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MoMA to add 14 games to permanent collection

Thursday, 29th November 2012 22:20 GMT By Brenna Hillier

New York’s Museum of Modern Art, one of the most respected gallery spaces in the world, has launched an endeavour to permanently showcase a collection of 40 video games.

MoMA announced a list of 14 initial games which will be installed “for your delight” in the Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013. The exhibition will later grow to include 40 games which MoMA describes as the “seedbed” for “a new category of artworks in MoMA’s collection that we hope will grow in the future”.

“Are video games art? They sure are,” the museum’s announcement said, lending the weight of mainstream culture’s most treasured cultural institutions to debates over the legitimacy of games as an artistic media, but also noting that curators used a “design approach” in selecting featured titles.

“The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design,” the statement said. “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 behaviour – that pertain to interaction design.”

The list of games was chosen with assistance from scholars, digital conservation and legal experts, historians and critics.

“Because of the tight filter we apply to any category of objects in MoMA’s collection, our selection does not include some immensely popular video games that might have seemed like no-brainers to video game historians,” the announcement added.

Click through the link above for further reading on selection criteria and how MoMA intends to showcase games like Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress, which are difficult to communicate in short viewing sessions.

The first 14 titles to be showcased are:

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Tetris (1984)
  • Another World (1991)
  • Myst (1993)
  • SimCity 2000 (1994)
  • vib-ribbon (1999)
  • The Sims (2000)
  • Katamari Damacy (2004)vEVE Online (2003)
  • Dwarf Fortress (2006)
  • Portal (2007)
  • flOw (2006)
  • Passage (2008)
  • Canabalt (2009)

Later, the museum hopes to add:

  • 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)
  • Minecraft (2011)

Thanks, Kotaku.

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3 Comments

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  1. KAP

    They have Animal Crossing, and not have Journey?! or Flower….. wow..

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Telepathic.Geometry

    Yeah, I’d have thought for something like this, Flower, Journey, Rez and Galaxy Wars 2 would be no-brainers, as well as maybe Pixeljunk Shooter 1 and 2 and games like that…

    #2 1 year ago
  3. TD_Monstrous69

    @1, my thoughts exactly. But none the less, a good list (which would be even better with Journey).

    #3 1 year ago