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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thoughts on The Art of Video Games exhibit in Toledo

I recently stopped by The Art of Video Games exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, which is currently on display until Sept. 28. The Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition heavily explores how far video games have come as an artistic medium, from 1980's Space Invaders to 2009's Flower.

It's a small exhibit, taking patrons on a brief history through the different eras of video games. Each era is separated into four different genres for each console - Target, Adventure, Action, and Tactics - with one game representing each genre. Prior to its creation, the public was invited to vote on their favorite games to be featured, and I think they mostly got it right. There's a wonderful variety of game's showcased, like Pac-Man (Era 1), The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. 3 (Era 2), Earthworm Jim and SimCity (Era 3), Shenmue and Fallout (Era 4), and Okami and Pikmin 2 (Era 5). At each console stop, patrons can select a genre to watch a short video about the game.

Of course, a video game exhibit needs to have playable games, and five are available to play: Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower. Both kids and adults were having fun here.

However, I wasn't inside it for very long. As a lifelong gamer, I didn't really learn or see anything new, and you'll likely find most of what's on display on YouTube or elsewhere on the Internet. Still, it's a fun and colorful exhibit that's set up wonderfully for those who don't follow the video game scene. It was crowded, and the kids were enjoying themselves. I constantly heard the older crowd comment how how "cool" Pitfall graphics were back in the day. For that, the exhibit did its job.

Now that we're in a new generation with Wii U, Xbox One and PS4, the exhibit could be updated in the future to show the likes of these newer games. If this is done, Transistor definitely has to be in it.

For those not wanting to travel to Toledo to see The Art of Video Games, the Flint Institute of Arts will showcase it Oct. 26, 2014 through Jan. 18, 2015. It is located at 1120 E. Kearsley St. in Flint.

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