Anyway, what can you find inside the exhibit?
Inside, you can find a little introductory hallway. It has the big video screen of familiar trailers playing with games from multiple eras, a brief history, and a really great display showing a variety of mechanics throughout gaming history. Like flight and climbing, for example. How far we've come since Space Invaders and climbing Donkey Kong's ladders.
|The entrance to the exhibit. (Photos by Matt Sablan)|
The next room has a wall of gaming history, from the pre-NES era all the way to, I believe, the PS3. Each of the systems there has a brief write up and some games there that really defined the system. You can quibble on some of them, but in general, they were right on.
|Even had a Dreamcast, which was before its time.|
Another area they briefly touched on, with some concept art from games, but which if they had had more space I would've found interesting, would be in the art that goes into making video games. For example, on several wikis (like here), you have concept art for characters. I would have been interested in seeing more of that, but space is a real limitation. Plus, you can already find a lot of that stuff on the internet.
I was also impressed with their faces of gamers exhibit. It was kind of interesting to see, and I saw a lot of people stopping to watch the images rotate. I didn't stay for long there though.
|Quite possibly the best system of its (or any) age.|
|Do you see what I did there?|
Plenty of people more qualified than me have written histories of video games. I think several of them have taken on a more personal story than merely a recounting of the history, with this one being my favorite. I think video games tell us about ourselves, and I think like any art exhibit, if you really go there with the intent to learn something, you come away with a better understanding of yourself. Even, if for me, it was just realizing I can still feel an element of wonder when jumping onto turtles.
Come back later this week when I'll post a few videos and ramble a bit more about art. Either way, now that the Smithsonian seems to think that video games are art, will they maybe receive some art funding?
While you're there, check this out.
|Electronic Superhighway by Nam June Paik.|