Classic video games become an exhibit at Museum of Modern Art
tertwined with American culture. Primitive games like the addictive Pong are making a comeback for younger audiences to discover and help the older generation to reminisce.
As far back as 30 years ago, these old school video games captured the hearts of many.
Video games such as “Tetris” or “Space Invaders” were simple in design and quick to pick up. Old school video games created a path for future games to grow and reach a wider audience. This continued evolution of gaming has created a need for preservation.
Recently the Museum of Modern Art has been acquiring old school video games to include in a collection of 40 games in the museum’s Phillip Johnson Galleries.
The exhibition is scheduled to open in March 2013, and include games such as “Tetris”, “SimCity 2000”, “The Sims”, “Dwarf Fortress”, “Pac-Man”, and “Portal”. These ranges of games that are in the process of being acquired are focused on a variety of games on a range of different platforms and creators.
The point of this exhibit is to introduce video games as art. Paul Potter, junior, agrees with this perspective stating, “It tells a story just like a painting or a book from a different perspective.”
Prof. Donabedian, university accounting proffesor, believes that “From a marketing point of view, all museums are trying to change their demographic. They want a younger audience both for current traffic and to create a generation that feels invested in the museum when they get richer and can make donations”.
Some believe that video games are an art form that can die without constant preservation of its ever changing design and fan base. The criteria for this collection is as simple as “the best use of technology for an expressive goal,” a “masterpiece of interaction design” and making the “best with the technology at their disposal” according to Paola Antonelli, a senior curator in the Department of Architecture and Design in a recent article with Speakeasy.
Not all classic games intend to become a permanent part of a museum collection as some still draw a wide appeal. This is best demonstrated by the bar chain known as Barcade. This chain has location throughout New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia and give costumers exactly what the name would suggest.
These bars are a tribute to the older pubs that served alcohol and rounds of “Brick-Breaker”. Barcade mixes a combination of classical arcade games and a variety of beer. The original bar in the chain opened in 2004 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has since expanded.
Some of the video games that are featured include “Asteroids”, “Centipede”, “Star Wars”, and “Donkey Kong”. Barcade is not alone in this however as a rejuvenated interest in old school gamer has inspired a flood of similiar bars in Las Vegas, California, and Oregon. With their growing popularity it is safe to assume that more will be opening up across the country.
Classic video games have changed “the entire idea of I am here” explains Prof. Donabedian “in a fundamental way. People do not interact with their immediate physical environment, but with the alternate reality of games and the Internet”.
Old school video games have become a part of history, and continue to change our interactions with reality using complex designs and universes that they create for users. Thirty years from now, the possibilities are endless for the next innovations of games that will make games like Halo another classic video game.