Museum of Modern Art opening game gallery

Art museum to add Pac-Man, Tetris, The Sims, Flow, Minecraft and more to Philip Johnson Galleries beginning March 2013.

The Smithsonian's "Art of Games" exhibit has now closed, but games will be on display at another high-profile art museum beginning early next year. The Museum of Modern Art has announced that it has chosen 40 games to display at a new game-specific gallery at its New York City location.

Games selected for display at the Museum of Modern Art go back decades and include the likes of Pac-Man and Spacewar!, but also contemporary releases like Portal and Minecraft. The games will be on display as part of its Architecture and Design collection at the establishment's Johnson Galleries beginning in March 2013.

"Are video games art? They sure are, but they are also design, and a design approach is what we chose for this new foray into this universe," reads a line from the Museum of Modern Art's announcement. "The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design--a field that MoMA has already explored and collected extensively, and one of the most important and oft-discussed expressions of contemporary design creativity."

The gallery's curators spent more than a year preparing the exhibit, and have sought the advice of scholars, digital conservation and legal experts, historians, and critics to decide upon the best criteria by which to select games.

"Our criteria, therefore, emphasize not only the visual quality and aesthetic experience of each game, but also the many other aspects--from the elegance of the code to the design of the player’s behavior--that pertain to interaction design," the company said.

Fourteen games have already been chosen for the exhibit. They are listed below.

Pac-Man
Tetris
Another World
Myst
SimCity 2000
vib-ribbon
The Sims
Katamari Damacy
EVE Online
Dwarf Fortress
Portal
flOw
Passage
Canabalt

The museum hopes to add dozens more to reach its goal of 40 for the exhibit. These games include, Spacewar! (1962), an assortment of games for the Magnavox Odyssey console (1972), Pong (1972), Snake (originally designed in the 1970s; Nokia phone version dates from 1997), Space Invaders (1978), Asteroids (1979), Zork (1979), Tempest (1981),Donkey Kong (1981), Yars’ Revenge (1982), M.U.L.E. (1983), Core War (1984), Marble Madness (1984), Super Mario Bros. (1985), The Legend of Zelda (1986), NetHack (1987), Street Fighter II (1991), Chrono Trigger(1995), Super Mario 64 (1996), Grim Fandango (1998), Animal Crossing (2001), and Minecraft (2011).

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

31 comments
Hurvl
Hurvl

It's nice that have something Swedish like Minecraft to this smorgasbord of games. I also like that they have selected Super Mario Bros. and Grim Fandango.

JohnMark320
JohnMark320

The"Art of Games" exhibit was small and really only displayed kiosks of games on screens. While cool, I was expecting more of storyboards, concept illustrations, and the process of getting that into 3D models, ya know...the "art" part of games. I hope the MoMA considers that when building this exhibit and I look forward to it. 

Ark1of712
Ark1of712

First we take the museums, then we take the world.

Kalan_Arkais
Kalan_Arkais

An interesting list of games, but Myst definitely deserves its place there.

KBABZ
KBABZ

Indiana with a Pong cartridge: "It belongs in a museum!!"

franzito
franzito

They should exhibit other games also, like Journey, which is very arty!

Borrizee
Borrizee

We are getting old,we are museum stuff now. Nice to see.

Rivboets7
Rivboets7

No Borderlands or BioShock?  I really thought that was a cool art style.

Jarten
Jarten

Wish I could go and see it. Too bad I live on the other side of the country.

ToTs_00
ToTs_00

Why did Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. not automatically get in?

SolidTy
SolidTy

I do want to check this out, my kind of bag. I'm going to gather a group of guys and gals and make a day of it. :P

UnwantedSpam
UnwantedSpam

Nice! It's good to see games getting the artistic recognition they deserve. After all, somebody had to use their imaginations to create these worlds, characters, and gameplay concepts. :P

catsimboy
catsimboy

David Cage is seething with jealousy, sorry David they didn't want to put a game where you press X to 'Jason' in there.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Seems like a lot of randomly picked titles... Modern art, seeing art where it isn't, even if it is close by.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

The Museum of Modern Art is now the best museum in the world.

 

vault-boy
vault-boy

I love how there doing this, I just wish they would also have more games based off their artistic merits and not just their design, fantastic as they might be. Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, the first 9 Final Fantasies, Silent Hill 1-4, everything Telltale, these are games that would have been amazing on this list. Still, its great to see some recognition for games as art, if I ever go to NY I'm definitely checking it out.

DigitalDame
DigitalDame moderator moderatorstaff

I wanna go to this 

radcrab123
radcrab123

so you parents out there show some respect videogames are ART

KaSeRRoR
KaSeRRoR

I like how Street Fighter makes the list! Sim City 2000 too! I can remember playing Sim City 2000 for HOURS on the PSX... I loved those cheat codes... The good ole days...

>=)

Oblivon
Oblivon

Katamari Damacy's inclusion has probably got the creator in a good rut.

prismtech
prismtech

frank gehry, maybe you should build a museum based on modern gaming so these games can be housed in it

Kitty_Fields
Kitty_Fields

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Katamari Damacy in that list. Its design sure is unique!

lmaocarrots
lmaocarrots

Shocked to see flOw in here and not Flower or Journey. ThatGameCompany is the height of gaming as art.

Borrizee
Borrizee

@Venatorcruiser hahaha made me lol. Wonder what's next the hall of game. Greets

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

 @xSagez Random may be the wrong word... well known would be more accurate... Games to draw in ticket sales, rather than games that have lots of artistic merrit.

Pong for example, its a great game and for it's time very innovative, but it's litterally 2 rectangles and a square.

Brainthief
Brainthief

@JimmeyBurrows @Suikogaiden The article reads the games were chosen based on Design. Think of the level design and symmetry.