Voting Begins for Smithsonian Videogame Exhibit

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I left the era page open for a bit and it eventualy loaded.

Finished voting and I must say that overall the selected nominees were very good choices. Certainly there is some video game "pop-art" in there as opposed to real artistic endeavour (yes, I'm equating CoD to a painting of a soup can), but for every one of those choices the other nominees in the category were always more worthy options.

Personally, I would have liked to see voters given 4 votes based upon console in general as opposed to only having one choice per genre per console. While this probably would have meant less "artistic" genres such as strategy titles would have received less votes overall, it would have allowed for a better representation of truly artistic titles. You could have had, for example, Silent Hill 2, Ico and SotC all as choices under the PS2 umbrella instead of potentially being played off against each other in the same genre. (I know only SotC was there, but I'm assuming the reason at least Ico wasn't included is because SotC was). Under a 4 votes per console approach, each of these games many would agree are worthy of inclusion could have received a vote if the voter chose as opposed to only one of them getting a vote and the other PS2 votes being "wasted" on, well, anything in the Target or Strategy genres (other than maybe MGS2).

The only notable omissions I found (that I can recall off the top of my head anyway) were the aforementioned Ico and Silent Hill 2. These are two games that (almost) always come up when games are discussed as art so it's odd they didn't make the cut. As said above, I'm guessing Ico didn't make it because it was either Ico or SotC for the spot and SotC won, but I'm really not sure why SH2 was excluded.

Anywho, my biggest personal issue came when I found myself having to choose between a game I considered great and a game I considered good but perhaps better as an artistic achievement. For me this is best exemplified by the choice between Limbo and Mass Effect 2 (Era 5, Xbox 360, Adventure Genre). I love ME2 and consider it one of the best video games of all time, but beyond some intriguing moral choices and the choose your own adventure story I can't say it really strikes me as the best example of game as art. I really like Limbo and consider the instantly memorable visual style and the thought provoking ambiguous setting/story to be a near perfect example of game as art, but as a game it's short, a little repetitive and loses some steam in it's latter half. In the end I chose Limbo, but I could have easily gone either way. Kudos to those arranging this exhibition for not only creating it in the first place but also for making the selection process one that engages the gaming public in further examination of their own hobby.

I'm doing it at the moment, some of these choices are really shit though.

Please let Impossible Mission win.

A broken game with hilariously bad voice acting - on the Commodore 64. Just shows how far we've come!

Glad to see Okami and Shadow of the Colossus are in.

But WHY are Halo, COD, Mass Effect 2 etc in? Especially when they seemingly omitted Red Dead Redemption.

Also 'good' to see that the DS and other handhelds don't count.

Fitzcaraldo:
How am I supposed to decide between Portal and Minecraft?

.......... you do realize you can vote for one game per category per console per era right? a total of around 80 games you can vote for

Anyone else getting an error when they load up the page? I made sure to allow the page in NoScript but it's not helping.

Fronzel:
Anyone else getting an error when they load up the page? I made sure to allow the page in NoScript but it's not helping.

Me too..

Damn it, i'm not done voteing from yesterday.

Ahh the Smithsonian Institute. The only reason I would ever willingly move to the East Coast.

Did they shut voting down? It's telling me "We're having technical difficultues, please be patient."

I want to vote! (Please tell me FF7 was one of the choices for it's era....)

Someone please tell me StarCraft's an option. I know it isn't particularly artsy, but it's a damn good game that clearly showcases how games can also be used as a competitive sport.

EDIT: Turns out it is! My vote is done and done.

this reminds me... WHEN IS THE SUPREME COURT GOING TO RULE ON THE SHWARZENEGGER VS EMA CASE?!

shouldn't this show the supreme court that videogames are indeed art if the smithsonian is going to include it?

Tiswas:
Glad to see Okami and Shadow of the Colossus are in.

But WHY are Halo, COD, Mass Effect 2 etc in? Especially when they seemingly omitted Red Dead Redemption.

Also 'good' to see that the DS and other handhelds don't count.

I imagine that RDR was in their long list. The short list they came up with is pretty good.

As to the point on handhelds, perhaps they wanted to demonstrate a clear progression of where we've come from and where we're going. Current handhelds are pretty much previous-gen stuff and might have broken the flow of the exhibit somewhat. Let's remember we're dealing with the easily confused general public.

Also probably restraints on the physical size of the exhibit.

Yay, voted!

Wasn't quite happy with some of the choices that I was preented with, and some that were left out, and some that I had to vote for on a platform other than the one I played on (FF13, Portal) but I was quite pleesed. And scared that I knew as many of the Atari/Coleco/Intellevision games as I did. I'm so old.

I was glad to vote on this exhibit, although I did abstain from voting on some areas where I did not feel qualified to vote.

I'm also glad that video games are finally getting some recognition on this level.

Ok, DO NOT make me choose between portal and half life 2.

ARGH! Eh if it wasn't for portal, I wouldn't have gone in to PC gameing.

