In February, the Smithsonian American Art Museum invited people to vote on a poll to determine which games would represent each era in the history of video games in an exhibit depicting the evolution in video games as an artistic medium over time. The poll was up until April 17, and the list of games that were selected was posted. As expected, the Legend of Zelda and Super Mario series had multiple entries make the cut. Two Final Fantasy games also made it in. Portal, Heavy Rain, Okami, and Shadow of the Colossus, along with older games like Spy vs. Spy, Jumpman, and Gunstar Heroes, were among the titles that will be in the exhibit. In addition, five games will be available to play for a short period of time: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Wolrd of Warcraft. Those games were not included in the poll.
The exhibit will open in March 2012. The full list of games can be seen here.
Analysis: Some interesting choices made it in. It seems amiss to not have Ico along with Shadow of the Colossus, considering how both are held up as examples of video games as art, though the latter definitely deserves a place in the exhibit. It’s rather heavy on Zelda and Mario, and while the series does merit a place it would’ve been nice to see a bit more of a spread. Still, I can’t object too much given how key they were to the systems they were released on. I was actually expecting to see more Final Fantasy due to how popular it is and how strong feelings can run among its fanbase, though I’m glad to see Panzar Dragoon, Phantasy Star, and Einhander get some recognition. Overall, it’s still a fairly representative list (though of course people will likely have their own opinions on what should have been included), and it’s good to see video games have time in the spotlight as a legitimate artistic medium. Roger Ebert must be eating his heart out.