Review: The Art of Video Games

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If you ever wanted to indulge in video games while maintaining a highbrow facade, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Art of Video Games exhibit is your dream come true.  The exhibit, housed on the third floor of the main building at 8th and F Streets, N.W. in Washington, DC, seeks to illustrate how the design decisions for some of the most popular video games were made.

An online poll, held in 2011, determined the eighty video games that would be the focus of the exhibit.  The featured video games are categorized into five eras (Start, 8-bit, Bitwars, Transition, and Next Generation) and four genres (Action, Target, Adventure, and Tactics).  The exhibit includes conceptual renderings of video game characters, interactive stations for the twenty consoles the featured games were played on, and five stations were video games can be played, including Pac-man and Super Mario Bros.

Even if graphical user interfaces don’t interest you, anyone can appreciate the artistry involved in the creation of these video games.  The evolution of video games over the last forty years is astounding, though I’m a bit partial to Super NES’ SimCity.  The exhibit is open everyday from 11:30 AM to 7 PM through September 30.  It’s also camera-friendly.