Who would of thought that videogames would ever become part of a famous museum? And not just any museum. Fourteen classic games have made their way up to the well renowned and celebrated Museum of Modern Art – the MoMa – in New York City! I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty fucking cool. It takes great artistry to develop a successful videogame and MoMA’s senior curator Paola Antonelli believes it’s time for people appreciate videogame art. Now available for your viewing pleasure at the MoMA’s Applied Design exhibition, the Philip Johnson Galleries features titles like Pac-Man, Tetris, and The Sims. However, Antonelli’s decision has not been welcomed with open arms by many. There was even an article titled, “Sorry MoMA, video games are not art.” But to all those I have one thing to say: go fuck yourselves.
“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 behavior—that pertain to interaction design.” – Paola Antonelli
The way Antonelli has dissected videogame art is outstanding. Antonelli’s has specific criteria to which video games are being scrutinized. Not only taking into consideration the obvious like a game’s aesthetics, but also the aspects of spatial evolution, intervals of emotional gratification, and futuristic behavioral expectations of the players are considered. She’s not randomly handpicking games or adding displays of the most famouse videogames. Her vision inspires to learn about videogames whether you’re immerse in the gaming culture or not. Her incorporation of art of videogame design to the MoMA gives the world the opportunity of a lifetime to admire and gain understanding of video games – which involve more than “just being a pretty picture” and “pushing buttons.”
Apart from displaying printouts frames of the videogames that make the cut, Antonelli and her team are also working on obtaining each of the displayed games’ softwares in case the technology becomes obsolete and no longer available. This is obviously a well thought out project and it’s being taken seriously. So I’m not really going to waste my time reading about article that are basically shitting on Antonelli’s modern view of what art is allowed to be. Especially when it’s not, by not means, discrediting or demeaning other mediums of art. So to those who are having a fit, take a chill pill and appreciate what video game software has bring to the table. The same way you enjoy some art styles over others, you can do the same with video game design without discrediting it. At least give it a try before judging.
I just added visiting MoMA to my bucket list. Especially when it’s rumored that Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Chrono Trigger, and the infamous celphone game Snake will be added to the exhibition. What are your thoughts? See you around!