The Art of Video Games
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
March 16 - September 30, 2012
The Art of Video Games features 80 video games that demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and will travel to 10 cities in the United States following its presentation in Washington, D.C. Confirmed venues include:
Boca Raton Museum of Art, 2013 + EMP Museum in Seattle, 2013 + Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY, 2014 + Flint Institute of Arts, 2014 + Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, 2014 + Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 2015 + Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami, 2015-2016
This post is updated on a regular basis.
Super Mario Brothers 3
Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Hiroshi Yamauchi, directors; Satoru Iwata, executive producer; Konji Kondo, composer, Nintendo Entertainment System, 1990, Nintendo of America, Inc.
Hal Finney, Brett Stutz, programmers, Mattel Intellivision, 1981, Intellivision Productions, Inc.
David Crane, Atari VCS, 1982, Activision Publishing. All trade names and trademarks are properties of their respective parties. All Rights Reserved.
“The Art of Video Games” is one of the first major exhibitions to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking graphics, creative storytelling and player interactivity. The exhibition features some of the most influential artists and designers across five eras of game development, from early pioneers to contemporary designers. Video games use player participation to tell stories and engage audiences. In the same way as film, animation and performance, video games are a compelling and influential form of narrative art.
Ken Levine, creative director and executive producer; Paul Hellquist, lead designer; Dean Tate, senior designer and artist; Scott Sinclair, art director, Microsoft XBox 360, 2007, image courtesy of 2K Games, Inc., and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Various artists, DOS/Windows, 2000, © 2000 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. Diablo is a trademark or registered trademark of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
The Art of Video Games will be on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from March 16 through Sept. 30. Chris Melissinos, former chief evangelist and chief gaming officer for Sun Microsystems and founder of PastPixels, is the guest curator of the exhibition. Georgina Goodlander, the museum’s social media and Web content manager, is the exhibition coordinator.
“Video game designers are engaged in creating a world, as are all artists,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “The Smithsonian American Art Museum recognizes the designers and developers who create these beguiling worlds in this exhibition. Contemporary video games have taken this creative expression to a whole new level, and we are eager to explore this popular global phenomenon.”
Tetsuo Mizuno, Tomoyuki Takechi, Shinji Hashimoto, executive producers; Yusuke Hirata, producer; Tatsuo Fujii, director; Yuji Asano, lead design, Sony PlayStation, 1998, © 1997, 1998 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved
Jenova Chen, Nicholas Clark, game design, Modern Windows, 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
Jenova Chen, creative director; John Edwards, lead engineer. Developed by thatgamecompany, LLC, Sony Playstation 3, 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
“Video games are a prevalent and increasingly expressive medium within modern society,” said Chris Melissinos. “In the 40 years since the introduction of the first home video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. Video games, which include classic components of art, offer designers a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences by including a new element, the player, who completes the vivid, experiential art form by personally interacting with the game elements.”
The Art of Video Games focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for 20 gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. The Art of Video Games features 80 video games, selected with the help of the public, that demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The games are presented through still images and video footage. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with developers and artists, historic game consoles and large prints of in-game screen shots.
Mark Cerny, Steve Lamb, SEGA Master System, 1992.
Jim, Doug TenNapel, original concept, character designer and voice actor; Tommy Tallarico, composer; Steve Crow, lead artist; David Luehmann, producer, SEGA Genesis, 1994, © 1994 Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Earthworm Jim, the Earthworm Jim logo, Interplay, the Interplay logo, and "By Gamers. For Gamers." are trademarks or registered trademarks of Interplay Entertainment Corp. in the U.S. and other countries. All Rights Reserved.
New technologies allow designers to create increasingly interactive and sophisticated game environments while staying grounded in traditional game types. Five featured games, one from each era, will be available in the exhibition galleries for visitors to play for a few minutes, to gain some feel for the interactivity. The playable games—Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst and Flower—show how players interact with the virtual worlds, highlighting innovative new techniques that set the standard for many subsequent games.
Jeremy H. Smith, executive producer; Toby Gard, Heather Gibson, Neal Boyd, graphic artists; Jason Gosling, Paul Douglas, Gavin Rummery, programmers, SEGA Saturn, 1996, © 1996 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei
Yukio Futatsugi, Manabu Kusunoki, original design; Kentaro Yoshida, art director, SEGA Saturn, 1996, © SEGA. All Rights Reserved.
