MoMA's New Masterpiece: Pac-Man

Museum acquires 14 video games, will display them in gallery
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2012 2:10 PM CST
MoMA's New Masterpiece: Pac-Man
A screenshot from the first Pac-Man game.   (Museum of Modern Art)

Are video games art? "They sure are," writes Museum of Modern Art senior curator Paola Antonelli in a blog post today, announcing that the museum has acquired 14 video games spanning much of the history of the form for display in its prestigious galleries. Nor is this a one-time gimmick; the museum has a wish-list of 40 games it hopes to eventually add to its collection.

While Antonelli believes the games are art, she says that the museum is approaching them as design objects, not unlike its collection of notable chairs, cars, and fonts. It's looking for "a combination of historical and cultural relevance, aesthetic expression," innovation, and more, and it's being picky. "Our selection does not include some immensely popular video games that might have seemed like no-brainers to video game historians," she warns. The initial wave of 14 will be on display—and playable in the gallery—in March. Here's what it picked:

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Tetris (1984)
  • Another World (1991)
  • Myst (1993)
  • SimCity 2000 (1994)
  • vib-robbon (1999)
  • The Sims (2000)
  • EVE Online (2003)
  • Katamari Damacy (2004)
  • Dwarf Fortress (2006)
  • Portal (2007)
  • flOw (2006)
  • Passage (2008)
  • Canabalt (2009)

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