Smithsonian's Art of Video Games Selections Announced

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Smithsonian's Art of Video Games Selections Announced

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Votes for the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Art of Video Games exhibit have been counted and like all such competitions, the results will almost certainly inspire days of arguing on the internet.

In February we brought your attention to the Art of Video Games, an upcoming exhibition being put on by the American Art Museum. It was cool beans for two reasons: one, because it represented mainstream recognition of videogames as a significant artistic medium, and two, because we got to vote on the games that will appear in it. The categories and nominations were a little confusing in spots but represented a reasonable cross-section of the industry, past and present.

Now the polls are closed and the results are in, and that means a fresh new opportunity to argue about it on the internet! You can check out the full list in PDF format at americanart.si.edu, but I'll give you a bit of a sneak peek: Pitfall beat out Adventure and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in the "Adventure" category on the Atari VCS, Zaxxon beat Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom and Carnival in the ColecoVision "Target" category, and Sid Meier's Pirates! triumphed over Little Computer People and M.U.L.E. in "Combat/Strategy" on the Commodore 64. You remember those, right?

Some of the selections are obvious - the inclusion of BioShock, for instance - while others strike me as a bit dicey. Brutal Legend is in but Psychonauts isn't? Democracy must not be denied, I suppose, but given that the exhibit is meant to showcase "striking visual effects, the creative use of new technologies and the most influential artists and designers," I can't help but think that a better choice could have been made.

Five other games which weren't part of the voting process will also be available for visitors to play while at the exhibition: the original arcade version of Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst and World of Warcraft. The Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum opens on March 16, 2012 and will through through September 30. For more information, visit. www.artofvideogames.org.

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Fallout better be in it, or else..-Shakes fist-

Fallout's in it and...holy shit Minecraft and Portal are on that list

So...where the Hell are Resident Evil and Silent Hill?

I simply must go to that exhibition! I'm already a museum nerd, so... :P no shame at all.

Yeah, Brutal Legend over Psychonauts. That really is a sharp kick in the groin.

Realitycrash:
Fallout better be in it, or else..-Shakes fist-

Fallout 1 won against Grim Fandango.

Its a good day.

Edit: correction, the PDF list is hard to read. Crappy Adobe.

Sony Playstation 2

Action winner - Shadow of the Colossus
Adventure winner - Okami

Total win right there.

I was kind of surprised that Minecraft beat SC2 in the combat/strategy genre. Not because Minecraft isn't a combat/strategy game, but I thought SC2 would have more pull. But I guess Minecraft will continue to win the internet.

Minecraft, two Fallout titles, Portal, Mass Effect 2, BioShock...I approve.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes? YEEEES! Somebody looked past the hilarious difficulty and recognized Retro Studios' ridiculously good art direction!

Saw the list earlier overall eh...

Too much Zelda and Mario, it would of been better if they were all just bundled together thus having room for more games to win. It seems only a few games I actually care about made it. And Minecraft got in. *contains rage*

Other than that its still pretty neat and I'll be sure to check it out next year.

Those are all good choices. I would have definitely picked lifeforce over 1943 but I can understand the choice.

Also awesome shout out to Einhander which was one of the best of the shmup genre and really did a good job with the limits of the ps1 graphics.

I'm sad they overlooked STALKER which IMO the greatest game of the 2000s but it is hard to define the genre as it has elements of shooters, rpgs and adventures.

Phantasy Stars I and IV? Today is a good day for me.

YES! Fallout, Final Fantasy VII, and Metal Gear Solid are all in it!
Wait... Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, KOTOR, and Jet Set Radio Future aren't in it?
*sobs for several minutes*
KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

WorldCritic:
YES! Fallout, Final Fantasy VII, and Metal Gear Solid are all in it!
Wait... Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, KOTOR, and Jet Set Radio Future aren't in it?
*sobs for several minutes*
KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

why not BG BG2 IWD IWD2 while we're at it !...

Atari

Action - Pacman won? I know it probably won because of the Arcade version but the Atari version was a disaster. Oh well.
Adventure - Pitfall: Well deserved. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial was nominated...ohhhhhkaaaaay....
Target - Space invaders. Good pick. Missile Command would have been good too.
Combat/Strategy - Good picks. No complaints here.

