The Art of Video Games Smithsonian Exhibit

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Apr 3, 2003
    The Smithsonian is setting up a 5-era exhibit for video games, and hoi polloi gets to vote for what makes it in. Wisely it's been split into eras so it's not just Halo and Call of Duty. Ausir says the candidates of interest to us include Wasteland in Era 2, Fallout in Era 4 and Fallout 3 in Era 5.
     
  2. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    The poll doesn't seem to be working properly...
     
  3. Guiltyofbeingtrite

    Guiltyofbeingtrite Vault Dweller

    751
    Oct 13, 2008
    Yea, I think it's getting a lot more traffic than they anticipated, being that the museum is half a mile from my office I'll be sure to post pictures when it opens.

    edit: drats, in a year.
     
  4. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    Actually, Fallout is in era 4, not 3.
     
  5. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Apr 3, 2003
    It's not exactly of high-interest. They crammed the golden era of cRPGs full of consoles meaning we're stuck with a bunch of jRPGs. Look at this, man.

    Imagine an exhibit meant to teach people the art and history of video games with Fallout 3 and Mass Effect 2, but with no Gold Box cRPGs, no Planescape: Torment, no Ultima VII, no Might and Magic titles, no Eye of the Beholder titles.

    Too little thought was spent on the candidate list if you ask me. But whatevz, as long as the kiddies get to vote on Mass Effect and Halo they won't complain. Who even remembers anything from before Era 5? Not a lot of people.

    Just leave it and it'll load eventually.
     
  6. frosty_theaussie

    frosty_theaussie Still Mildly Glowing

    270
    Nov 22, 2003
    Sucks that you have to choose between Fallout and Grim Fandango.
     
  7. Idiotfool

    Idiotfool Still Mildly Glowing

    220
    Apr 12, 2007
    Too early to include Fallout 3, I think. I don't see it influencing many future titles, nor is it really all that "artistic". Even with Morrowind, the only games it influenced are other Bethesda titles, and that's only loosely...
     
  8. Little Robot

    Little Robot sup Orderite

    Sep 29, 2010
    That's really cool, I wish that I could go see this exhibit.

    It's interesting that it seems to focus on home video games, specifically-- especially since the time period covers arcade games as well as home systems. Many arcade games had a lot of art put into the machine itself as well as the games, so that would be a cool exhibit to see.
     
  9. Fallout is a better game than Grim Fandango, but vote from an "Artistic perspective".

    Grim Fandango is more art than Fallout.


    If people are going to take the medium seriously as an art form then you have to show them the correct aspects.
     
  10. TheRatKing

    TheRatKing Vault Dweller

    702
    Oct 7, 2008

    slightly On Topic:
    ahh yes the Grim Fandango vs. Fallout debate rages on as usual I see.

    I of course opt to roam the wasteland in a pimped out bone wagon.

    Edit: after looking through the site in a bit more detail, I can now say that I think this idea is just stupid. First of all gathering a list of all candidates is hard, and the choices reflect that (mostly what BN said, along with many titles being placed in wrong genres).

    I think a better idea would be to just...you know... do the research. It isn't hard to find the most important important (artistically or otherwise) games of the past few decades.

    anything would work better than an online poll
     
  11. Polls, Reality shows, and other illusions of involvement in the processes of society are the future mang!
     
  12. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    @BN: Well, it's an exhibition of art more than anything else. IMO FO1/2 weren't that great from an artistic perspective. Had great music and plot, but nothing great in terms of visuals/artwork that I'm familiar with. Planescape, on the other hand... Although even a lot of Planescape stuff will look odd outside the context of the game.

    EDIT: Boy, did they pick the most boring picture ever to represent Baldur's Gate. And yep, PS:T isn't even on the list.
     
  13. TheRatKing

    TheRatKing Vault Dweller

    702
    Oct 7, 2008
    PS:T had some great visuals, especially when you got to the higher tier spells.

    The best art in the game was far from visual based though. The fact that it had characters of any depth makes it lead well ahead of many many games on the site.
     
