Smithsonian’s Art of Video Games Selections Announced


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, 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.

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