An article I wrote for Electronic Products.
Play 14 classic video games in MoMA’s interactive gallery
How often do you get to go into a museum and actually touch the art that’s on display? The Modern Museum of Art recently added 14 classic video games to their collection, and visitors are encouraged to express their artistic sides and play them.
While browsing the collection of objects in the Applied Design installation in The Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries, you’ll come across features representing contemporary design, such as dynamic visualizations, and 3D-printed furniture and bowls, but the most surprising works of art on display are the 14 classic video games.
While to some, having The Sims housed under the same roof as Vincent Van Gogh’s respected paintings may seem a bit unacceptable, MoMA considers the games expressions of art and design, even masterpieces, as they fuel creativity and provide inspiration.
One step into the exhibit’s video game collection and you’ll find yourself immersed in the worlds of Pac-Man,Tetris, and SimCity 2000. Each game is playable for one level or round.
MoMA plans to have at least 40 titles displayed in the installation over the next few years, including other well-known classics like Pong, Snake, and Asteroids. To add more of a twist, the museum also has other popular, interactive games in mind, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda.
The goal of Applied Design is to show that it doesn’t take much to transport your imagination elsewhere, whether it’s through marveling at an abstract painting, wondering how that scultpure was made, or helping Pac-Man out of a jam while still being able to eat that banana. Video games are capable of enhancing our cognitive capability, and like anything artistic, they color our imaginations.
To see video games as functional objects of art at MoMA, make the trip to Manhattan before January 31, 2014. Bring an open mind and be ready to get your game on.