Video games is officially welcomed by the art world, as MoMA has decided to put them into the permanent collection. MoMa has acquired 14 classic video games and hopes to increase the list to 40 in the near future. The games will be installed in the Museum’s Philip Johnson Galleries in next March. Some of the iconic games in the initial list are Pac-Man, Tetris, SimCity 2000 and The Sims. They are planning to complete the list with well-known games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Street Fighter. These games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design. Historical and cultural references, aesthetic expression, functional and structural soundness, innovative approaches to technology and behaviour are taken into consideration when the experts constructing the list.
It is certainly debatable that if video games should be treated as art, and many people hold a negative opinion. But I think art becomes so hard to define in the past decades. If pop art can be a form of art, I don’t see why video games can’t be. As it is a cultural object that affects the growth of almost every Gen Y and Z, it can possibly shape the aesthetics and world view of these generations.
We are not sure yet how the controversial act of MoMA will change the view on video games. But it is a perfect example for a nostalgia trend of looking back at the digital development. We shall talk more about the trend in another time.