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Are “Halo 3” and “Super Mario Bros.” Works of Art?


Who knew “Doom II” was in the same league as the “Mona Lisa”? The Art of Video Games, a new exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum considers the artistic appeal of “Tomb Raider,” “Mass Effect 2” and other gaming greats.


Created “to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium,” The Art of Video Games takes a serious look at this popular, yet much-maligned industry (egghead Roger Ebert once famously declared that “videogames can never be art.”) This exhibition aims to elevate gaming to something more than an excuse for sitting around and eating Doritos.

The Art of Video Games, which runs from March 16 through September 30, 2012 in Washington, D.C., focuses on “on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies” in games as diverse as “The Legend of Zelda,” “BioShock,” and “Donkey Kong,” Eighty games from twenty different gaming systems are presented with video, still images, prints of in-game screen shots and historic game consoles. It also features playable games like “Pac-Man,” “Super Mario Brothers,” and “Myst.” To narrow a group of 240 video games to these 80 jaw-dropping beauties, The Smithsonian asked the public to vote. Over 3.76 million votes were cast from people in 74 countries.

After its time in Washington, D.C, the exhibit will travel to ten other U.S. cities to please fellow gaming geeks across the nation. The Art of Video Games will hit up cities like Seattle, Memphis and Miami. If you think “SimCity” is just as striking as “Starry Night,” you should probably check it out.

About John Brhel

John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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