ColecoVision

Action: Donkey Kong? No complaints here.
Adventure: Pitfall 2? A bit redundant because Pitfall won an award already, but alright.
Target: Can't speak on any of these.
Combat/Strategy: Well deserved picks.

Intellivision

Action: I assume they were bankrupt for ideas.
Adventure: **** yeah. VERY well deserved and one of the best Intellivision games ever.
Target: Can't speak on this.
Combat/Strategy: Can't speak on this either.

Commodore 64

I never owned a Commodore 64 so I can't speak on any games present.

Nintendo Entertainment System:

Action: A given. Nominees are good too.
Adventure: Another given.
Target: I liked 1943 but Life Force should have won this one.
Combat/Strategy: I never played these.

Sega Master System

Action: Marble Madness? A classic. Nominees are good too.
Adventure: Very well deserved picks all around.
Target: Good, but not great picks.
Combat/Strategy: In my opinion, Rampart should have won.

Sega Genesis

Action: And here I thought the Smithsonian had no taste. Excellent, excellent picks.
Adventure: Another excellent group of picks. Someone must have played a lot of Sega Genesis in their day.
Target: Either the Sega Genesis just kicked that much ass or the Smithsonian actually knows what its doing with the Sega Genesis.
Combat/Strategy: Never heard of these titles. Might give them a look given the other Genesis picks.

SNES

I discount this entire list for not even nominating Super Metroid.

DOS/Windows

Action: Deus Ex lost to DOOM II? Don't get me wrong, DOOM II was cool. But Deus Ex was the best FPS eve made.
Adventure: Personal opinion, but Baldur's Gate II was better. Fallout was good though.
Target: Great picks all around.
Combat/Strategy: Well deserved win for Starcraft.

N64

Action: Good picks, I especially love Shadows of the Empire there. I have fond memories of that title.
Adventure: I guess you can't really go wrong with Ocarina of Time. But I personally would have picked Majora's Mask for its unique charms and better story.
Target: Another good group of picks.
Combat/Strategy: I didn't play any of these titles.

Sega Dreamcast

Action: Sonic Adventure was good, but Sonic Adventure 2 was WAY better. It probably would have been good to nominate Power Stone.
Adventure: No offense meant to Shenmue, it's a good game. But it beat Phantasy Star Online and I cannot approve of that.
Target: No complaints here. Good games all around.
Combat/Strategy: Never played these games.

Sega Saturn(Huh? Odd placement...)

Action: NiGHTs into Dreams was better.
Adventure: This one earns my seal of approval just for having Blazing Dragons nominated. Oh, and Panzer Dragoon saga would have been enough to make this good anyway.
Target: Never played these titles.
Combat/Strategy: It's like they put Sim City 2000 here because they couldn't fit it into the PC section. Oh well, it deserved to be somewhere.

Sony Playstation

Action: A trio of excellence. Wonderful picks all around. Though, I do have to question why Abe's Oddysee was nominated for Action when the game didn't involve much action at all.
Adventure: I don't care for Final Fantasy VII personally, but the nominees make up for it.
Target: Colony Wars III Red Sun is a brilliant nominee. Haven't played the other games though.
Combat/Strategy: No Vandal Hearts? Bullcrap...

Xbox

Action: Halo 2 was what redefined online gameplay and serves as my personal favorite in the series. It was very well deserved. Psychonauts Nominee was good too.
Adventure: Fable? Odd choice. But it isn't like there was anything better.
Target: Good pick too. Can't argue with that.
Combat/Strategy: Steel Battalion should have won, but that's a good pick too.

Xbox 360

Action: I didn't care for BioShock, but a good pick anyway.
Adventure: Mass Effect 2 kicked ass. A well deserved win.
Target: Ikaruga getting nominated makes up for this one, but I didn't care for Geometry Wars. Can't argue with its influence though.
Combat/Strategy: Darwinia should have won.

Modern Windows

Action: Portal was a great pick. Though, I do question why World at War was nominated and not Call of Duty 4.
Adventure: A well rounded list. Personally I like Knights of the Old Republic best.
Target: Flow deserved this one. Nominees are garbage though.
Combat/Strategy: Minecraft!(All that needs to be said.)

