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.
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.