For years, many gamers have argued that video games should be considered as art. Now, the Smithsonian is proving it with their video game exhibition.

Hit the jump to see more on the exhibition.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has opened up their Art of Video Games exhibition to the public, and it is amazing. As the Smithsonian says on its website, video games are “an amalgam of traditional art forms—painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling, cinematography” and they “offer artists a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences.” The exhibition itself explores forty years of home video games, starting back with the simple Atari VCS. It features video interviews with 2o different artists and game developers, large in-game screen shots, and game consoles themselves. The exhibition goes through five distinct eras of video gaming. The museum also features playable demos of Pac-ManSuper Mario BrothersThe Secret of Monkey IslandMyst, and Flower.

The museum also had a competition for the public to vote on to select games to be featured in the museum. The competition was divided into divisions of consoles and subdivisions of game type. All in all, of the 240 games nominated, only 80 were chosen. Zelda games won the adventure subdivision of every Nintendo category, starting back at the Nintendo Entertainment System. The full list of winning games can be found here.

If the reasons aren’t enough to visit, the events below would be an another reason to go:

In case you won’t be able to make it to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, you can visit the exhibition when it tours the US. The confirmed dates and locations are:

  • Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida (Oct 24, 2012–Jan 20, 2013)
  • EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington (Feb 16, 2013–May 13, 2013)
  • Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona (Jun 16, 2013–Sept 29, 2013)
  • Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York (Feb 15, 2014–May 18, 2014)
  • Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio (Jun 19. 2014–Sept 28, 2014)
  • Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Michigan (Oct 25, 2014–Jan 18, 2015)
  • Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee (Jun 6, 2015–Sept 13, 2015)
  • The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami, Florida (Oct 9, 2015–Jan 25, 2016)

So, are you exited for the Art of Video Games exhibition? Do you plan on seeing the tour in DC or any other location? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the exhibition.

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum

  • I wish I could see this! I hope it comes to Canada, I could always learn more about video games!

  • Cyberian

    I scanned through the game list and I wonder how Minecraft made it into the list game tactics game for Next generation Era.
    I like Minecraft but this seems misplaced.

    But hey, despite Era Start there is always a Zelda game listed for Ninteno console adventures 😉

  • Guest

    Why is Texas not on the tour?
    Or several other states for that matter?
    Why is Florida on there twice?

  • heroofmasks

    man i wish they where comming to my town even if they wwent to atlanta i csant go with gas prices nothing good ever comes nthey should make wax figures of myamoto and iwata

  • Hydra

    I'd heard about this a while ago because there was some controversy when Myst wasn't up for a vote (the fanbase was pleased to hear that this was because it was already going to be a playable demo). Unfortunately, all of the locations are a bit too far away to warrant going (although they're closer than the Zelda symphony).

  • Me

    (sigh) If only Memphis weren't on the other side of my state.

  • I went on the 17th, the day after it opened, and let me tell you: it was magical. So many people were wearing video game-related shirts (I feel ashamed to not have any VG-related clothing in my possession), there was a "live-action video game" in the courtyard, which was brilliant, photography is permitted, and I was not the only person taking pictures with my 3DS! Being around so many gamers (including some Japanese gamers who were visiting) at once is always a magical experience, and I am so excited for Video Games Live, which I am going to for the second time this coming Wednesday! And then there's Symphony of the Goddesses, which I'll be seeing on July 25! Best year ever.

  • Gwydion

    It's gonna be in Toledo!! In… 2014… Man, I hope I remember by then, lol. Sounds like a really fun exhibit!

  • Link and Cuccos

    I'm so using my free plane ticket for this! I must see the exhibit!

  • Link and Cuccos

    I'm so using my free plane ticket for this! I must see the exhibition!

  • Sanity's_Theif

    This is cool but I would've changed a few inclusions

    Sega Genesis: Sonic CD
    SNES: Donkey Kong Country(the art&graphics were amazing for the time)

    N64: Majora's Mask (Liked the more colorful artwork better)

  • April

    Yay! We’re just a few hours away from DC. Hubby and I will be going in the end of April so we can hear the symphony, too! Excited!!

  • clubchloe1

    OMG! My 2 Favorite games of all time made it on the list! Pikmin 2 (Just any Pikmin game that made it on the list made me happy) and Okami, I LOVE that game, it has great art direction (I mean it is BEAUTIFUL), and I'm glad that Wind Waker made it on the list too, that game people don't like for whatever reason, even though it is one of my Favorite Zelda games.

  • PeacefullyCrazy

    This is what gamers of all genres have been waiting for.

  • art1st4786

    I'm heading up there in May to see it as a celebration of my graduation! I wrote about this exhibition for my masters capstone paper, which defends video games as art using art theory and using exhibitions to back up my claims. I can't wait to see it!

  • Triforcismist

    I sent in the tip about this news story. Where's my thanks and credit that was promised in the article?

    • I've tipped a few things, too, and I have never been credited. No idea where you were promised, but it's not a huge deal. Just be glad your tip was taken and used!

  • Paul

    Los Angeles never gets anything good…Maybe except the Zelda 25th Anniversary Concert premiere. I wish this exhibition comes to Los Angeles.

    • Strangely, nothing ever comes to Philadelphia either. Just the fact that Symphony of the Goddesses is coming directly to Philly was a (very pleasant) surprise. Video Games Live has never come to Philly before.

  • C3POtheD

    I'm a member of the Gamer Symphony Orchestra! This is going to be so much fun performing!

    • You guys are amazing! You should perform "Hyrulian Highlands."

      • C3POtheD

        We actually are performing Hyrulian Highlands!

  • I went there the 2nd day it came out! It was great! Do as much as you can to go!

    • Whoa. That's the day I went! Maybe we saw each other….

  • TJ Gv

    Memphis, damn right

  • Will be seeing this at the EMP in Seattle this weekend!