Nintendo Gamecube

Action: ...Metroid Prime 2? That was the weakest link of the series. Go with Metroid Prime and we're good. Eternal Darkness was a good nominee too.
Adventure: I didn't care for all three titles.
Target: I found Star Fox Assault to be underwhelming. But I guess that there aren't that many great Target games.
Combat/Strategy: Can't argue with any of these picks.

Nintendo Wii

Action: Metroid Prime Trilogy should have won, but that would have been redundant. Good pick anyway.
Adventure: Monster Hunter Tri should have won in my opinion, but Twilight Princess was great too.
Target: Sin and Punishment 2 at least got nominated. Boom Blox is okay too.
Combat/Strategy: Where's the love for Battalion Wars? Keep nominating it and then not giving it the title it deserves...

Playstation 2

Action: Shadow of the Colossus was excellent. But its nominees have no place being next to it.
Adventure: Good picks all around, well deserved win for Okami.
Target: Fantastic picks. Makes me confident for the future picks. :)
Combat/Strategy: Another batch of great picks.

Playstation 3

Action: ...ugh. I guess Uncharted 2 was okay.
Adventure: Heavy Rain and Dragon Age are good, but Final Fantasy XIII has no place on this list.
Target: Another win for Jenova Chen. Well deserved. :) PixelJunk Shooter was excellent too.
Combat/Strategy: Brutal Legend? Whaaaat? Well, I guess there wasn't anything better...

Additional Games

Pacman: Then why did you guys shoehorn this into the Atari category if you were just going to put this here?
8-bit: Odd choice again seeing how Super Mario Bros 3 eclipses it.
Monkey Island: Fair enough.
Myst: Fair enough.
World of Warcraft: Well deserved, even if I don't really care for it.

No GTA or Red Dead? :(

I can't say that I would picked all of those choices, but even if I don't agree with some of them, I still appreciate that the Smithsonian is even taking the time to put on the exhibit in the first place. This should help people try to take the medium more seriously.

Armored Prayer:
Saw the list earlier overall eh...

Too much Zelda and Mario, it would of been better if they were all just bundled together thus having room for more games to win. It seems only a few games I actually care about made it. And Minecraft got in. *contains rage*

Other than that its still pretty neat and I'll be sure to check it out next year.

Minecraft kind of makes sence on this, it shows that games can lack defined goals and let the player do what he wants.

I do find the lack of Psychonauts an absurd, its another way of aproaching video-games and insted of him we have Halo 2, yeah, Halo 2 was very important and all but the people that will go there will only see what they already saw in their houses, a multiplayer FPS (someone of the family probably plays COD or something).

No Psychonauts makes me a sad panda. So does Ocarina of Time beating Majora's Mask.

But still, nice list.

YES!!
Bioshock, Shadow of the Colossus, and Okami are now artistically, culturally and aesthetically significant art works. This is great.

OKAMI IS IN IT! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Ahem. I love Okami, so happy it's in a museum now. That feels weird to say.

Andy Chalk:
Pitfall beat out Adventure and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in the "Adventure" category on the Atari VCS, Zaxxon beat Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom and Carnival in the ColecoVision "Target" category, and Sid Meier's Pirates! triumphed over Little Computer People and M.U.L.E. in "Combat/Strategy" on the Commodore 64. You remember those, right?

Yes, I do. Now all you kids get off my lawn! *Waves cane.*


Jumpman beat Impossible Mission? For real? Better game with better graphics. Seriously, there's a reason a dozen games ripped off the sprites of the hero from Impossible Mission. Oh, well, I guess it's all Epyx, so can't complain too loud....


And why was Archon listed as an NES game? It started* on the C64 and it was more of a combat/strategy game than Little Computer People (for all you kids: 8 bit The Sims).

EDIT: *Okay, no it didn't. But the C64 port predates the NES port. And it's still more of a combat/strategy game than LCP!

Irridium:
No Psychonauts makes me a sad panda. So does Ocarina of Time beating Majora's Mask.

But still, nice list.

