Smithsonian wants your help to choose video games exhibits

Posted by Kate Taylor

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is to hold its first exhibition of video games - and is asking the public to vote on what should be included.

Due to open in March next year and run until September, the exhibition will focus on how games have evolved over the last forty years.

"The exhibition will feature some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe," say the organizers.

"It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training."

But the details are by no means set in stone. The museum is asking members of the public to help decide what should be included, asking them to choose 80 games from a pool of 240.

Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and a collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition, and is looking for games that demonstrate graphic appeal, artistic merit and innovative game design.

The exhibition will feature still images and video footage of most games, although five will be available for visitors to play for a few minutes — Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and World of Warcraft.

There will also be video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles.

But some will be disappointed. There are no RPG, fighting, racing or MMOG games on the list, nor any arcade or handheld games.

"We considered the size of the museum’s galleries that will house the exhibition, as well as the time that visitors will need to experience the content," say the organisers.

"The 20 selected systems represent significant points in time for the eras described. Hopefully this will be the first exhibition of many that explore the medium of video games."

Users can vote until April 7, here.