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Smithsonian To Feature Video Game History 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-ebert dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "The Smithsonian American Art Museum has featured everything pop culture from Dorothy's ruby red slippers to Seinfeld's puffy shirt. Now it will exhibit a history of video games. An exhibit called 'The Art of Video Games,' will open to the public in Washington, DC on March 16, 2012. The exhibit will explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies." They're currently holding a vote to determine which video games should represent their respective eras.
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Smithsonian To Feature Video Game History

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  • Cabinet art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @02:43AM (#35276092) Homepage

    If this exhibition is really going to be about "the art of videogames," I hope the curators don't give short shrift to the art on the outside of the game cabinets. It seems to have suffered a lot in recent years, but in the 80s, cabinet art was one of my favorite things about visiting arcades. And of course, pinball cabinet art can be simply amazing.

    • If this exhibition is really going to be about "the art of videogames," I hope the curators don't give short shrift to the art on the outside of the game cabinets.

      I would also like them to take notice of the retail box art and the catchy music as well. To this end, I nominate MegaMan.

      1. 0. The game was very popular and spawned many sequels, cartoons, and tons of merchandise.
      2. 1. The simplistic art has withstood the test of time (and palette swapping).
      3. 2. The in game music was great, as well as the tribute songs [youtu.be] it spawned.
      4. 3. The box art is on a totally different level of "art" that can only be described as "special" [somethingawful.com]

      --
      Dear Slashdot: Ordered lists (<ol> ta

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      It's the Smithsonian. They're usually pretty good about such things. It'll probably get short shrift compared to the games themselves, but we should see a bit of good stuff.

    • Re:Cabinet art (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @04:31AM (#35276698) Homepage Journal

      No such luck. Just looked at the choices. If they are any indication, the exhibit will be solely for home based games featuring changeable media (cartridges or discs). No arcade games.

      And while I don't generally care for them, they ignored the 'sports game' genre. Don't recall seeing any racing titles.

      • They ignored the sports game genre by featuring a prominent screen shot of FIFA World Cup.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          I saw that, however I didn't see sports games in the area where you could vote on which games to include. That was at 3:15 this morning, so I fully admit that I may have missed them.

          • You are probably right. I just thought it was funny they used an obscure sports game for the graphic and then didn't even bother to include sports games.

    • Arcade games are not represented, only console and computer games.
      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        The vast majority were console titles. Only a few of the classic PC games represented, and most of those in the form of shitty console ports.

    • Are they any new ones even being produced anymore? I live in the UK and while fruit machines are thriving , old style video games have all but vanished apart from in a few central london arcades. You no longer find them in motorway service stations or small take away shops like you used to.

      Even the ones you do see tend to be quite old and have PS2 level graphics. In fact I know of one arcade thats still running Daytona Racing from 1994.

      I get the feeling that the arcade specific part of the videogame industr

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Are they any new ones even being produced anymore? I live in the UK and while fruit machines are thriving , old style video games have all but vanished apart from in a few central london arcades. You no longer find them in motorway service stations or small take away shops like you used to.

        Even the ones you do see tend to be quite old and have PS2 level graphics. In fact I know of one arcade thats still running Daytona Racing from 1994.

        I get the feeling that the arcade specific part of the videogame industr

    • by asjk (569258)
      They gave short shrift to the whole concept. I just tried voting and gave up. They have a confusing interface and show static pictures for what is definitely a dynamic media. I don't know how someone, who might consider themselves an artist but unfamiliar with the medium, might vote. I have played a lot and consider myself, at age 60, an active gamer but I haven't played all of these games. How do I determine my votes? In an analogous situation it's if the Oscars were decided by people who haven't participa
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...counter-strike :(

  • Seriously.
    Its the game which changed it all. Which actually brought physics and reality into the genre with a super story line. Sounds like a glaring omission.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Actually, I'm not really sure it did. Unreal did the whole "story" thing first. In fact, you could argue that Quake 2 had already done it. Sure, Half Life did it better - but then Deus Ex went on to do it better still. Half-Life was an excellent game which, primarily through its mods, was influential in PC gaming for the better part of a decade, but I'm not really sure it was either genre-defining or a monumental leap forwards on what had come before.

      • Half-life was the first first-person-shooter on PC to include a story and scripted scenes where the camera never left the character's eyes. Quake 2 and Unreal didn't even come close. If you recall, neither of those games had allies with whom you could fight, or allies you had to escort through an area to complete an objective. HL had both of these, as it also featured the most advanced AI in an fps game released on any platform at the time.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You will be qualified to comment when you have played Marathon [wikipedia.org], which predates Half-Life and Unreal by four years. Well, if you only count years.

