Video games are crucial to understanding the American story, says museum director

Smithsonian American Art Museum acquires Flower and Halo 2600 for its permanent collection.


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Independent games Flower and Halo 2600 have been added to the Smithsonian American Art Museum's permanent collection, the museum announced this week.

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“Video games represent a vast, diverse, and rapidly evolving new genre that is crucial to our understanding of the American story,” curator of film and media arts Michael Mansfield said.

Both games were previously loaned to the museum as part of its "Art of Video Games" exhibit and are the museum's first video games to be featured in its permanent collection.

Flower (2009) was developed by thatgamecompany, while Halo 2600--a retro tribute to the sci-fi series--was created by former Microsoft developer Ed Fries.

Obviously, Flower is a digital-only game, which calls into question the prospect of its permanent preservation for museum visitors in the next few years or decades.

Mansfield told Gamasutra that he worked with thatgamecompany to acquire the game on a Blu-ray disc, which provides a "physical and verifiable data set" that will be preserved through the years.

The museum plans to acquire additional video games in the future, though none were named specifically. For more, check out Giant Bomb's interview with Mansfield concerning why the museum picked Flower and Halo 2600 for its collection.

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