September 26, 2012

The Art of Video Games: Why you should see it.

Part of the reason I haven't posted in what seems like forever (have you missed me?) is because I was getting ready for a trip to the D.C. area to see family there with Mystic.  He met some family there for the first time and it went great!  But we also wanted to go to D.C. to see The Art of Video Games, which is only at the American Art  Museum until September 30th.  And it was amazing.

Above is the screen you could see on your way in.  A video which showed a bunch of the video games featured in the section.  It was a small three room exhibit the power of it was immediate. 

The artwork that helped with development was in the first room, with some great quotes from developers talking about it's artistic qualities.  You see here we saw some great art from the first days of Starcraft.  There was also some comparisons to the animation process.

After that you went into a room where five legendary games were available to play: Pacman, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.  You could only play a little bit of each, but it was still a great way to understand what those games were about and to get a taste as to what people saw in them.  

Finally you were able to see the history of the games and their types from console to console.  The genres were divided into adventure, action, target and tactics.  Each console would show an example of each genre and how it changed and evolved as a visual and tactile storytelling device with artistic choices in development made all throughout the way.  

I got really emotional seeing it.  This is a hobby that is dear to my heart, that I play because of it's artistic merits and great narratives as well as for escapism.  It has been too long compared with other children's toys.  At this point, we took a step ahead in gaming to comparing it was a medium similar to books and film, or dare I say a combination of the two.  It was touching to see a serious take on the art in the medium, and to see people happy to learn about it.  I had to wipe away tears as I was reading serious takes on games I grew up with like Sim City and Star Fox, and finally seeing some of my current favorites being celebrated, including Mass Effect 2.  

The Art of Video Games is only at the American Museum of Art until the 30th, but as you can see it could be coming somewhere closer to you in the next few years.  See it.  Experience it.  As a gamer, it'll make your hobby proud.  As a non-gamer, you can see why adults pursue these virtual stories.  

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