  • Granted, he retracted his statement that video games aren't art after getting a thorough tongue lashing from gamers, but this definitely takes some wind out of his sails.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/07/okay_kids_play_on_my_lawn.html [suntimes.com]

  • It was the first 2d fighting game... spawned the whole street fighter franchise...

    Kicking the charging bull in the bonus round was still impossible...

  • Granted, he retracted his opinion after getting a thorough tongue lashing from gamers, but he still basically maintains that games cannot be art. With an art museum now planning an exhibit, his argument is kinda dead.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/07/okay_kids_play_on_my_lawn.html [suntimes.com]

  • by scdeimos (632778) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @03:23AM (#35276226)
    Apparently you need to login to even see the list of 240 proposed games. I hope they've got Dragon's Lair [wikipedia.org] in there somewhere, but I won't be finding out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by warGod3 (198094)
      Just needs an e-mail address and it assigns you a password to vote... broken down by era (5) and by type (i.e. DOS, SNES, Sega, etc.)
    • I wasted a lot of (my mom's) quarters on Dragon's Lair.

  • I feel like a fair portion of the museum should be dedicated to his innovations in 3D Graphics. He wasn't a video game artist, but I feel as if a lot of the technology he pioneered really helped create the modern 3D shooter.
  • The game that solidified true 3D realtime graphics as the gold standard for PC games? The game that did it BEFORE Quake? The game that was so widely sold and successful and distributed and had so many specialized SKUs created to work with early 3D accelerator APIs that the original MechWarrior2: 31st Century Combat has at least THIRTY-TWO different documented commercially released versions with multiple others suspected?

    For shame.

  • The usability is a bit strange.

    You get presented 3 games of a specific genre and you may vote one for one of those. In total you may vote for up to 80 games.

    But who did categorize those games? This is really strange.

    I'm currently looking at the combat/strategy genre in the "8-bit-Era" (ERA 2).

    The choices: "M.U.L.E.", "Little Computer People" and "Sid Meier's Pirates!"

    WTF? Each of these games were fantastic and ground-breaking. I really don't know which one to choose.

    For other categories it's much easier but

    • by Onuma (947856)
      Oddly enough, 2/3 of those choices were not displayed on my screen. So it is possible that there is a larger pool of games in each era/genre, but for some reason we are only seeing 3 at a time from said pool.
  • You have to choose 1 from 3 different games for one genre from one gaming system and from one era.

    But having to choose between "M.U.L.E.", "Little Computer People" and "Sid Meier's Pirates!" is impossible!

  • by Super Dave Osbourne (688888) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @04:41AM (#35276760)
    The need to cover Pinball history from Bagatelle in the mid/late 1800s to the integration of the bat/flipper into the modern game of pinball, along with the prohibition and gambling bans it experienced (targeted by so many politicians and mobs) to today's modern but almost extinct game is as important to the history of gaming in the world. At one point Pinball as an industry had gross revenue beyond Hollywood, world wide. Its that important, so coverage of video gaming today historically should include Pinball if for no other reason that Pinball Parlors (arcades) were the just-add-water locations needed for the huge video gaming destination during their debut in the early 80s.
    • There already is a National Pinball Museum in DC [nationalpi...museum.org], recently opened.
      • There is the Pinball Hall of Fame conceived and made possible by many donations and the mind/effort of Tim Arnold in Vegas. There is the Neptune Pinball effort in the Pacific Coast region near the Bay in California as well as others like the club in Seattle and Lyons CO. What I'm talking about is coverage as per the original article, not clubs or operations or museums (albeit they bring press, they don't bring the kind of press that goes along with slashdot).
  • My choices are (not going back far enough, and in no particular order)

    Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition. First fighting game that really got it right.

    Monkey Island 1 & 2. Took adventure games to a whole new level of awesomeness.

    Doom. Groundbreaking, though personally I prefer the scale of the levels in doom 2.

    Quake. First full 3D shooter.

    Grand Thet Auto. Never seen anything like it before. The more recent ones are more, more and much more of the same, which in kind of the point and works very well in t

    • I agree with GTA. I actually find GTA2 and Vice City to be more fun than the GTA3 and 4. GTA has become MOTS (more of the same) to me.