Meh. Art is all about what people perceive as art and what critics say is art. There is no rhythm or reason to it. I'd like to see the title of art bestowed on all games though since this will inevitably create a divide between art and non-art games.

I'm concerned that the western tradition of art is going to get int he way here. Games are art only in their true nature, which is to be played. Museum usually display pieces as static pieces with no interaction. How are they going to set the museum up?

Twilight_guy:
Meh. Art is all about what people perceive as art and what critics say is art. There is no rhythm or reason to it. I'd like to see the title of art bestowed on all games though since this will inevitably create a divide between art and non-art games.

I'm concerned that the western tradition of art is going to get int he way here. Games are art only in their true nature, which is to be played. Museum usually display pieces as static pieces with no interaction. How are they going to set the museum up?

I'm hoping they make it an interactive exhibit where you can touch/feel/play bits of the games. It depends on what they're calling the "art" of the art form. Is it the visuals? THe way the game is put together? The interface? I'd be interested to know how the Smithsonian is approaching that question.

Or I've watched one too many eps of Extra Credits :)

sweet! heading over now.
smithsonian is in my backyard too. Hopefully it will still be free to enter once this exhibit rolls around.

Website works fine for me.

We should vote for ET on Atari just to piss everyone off. LOL

Tiswas:
Glad to see Okami and Shadow of the Colossus are in.

But WHY are Halo, COD, Mass Effect 2 etc in? Especially when they seemingly omitted Red Dead Redemption.

I can't say that I know why CoD is in as it's pretty much just an interactive version of a pointless explosion filled action movie. Heck, I'm one of the people who actually enjoyed The Expendables but I would never classify it as art.

Halo, on the other hand, does at the least have some striking visual design even if the entire experience isn't exactly "artsy." ME2 is much in the same boat except it augments it's striking visual aspects with a story that may not be anything truly new but does use player interaction in the pondering of some rather deep moral dilemmas. I'd agree neither are overly "arty" games but I'd say they both have at least some grounds for inclusion.

It's kind of stupid that they divide your votes up by genre rather than simply by console. The development of the medium is such that a lot of innovations were concentrated in certain genres so you'll see a few really great games being left out just because they had stiff competition. Similarly, you'll see a lot of mediocre games being featured simply because they were the best of a genre during a lackluster time period.

Ultratwinkie:

StriderShinryu:
I'd imagine Susan Arendt is giggling with glee over PN03 being one of the nominees. :)

Ultratwinkie:
Voted for half life. Let's hope Half life gets picked over another faceless COD game.

Meh, I doubt I'd vote for Half Life anyway, but at least in the modern era they have HL2 up against Portal. Even if I liked HL2, there's no way I'd put it above Portal either as a better game or a better example of games as art. I certainly agree with not voting for CoD though.

At least they put up the original fallout in the adventure genre. That gives hope, since it's competition is rather laughable.

I dunno, I think Grim Fandango > Fallout.

boholikeu:
It's kind of stupid that they divide your votes up by genre rather than simply by console. The development of the medium is such that a lot of innovations were concentrated in certain genres so you'll see a few really great games being left out just because they had stiff competition. Similarly, you'll see a lot of mediocre games being featured simply because they were the best of a genre during a lackluster time period.

Ultratwinkie:

StriderShinryu:
I'd imagine Susan Arendt is giggling with glee over PN03 being one of the nominees. :)

Meh, I doubt I'd vote for Half Life anyway, but at least in the modern era they have HL2 up against Portal. Even if I liked HL2, there's no way I'd put it above Portal either as a better game or a better example of games as art. I certainly agree with not voting for CoD though.

At least they put up the original fallout in the adventure genre. That gives hope, since it's competition is rather laughable.

I dunno, I think Grim Fandango > Fallout.

They do it by consoles as well. Windows, xbox, and the playstation all get their own votes.

I approve as long as it won't be one big make-out session with Nintendo and "the good old days".
Cause "Video Games as art" is a little more than that.

This has the potential to go horribly wrong... Judging something by its artistic merits is a lot different than choosing your favorite title, best selling title, and popular title. The day we see COD representing video games as art is a dark day indeed. Why it's there I don't have a single clue... Someone didn't do their research at the Smithsonian..... There is good art...and then there is bad art.

Either we validate the medium as an art with well thought out choices, or we damn it by showing the world "this is what gamers consider art" A.K.A COD, Halo, and a number of other titles that really have no business being on that list.

I don't mean to sound elitist...but this is big. Do we really want to be known as a medium that gives artistic merits to mediocrity?

I really hope public input helps decide the games to be in the exhibit. If it just defaults to a panel of "Experts" I fear they will miss out on some things. I know they have this website up and stuff, just seems weird that they are asking for input. Like there aren't enough books and people out there who have a high-level of knowledge on the subject

When I saw majora's mask as a voting option, I shed a single tear and hit the vote button with all of my might.

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