Graphics have played a huge part of videogames since we moved past the days of PONG. At the Smithsonian, the Art of Videogames is currently on display. This amazing exhibition was reviewed by The Verge (Read the full review here).
Well, why not? If video games are art, the same as any other form, then it would seem obvious that they belong in museums alongside traditional works. Admittedly, video games haven’t been around long compared to traditional forms of art, at least not enough for there to be a widespread representation of the medium in the museum community. Some might argue that there still isn’t a serious conversation about video game art happening, as The Art of Video Games doesn’t talk back much to the viewer or take risks with its point of view. There is no overriding thesis here except for perhaps the obvious notion that games are a new and unique kind of art. As such, it doesn’t prompt many critical questions about the cultural or societal role of video games, or really explore the boundaries that decide what makes a game art as opposed to, say, mere entertainment. But The Art of Video Games at least brings the language of the medium into the discussion for everyone. And that’s exactly what guest curator Chris Melissinos wants.
While NHL games may not be as iconic as Mario or Sonic, the graphics play a big part of the legacy of sports games. The fat, medium and thing guys in the original NES Hockey have lasted over 20 years and made their way into art and been an oft used example of 8-Bit art.
The Art of Videogames at the Smithsonian won’t last long, so get there if you can.