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.

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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.

Another World
SimCity 2000
The Sims
Katamari Damacy
EVE Online
Dwarf Fortress

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).

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