewar!'s influence.
The growing interest in entertainment software's artistic value is a testament to the innovative and engaging quality of computer and video games, which continue to evolve in new and exciting directions.