Metal Gear Solid
Hideo Kojima, director; Yoji Shinkawa, artwork director, Sony PlayStation, 1998, © 1990 Konami Digital Entertainment.
Visitors to the exhibition will be greeted by excerpts from selected games projected 12 feet high, accompanied by a chipmusic soundtrack by 8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer, including The Art of Video Games Anthem recorded by 8 Bit Weapon specifically for the exhibition. These multimedia elements convey the excitement and complexity of the featured video games. An interior gallery will include a series of short videos showing the range of emotional responses players have while interacting with games. Excerpts from interviews with 20 influential figures in the gaming world also will be presented in the galleries.
Tetsuya Mizuguchi, producer; Jun Kobayashi, director; Katsumi Yokota, art director and lead artist, SEGA Dreamcast, 2001, © SEGA. All Rights Reserved.
Yu Suzuki, director and producer; Yoichi Takahashi, designer; Eiji Ogawa, writer, SEGA Dreamcast, 2000, © SEGA. All Rights Reserved.
Yuki Naka, Keith Palmer, producers; Takasi Iizuka, director; Kazuyuki Hoshino, art director, SEGA Dreamcast, 1999, © SEGA. All Rights Reserved.
SYMPOSIUM: VIDEO GAMES: BEYOND PLAY
Video Games: Beyond Play, a symposium that examines the changing roles of video games, consists of two panel discussions Friday, May 4, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the museum’s McEvoy Auditorium. The first panel, “Video Games at Work” from 1 to 2:30 p.m., is an in-depth look at how video games are revolutionizing areas such as health care, education, civics, journalism and national defense. Panelists include: Asi Burak, co-founder of Games for Change; Brian Crecente, editor-in-chief of the video game blog “Kotaku;” J.C. Herz, author of Joystick Nation; Ben Sawyer, co-founder of DigitalMill Inc.; and moderator Constance Steinkuehler Squire, senior policy analyst with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The second panel, “Game Change: Society and Culture” from 3 to 4:30 p.m., examines the impact of video games in the fields of academic research, science, art and education. Panelists include Hunicke; Richard Lemarchand, lead game designer at Naughty Dog; Eric Zimmerman, game designer, educator and co-author of Rules of Play; and moderator Colleen Macklin, associate professor of design and technology at Parsons the New School for Design.
Markus Persson, Modern Windows, 2009, © Notch Development AB.
The Art of Video Games is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from the Entertainment Software Association Foundation; Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins; Shelby and Frederick Gans; Mark Lamia; Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk; Rose Family Foundation; Betty and Lloyd Schermer; and Neil Young. Promotional support is provided by the Entertainment Consumers Association. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, “Treasures to Go.”
The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC 20013-7012, USA
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida., October 24 - January 20, 2013
EMP Museum, Seattle, February 16 - May 13, 2013
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY, February 15 - May 18, 2014
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, June 19 - September 28, 2014
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Mich., October 25, 2014 - January 18, 2015
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tenn., June 6 - September 13, 2015
Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami, Fla., October 9, 2015 - January 25, 2016
David Cage, writer and director, Sony Playstation 3, 2010, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
Casey Hudson, director; Mac Walters, Drew Karpyshyn, writers; Casey Hudson, producer, Microsoft XBox 360, 2010, © 2010 Electronic Arts, Inc. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Amy Hennig, creative director; Robh Ruppel, art direction, Sony Playstation 3, 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
Stephen Cakebread, game design and programming, Microsoft XBox 360, 2008, Bizarre Creations.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Shigeru Miyamoto, executive producer; Eiji Aonuma, director; Satoru Takizawa, art director; Eiji Aonuma, Satoru Iwata, producers, Nintendo Wii, 2006, Nintendo of America, Inc.
Atsushi Inaba, producer; Hideki Kamiya, director, Sony Playstation 2, 2006, Capcom Entertainment, Inc.
Shadow of the Colossus
Fumito Ueda, director and game design, Sony Playstation 2, 2005, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum - Micro-donations
The museum launched its first micro-donation campaign in connection with the exhibition in September 2011. Individuals can become a part of this historic exhibition by adding his or her name to the credits, which are projected in the exhibition, by supporting the exhibition online or by text message. Details are on the museum’s website, americanart.si.edu/taovg.
Last update from the Smithsonian American Art Museum: 03-01-2012