  14. Planescape would be a hard game to present at an art exhibit, unless you lock viewers in a dark room, feed them ritalin, and force them to play the game to the ending
     
  15. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    @Ratking: Well, I know that, same for all RPGs from that period, but PS:T actually had great art to back it up. The loading screen design alone is worth a lot.

    Why games like CoD or Epic Mickey are even on the list baffles me. I'm guessing the publishers of those games are sponsoring the event ;) And out of ALL FF games from the 4th era, they had to choose FFVII and FFT, the two ugliest FF games ever made (well FFT isn's so much ugly as visually boring with the oppressively persistent green-brown palette). A nod to the fanboys more than anything else.

    Aand, not a single game on PC in era 5 that I've played and thought to be great artistically (well, maybe Portal, but only marginally). Borderlands, Divinity 2, Crysis, Sublustrum, Turgor (and I could go on) deserve to be on the list a lot more than the mainstream games with generic VG art that are on the list. Applies to many other consoles/periods as well - it looks like they're just advertising games from a few big companies (that probably contrubuted funds - would explain why there isn't a single Capcom game on the list), and just have a few random indie games thrown in to appear "comprehensive".
     
  16. Diospyros

    Diospyros First time out of the vault

    88
    Jul 15, 2008
    I hate that I have to choose between Fallout and Baldur's Gate II. As much as I love Fallout, I think BGII was the greatest RPG ever made so I had to vote for it.

    I did enjoy seeing Intellivision games in Era 1. That was my very first introduction into gaming as a kid and it brought back a lot of memories.

    Overall I agree that too little thought was put into the choices.
     
  17. sea

    sea Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 5, 2009
    I appreciate this exhibit, I really do, but there are a lot of problems with the way the information is being presented and voted on. I'm not going to lie, this reads like an attempt to gain some relevancy points with the younger generation, but the shallowness of the gesture shows through in how sloppily and ill-conceived the process is.

    For starters, popularity is never a good metric to determine historical relevance or success. Some of the most influential and fondly-remembered games of all time didn't sell as many copies as the later titles that borrowed from them. Putting, say, BioShock on this list but ignoring System Shock 2 would be an utter crime.

    Second, there really needs to be some sort of genre separation. Half-Life is amazing, but I don't think it's the best game from its time period; despite that, I shouldn't have to decide between it and something like Fallout. Seeing games go ignored simply because people had to choose between a few of them isn't fair to the particularities of the medium.

    Third, there aren't enough eras on display here. I think it's silly to lump in the beginning of the 2000s with the end of the 2000s; games have undergone some major, major changes since then, some for the better and some for worse. The approaches taken to design and production have resulted in very, very different experiences and having just "era 5" doesn't acknowledge that.

    Fourth, and my most severe complaint, is that there is an implicit hierarchy in the way that these games are being framed. While I don't know exactly how the exhibit will turn out in the end, the way it's being posed as of now suggests continual growth and improvement. While to some degree that's true, I don't think it's at all right to imply that newer games are better than older games simply by virtue of being made in a time period where design has become a far more concrete discipline. This is an inherent problem with how we understand numbers (the bigger, the better), and the Smithsonian had damn well better do their best to get around it.
     
  18. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    ^ One point you're missing, people are supposed to vote on the ART, not how GOOD the games were. There's a plenty of good games with bland art.
     
  19. sea

    sea Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 5, 2009
    This gets down to the question of whether game mechanics can constitute art, or if we're just talking about visuals, sound and other purely aesthetic qualities. The exhibit does mention design, but it's a little unclear precisely what they mean by that. It could mean actual game design, and frankly, I'd assume that it has to, otherwise they'd be being rather disingenuous in that they'd be denying the artistic merits of games beyond simple aesthetics, something that I'm quite sure they don't do for other media.

    We all know it's a popularity contest anyway (gamers themselves will ensure as much), but you're right: they really do need to clarify things better.
     
  20. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    There is. You can vote for 1 game out of each of 4 loosely defined genres.