Modern art is all about finding the meaning in a collection of abstract shapes, so games are pretty much a perfect match. It's fitting then, that from March 2013, New York's Museum of Modern Art will install an exhibition of 14 games as a precursor to an intended collection of 40. Paola Antonelli, the Senior Curator for the museum's Department of Architecture and Design, has written a
lengthy blog post
to explain the selection process.
"Are video games art? They sure are," writes Paola, settling that argument. "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."
The game's selected range from extremely complex simulation, to quick, fun bursts of action, but they all share a singular, driving focus of intent. Unsurprisingly, the majority of them originated on the PC. Here's the list of titles relevant to our interests:
SimCity 2000 (1994)
The Sims (2000)
EVE Online (2003)
Dwarf Fortress (2006)
The museum is planning to display each game in a way that can do justice to its particular type. For short games like the Passage, that means a playable version, but more in-depth games like EVE and Dwarf Fortress require a different approach. "To convey their experience, we will work with players and designers to create guided tours of these alternate worlds, so the visitor can begin to appreciate the extent and possibilities of the complex gameplay."
The museum hopes to bolster their collection over the coming years, eventually planning to add Minecraft, Grim Fandango and NetHack, among others. You can see the full list at
the MoMA website
. Any games that you'd like to see immortalised as works of art?