It’s-a-Mario! MoMA Adds Video Games To Their Collection of Fine Art

Those students living in the NYU Game Center with a half a bag of stale Cheetos, a liter of Diet Coke and developing pre-mature carpal tunnel (read: me) will be pleased to know that they are not entirely wasting their college experience. The New York TImes reported that, last Thursday, Nov. 29, MoMA announced that it had acquired the first 14 titles in a planned collection of 40 classic video games.

For museums, video games are the new vampires. This past fall the Smithsonian produced a collection of 80 titles in an exhibit called “The Art of Video Games.” This is a new category for MoMA, and will be on display in the Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013. It will include games like Pac-Man, Myst (the hardest game ever, followed by Riven), Tetris, SimCity, Pong, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and more. The Huffington Post noted that each game has been selected as an outstanding example of art and interaction design.

According to senior curator in the museum’s department of architecture and design, Paola Antonelli, MoMA also looked for historical and cultural relevance, functional and structural soundness, innovative approaches to technology, aesthetic expression, and a synthesis of materials and techniques. The museum hopes to acquire games like Minecraft and Spacewar! in the future.

Art snobs and historians may question this new addition to a museum that proclaims to preserve and display fine modern art, but Antonelli believes that the games have a right to be called art. Antonelli added, “But they are also design, and a design approach is what we chose for this new foray into this universe.” So maybe, in a way, the NYU gamers could argue that in the hours they put into yelling at their screen through their headsets, they are actually studying fine art.

[Image via]

Editor’s Note: We apologize to anyone offended by Julia’s joking characterization of the great folks who make NYU’s game center the unique place that it is. 



11 Comments

  • Reynaldo Vargas
    December 6, 2012

    This is a very narrow viewpoint of gamers, games and their meaning to culture.
    I think you should have done research on the NYU Game Center before judging our craft and the audience of our craft.

  • Thomas P.
    December 6, 2012

    As a student of the NYU Game Center, I find this extremely narrow minded and offensive. The NYU Game Center is an extremely well respected establishment where students from all different academic backgrounds can come together and celebrate games as a creative practice. There are courses in design, production, and the study of games as an aesthetic and cultural form. So when “NYU gamers” are “wasting their college experience”, they are actually for the most part gaining more insight into a huge social trend. Because those students “screaming at screens” know how digital economies and the constantly changing social market work and how to create an artificial space where people invest hours and money into. There is so much that goes into creating games that the students of the Game Center aren’t all cheeto-earting diet coke-drinking losers. We have marketing majors, computer programmers, teachers, psychologists, design students, and so much more. I find it funny how this article clearly articulates the growing respect for games as art, and yet you find a need to immaturely disrespect the students who are in fact studying this in theory and in practice.

  • Avery Jones
    December 6, 2012

    Yeah let’s pick on the nerds; that’ll make readers like us. It’s usually good to bookend a piece with offensive stereotypes.

    The ignorance on display here is shameful. The NYU Game Center offers an MFA in Game Design. Do your research. It’s not just an arcade where the nerds hang out. (While it is also that, which is totally awesome!) Perhaps you should also do some research into the creative output (both in terms of works and students now working professionally in the field) before you dismiss an entire form and discipline.

  • Lauren J
    December 6, 2012

    If this writer wants to continue pursuing her journalism career she has to realize getting cheap laughs by making fun of another demographic isn’t going to do it. Don’t stereotype people so blatantly and do more research before making such extreme conclusions. We’re not in middle school any more- we don’t have to judge and make fun of people who have different interests.

  • Julia Musto
    December 6, 2012

    I did not mean to pick on or offend any “demographic” when I wrote this article.

    Personally, I’ve been known to eat cheetos and yell at people while playing Call Of Duty at 2 am, so I was just speaking from experience and making fun of myself.

    I know little to nothing about the Game Center, and was writing with the intention and the hope that readers would take it for what it was–a parody of college life.

  • Sara M
    December 6, 2012

    Even if the writer did not intend to offend anyone she did and not just “gamers”. I do not fall under this category but as an NYU alum find this poorly written article with very faint scholarly attributes an embarrassment to the works NYU publishes. Perhaps our writers should spend a little more time cultivating their art of journalism before they attempt to dissect other art forms.

  • Jesse Fuchs
    December 6, 2012

    This isn’t a parody. A parody has a formal point. This was just reflexive snark.

  • John Phillips
    December 6, 2012

    If I said something like

    “So maybe, in a way, the NYU [journalists] could argue that in the hours they put into [writing puff pieces], they are actually studying [serious journalism].”

    I doubt anyone would take it as a “parody of college life”. They would take it at face value, as a rude generalization based on stereotypes, and would rightly take offense, because it is objectively offensive.

  • Nicole Leffel
    December 6, 2012

    Oh c’mon Game Center kids. This not a wildly inaccurate depiction of the Open Library. I’ve been turned off from the area by screaming dudes more than a few times and I know better. Even if the folks making all the noise aren’t actually the ones taking the Game Center courses, you wouldn’t know that at a glance. If that was your only experience with the NYU Game Center you might be inclined to take a jab too.

    For a news piece this isn’t bad, and I laughed at “For museums, video games are the new vampires.” Though, and I’m not sure whether NYU Local has covered it already or not, you should check out the lecture series. You’ll quickly discover some of the major differences between “gamers” and “game designers” – the latter tends to be more self-conscious about screaming at computer screens in mixed company.

    As for actually “studying fine art”? THAT one is a little too on the nose since the NYU Game Center has a nascent Master of Fine Arts program that’s wrapping its first semester right now. Check it out.

  • Grant Reid
    December 6, 2012

    We have to remember that expectations have been made about the the culture around playing video games and the results are overwhelmingly hostile. The Game Center has taken tremendous strides in utilizing the Open Library as a space where these expectations are grappled with, by players and even people passing by.

    Looking at experiments like League of Learners, Playtest Nights, Magic Events, CO-OP and Public Playtesting, there’s an obvious push to create a culture of players that are critical and thoughtful of the games they’re playing, all while advocating for an inclusive and friendly environment. And honestly, I think it’s one of the strongest tools the Game Center has and couldn’t be more excited that they’re actually taking advantage of the space.

    But it’s not always the case that the Library succeeds in this. I can personally attest to moments over the last few years that I felt anxious to join in LoL matches, Melee rounds, or merely taking a station thinking that people around me would judge my ability as a player. And I don’t think I’m alone here. Improving this culture is a process, and one I know the Game Center is on board to tackle head-on.

    While I get that it’s easy to find this material offensive (especially given the public effort put into grappling with this kind of player culture and the private effort to legitimize play and game development within the school at large), we should make sure to just take a step back and just look at the bigger picture before thrashing back at someone.

  • Caroline Liddick
    December 6, 2012

    “I know little to nothing about the Game Center.”

    …Then why did you choose to include those offensive stereotypes in the article? Apologies aside, this piece would’ve been fine without the biting intro and outro.

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