  • I thought I would be commenting on the lack of classic games such as Tetris or Elite (although I am), I am more annoyed by the lack of platforms, no spectrum 48, 128, 16( I had a 16k at one point, I had bought the 48k but the shop 'accidentally' gave me the wrong one), or otherwise in the '8 bit era'. C64 is in there, is it more colouful and therefore more arty than the speccy perhaps? Then of course 'Bit Wars' no Atari ST or Amiga, It seems to me that whoever is making these arbitary decisions is not only

  • NO BRAID! PHILISTINES!

    They missed the most artistic game ever :P

  • I thought I would be commenting on the lack of classic games such as Tetris or Elite (although I am), I am more annoyed by the lack of platforms, no spectrum 48, 128, 16( I had a 16k at one point, I had bought the 48k but the shop 'accidentally' gave me the wrong one), or otherwise in the '8 bit era'. C64 is in there, is it more colouful and therefore more arty than the speccy perhaps? Then of course 'Bit Wars' no Atari ST or Amiga, It seems to me that whoever is making these arbitary decisions is not onl

  • Gosh - there are so many amazing things to choose from. So many different gaming concepts and so much interesting art that really moved the entire industry forward... I'd suggest: - Duck Hunt (NES) - Blaster Master - The Legend of Zelda (NES) - Metroid (NES) - Sim City (SNES Version) - Mortal Kombat - Chrono Trigger - Donkey Kong Country - 'D' - Killer instinct (The original, ahem, 'ultra' 64 arcade version) - Final Fantasy 3, 7
  • If they look at visual effects then Dragon's Lair should be a must. Gameplay was crap, and it lasted like two years in the arcades, while lady pacman lasted 7x as much. So... are you sure effects are a good metric?
    The art in videogames lies in the interaction between man and machine abilities. Playability, creativity in the rules.
    Let's forget for a moment about atari sega or namco: producers like Williams and Gottlieb came up with more original stuff between '80 and '83 than the entire videogame industry in

  • by Martin S. (98249) <Martin DOT Spamer AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @08:57AM (#35278130) Homepage Journal

    The comments section [artofvideogames.org] is littered with pretty scathing opinions about the choices.

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:34AM (#35278364) Homepage

    Some of the games I might've voted for if they were in an Apple II category, eg. Sim City. (for the SNES? hell no) ... and Oregon Trail didn't even make the list!

    And the Mac wasn't represented, either (eg, Dark Castle)

    And text based games (there's more art than just graphics)

    And where's KC Munchkin? (Odyssey 2)

    DOS doesn't even make a showing 'til the N64 era, which means stuff like Commander Keen doesn't get credit.

    Hell, they didn't even have cabinets ... so no vectorex games, either. And I didn't see the Atari Lynx, Gameboy, or any hand helds in there.

  • They should have asked *first* everybody in the gaming arenas (the various forums dedicated to videogames) for suggestions, and *then* opening a 'general public' poll. Differently, you get what we see: an incredible mess of random videogames selected by a 'curator'...
  • Quake put the modding community into full throttle. No longer was it just level design (Doom) or pure hacks (I remember in Doom there was an overlay hack to put a red dot where you were gun was pointed). Quake allowed you to completely customize the way everything worked. Not to mention it is the first true 3D game.

    Also very disappointed to see World of Warcraft as the first (and only?) MMO on that list. Ultima Online or Everquest not on there? Come on.

  • The American Art museum has hosted neither the ruby slippers nor the puffy shirt. The American History museum houses those. The linked article got it right...submitter must have been in a rush to present this breaking news to Slashdot.
  • First off, there is ZERO mention of arcade games, which is what spawned the video game industry. Computer Space? Breakout? Gunfight? Where are the bronze or silver age arcade games? Second, the games they are featuring do not even mention other consoles of the era such as the superior (albeit poorly marketed) Bally Arcade. And third, a VAST majority of the REAL game changers are not even mentioned. Doom? Quake? Castle Wolfenstein? Karateka? Third, even if you narrow the list to popular consoles, where is po

  • The National Media Museum in Bradford has a "display" of old video games. I say display, it's better than that 'cause you can play on some of them too. Handy when the train arrives too early for the film.
  • Wizardry? Ultima II? Original Adventure? Hello???

  • Any "history" of anything related to video games should include Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior. You can't not include it, only a few franchises accomplished the amount of "hype" SF has. There more than one "reasonable budget" movie about it, and one even has a known actor, in 1994!

    Countless spin-offs, countless tournaments, countless hours spent playing it. Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo is a tournament standard, 20 years after it's release! Not any other game has had such a long real lifespan, they don'

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