It bothers me that Majora's Mask and Paper Mario were pitted against Ocarina of Time in the first place. Ocarina certainly should have the win, but the other two would also be stellar inclusions for different reasons. Ah well, I guess sacrifices have to be made...

I love The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, I'm happy to see that, Ocarina of time and Portal go down in history, though I would have prefered it if Tales of Symphonia won.

My only real major complaint about the list is Deus Ex losing to Doom 2. Ugh.

Armored Prayer:
Too much Zelda and Mario

Gotta agree with this. Overall the list of winners is a pretty good one, but there are far too many Zelda and Mario games included, particularly given that this is supposed to be an exhibition of games as art and I don't see either Mario or Zelda as overly artistic beyond their iconic visual design. In fact, the Zelda game I'm sure most would consider to be the most artistic (Majora's Mask) was I think the only Zelda title to not win it's category.

AnythingOutstanding:
Action: Deus Ex lost to DOOM II? Don't get me wrong, DOOM II was cool. But Deus Ex was the best FPS ever made.

Deus Ex would have been a better fit in the Adventure category since it's much more of an RPG with an FPS perspective than a straight up action game. Besides, nothing should beat DOOM as far as action is concerned. In terms of influence, few games really followed in DE's footsteps (more's the pity) whereas DOOM is the game that put FPSs on the map and every game in the genre owes something to it.

As to the other picks, as I said in the other thread on this topic, I'm sad that there's no acknowledgement of Tomb Raider in the PS1 category. Feels like the early games in the series don't get the credit they deserve these days on account of the series having lost its way in more recent years.

IF KoToR isn't in there, I will be very mad. 'nuff said

This list is better than I expected but is it only me or are there a lot of Zelda games?

They should have had a privite selection.

I most are good, but many were selected just for popularity.

For example, OoT was AMAZING, but as far as emotional depth, atmosphere, and other "art" stuff, Majora's Mask was far better.

You guys are upset but they ran an article here a few months ago about the voting being open to the public. I know I signed up and voted for what I thought should win, some of my picks got in and some didn't. Overall I think the public did a pretty good job picking some of the better representatives of our trade.

I'm also pretty sure that Brutal Legends and Psychonauts were in different categories, so one getting in doesn't mean it caused the other to lose. Frankly I think it does deserve to be in there; it had stunning visuals and one bitchin' soundtrack. I wish Psychonauts had made it in as well if only on the Velvetopia level alone. Both games are equally as worthy to be in the exhibit it's unfortunate that one of them didn't make it.

-EDIT-
Okay yeah, just saw that Psychonauts lost to Halo 2. Someone needs to be beaten; repeatedly.

WTF! Where the hell is Metroid Prime! Echoes is a sad sequel in comparison.

Meh. At least Ocarina of Time is up there instead of Majora's Mask, design and music was shit loads better, which also means better atmosphere.

Sixcess:

As to the other picks, as I said in the other thread on this topic, I'm sad that there's no acknowledgement of Tomb Raider in the PS1 category. Feels like the early games in the series don't get the credit they deserve these days on account of the series having lost its way in more recent years.

Tomb Raider was the winning game in the Saturn's action category

Overall, it's a pretty fantastic list. It doesn't have all the greats, of course, but that's what future exhibits are for ;)

Edit: But no representation for handheld gaming? That's a little disappointing...

Sixcess:

AnythingOutstanding:
Action: Deus Ex lost to DOOM II? Don't get me wrong, DOOM II was cool. But Deus Ex was the best FPS ever made.

Deus Ex would have been a better fit in the Adventure category since it's much more of an RPG with an FPS perspective than a straight up action game. Besides, nothing should beat DOOM as far as action is concerned. In terms of influence, few games really followed in DE's footsteps (more's the pity) whereas DOOM is the game that put FPSs on the map and every game in the genre owes something to it.

As to the other picks, as I said in the other thread on this topic, I'm sad that there's no acknowledgement of Tomb Raider in the PS1 category. Feels like the early games in the series don't get the credit they deserve these days on account of the series having lost its way in more recent years.

In terms of influence, I'd most definitely put Quake up there instead.

Fallout is on the list, both the first and third games. It is good enough for me. :3

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