Last week the Museum of modern art  in NYC started taking in video games for a new exhibit.

The exhibit will include several video games such as “Pac-Man (1980), Tetris (1984), Another World (1991), Myst (1993), SimCity 2000 (1994), Vib-Ribbon (1999), The Sims (2000), Katamari Damacy (2004), EVE Online (2003), Dwarf Fortress (2006), Portal (2007), flOw (2006), Passage (2008), and Canabalt (2009).”  This is to the detriment to those against video games as art. On the other hand video game critics, enthusiasts, and designers should be thrilled to see the medium grow.

Each game will be presented in a different manner depending on the game itself. Short games can be played in their entirety, while long games will feature a demonstration video. For game cartilages that are extra fragile, the museum wisely has placed arcade cabinets with computers emulating the game to replicate the experience.  This method of presenting games should help people of all ages and ability learn about and experience games. For example, I love games like Dwarf Fortress, but I have found much difficulty explaining it those around me. A video that highlights the features of a game is a good way to explain Dwarf Fortress to non-gamers.

The games exhibited are chosen based on the behavior, aesthetics, space and time for each game.  Behavior covers scenarios, rules stimuli, incentives, and narratives. “A purposefully designed video game can be used to train and educate, to induce emotions, to test new experiences, or to question the way things are and envision how they might be.”  This is good for those worried how the museum will display story based games such as Zork. It is clear that have made it a point to show these games in an excellent light.

The aesthetics will focus on the game experience. Games such as flOw and vib-ribbon will be added as examples of aesthetics in games. I could not have chosen better art games to showcase what art games are about. By putting these indie games in a museum for all to see, viewers may learn to broaden their definition of what a game is and can be.

“The space [is where] the game exists and evolves”. This is good show case the variety of game world sizes. Pong, for instance, takes place on screen, while Dwarf fortress is about the size of Maine. These examples should show people new to video games the wide variety of game worlds.

The exhibits also contain a wide verity of game length and progression.  Some games, like Portal, have end goals while others do not ever finish. People new to video games can experience and learn about game length. This introduction could introduce people to games they would have time for.

In conclusion, the Museum of modern art featuring games is a great stepping stone for the game industry. It will help new people learn about and enjoy games they would not have normally had access to. It will also help preserve the beginnings of a rather new industry. Hopefully I will see everyone there.

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