The Art of Video Games, one of the first exhibits to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies, has arrived at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum featuring some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers.
It has been forty years since the introduction of the first home video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. Today, video games are a prevalent and increasingly expressive medium within modern society. Encompassing several traditional art forms — painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling, cinematography — video games give artists unprecedented methods of communicating with and engaging audiences.
The Art of Video Games focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation. Developments in hardware and software, as well as the advent of the internet, have given artists an ever widening palette of tools with which to create, while common gameplay elements can be seen throughout.
Games are presented through still images and video footage,including video interviews with twenty developers and artists, large prints of in-game screenshots, and historic game consoles.
Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition.
Video games today are everywhere, from mobile phones to PlayStations, and everyone is playing. While many people see them as a fun diversion, a way to unwind or just connect with friends, for me, video games have always represented much more than they seem on the surface. Since I first started learning to program games in the 1970s at the age of 9, I have always seen them as a reflection of the people who create them. As video games are truly the collision of art and science, I believe that they have risen to become one of the most significant and important art forms at our disposal. An art form that enables the coding of ideas, intent, and perspective into a digital world that can speak to, be poked at and pushed against by others.
The most pivotal moment for me, and one that cemented my love of video games forever, was when I received my Commodore VIC-20 computer on Christmas morning in 1980. This machine, with its 5K of memory (note: 12.8 times smaller than the code it takes to create the Internet Explorer icon!), seemed to be as close to “magic” as I could possibly imagine. I knew that if I learned how to speak to it and understand its capabilities, I could create any story, world or adventure I wanted! It represented a boundless universe of expression that existed at the end of my fingertips. I am excited to share my lifelong passion and involvement with video games through The Art of Video Games exhibition, and hope that those who come to experience it, find the wonder, beauty and humanity that video games encompass and reflect!
Chris Melissinos, Curator, The Art of Video Games
FEATURED VIDEO GAMES
Eighty games, selected with the help of the public, demonstrate the evolution of the medium.
ERA 1: START!! (1970s – Early 1980s)
ERA 2: 8-BIT (1983-1989)
Nintendo Entertainment System
SEGA Master System
ERA 3: BIT WARS! (1989-1994)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
ERA 4: TRANSITION (1995-2002)
ERA 5: NEXT GENERATION (2003-Present)
Microsoft XBox 360
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Action), Flower (Target), Heavy Rain (Adventure), Brütal Legend (Tactics)
The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect
A companion book, The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect, accompanies the exhibition.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES
Friday, January 29, 2:30-5:30pm: Kick off for Games Jam Contestants
Wednesday, March, 5-7 pm: Groovy Games
Wednesday, March 9, 3–5 pm Panel Discussion: Gaming the System
Thursday, March 10, 6:30–7:3pm Zelda Symphony
Saturday, April 16, 12–4 pm Frost Family Day: Arcade Invades!
MOVIES ON THE LAWN
Films Inspired by Video Games
Thursday, January 21, 7:30 pm, Tron (1982)
Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 pm, Wreck-It-Ralph (2012)
Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 pm, Super Mario Bros (1993)