Museum of Modern Art Starts Video Game Collection; Acquires Myst, Pac-Man, and More

By Jason Fitzpatrick on December 3rd, 2012

The Museum of Modern Art is weighing in on the video-games-as-art debate by starting a collection of iconic video games and putting them up for public display. Read on to see what games are included in the initial batch and the MoMA’s reasons behind starting a video game collection.

Although the MoMA is slated to grow to over 40 titles, the seed batch is 14 titles including: Pac-Man, Tetris, Sim City 2000, Myst, Portal, and Dwarf Fortress. In the announcement they explain the motivation for building a video game collection:

Are video games art? They sure are, but they are also design, and a design approach is what we chose for this new foray into this universe. The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design—a field that MoMA has already explored and collected extensively, and one of the most important and oft-discussed expressions of contemporary design creativity. Our criteria, therefore, emphasize not only the visual quality and aesthetic experience of each game, but also the many other aspects—from the elegance of the code to the design of the player’s behavior—that pertain to interaction design. In order to develop an even stronger curatorial stance, over the past year and a half we have sought the advice of scholars, digital conservation and legal experts, historians, and critics, all of whom helped us refine not only the criteria and the wish list, but also the issues of acquisition, display, and conservation of digital artifacts that are made even more complex by the games’ interactive nature. This acquisition allows the Museum to study, preserve, and exhibit video games as part of its Architecture and Design collection.

The above quote is only a small snippet of a much lengthier look at the benefits of examining and preserving video games, hit up the link below to check out the full post including future titles the MoMA would like to include in their archive.

Video Games: 14 in the Collection, for Starters [Inside/Out]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/3/12
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