by Brandon James Anderson
When the word “museum” comes to mind, odds are most people will envision paintings and sculptures. Digital media, however, has increasingly made its way into the conversation of what it means to be considered art.
On exhibition at the Flint Institute of Arts since October, The Art of Video Games takes visitors through the history of gaming. A summary of the “eras” of gaming welcomes visitors who can view screens that exemplify popular games from each generation of gaming consoles. From this entry point, visitors move on to the early days of gaming which also provides a chance to watch and even play the legendary Pac-Man. From there, early counsels such as the Atari 2600 and the original Nintendo Entertainment System are on display.
The chronological layout of the exhibit will likely feel like a trip down memory lane for those who consider themselves gamers and anyone who spent even a small portion of their childhood with the likes of Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog. While the nostalgia is definitely worth the price of admission, some may find themselves feeling old upon reading historical context about the late 90’s in a museum.
The exhibit’s focus is not solely on that of the industry’s technological advances, but also on the role that artists themselves have played in the evolution of the medium. As visitors make their way through the nearly two dozen interactive kiosks and 80 game titles that are a part of the exhibit, the question of whether video games should be deemed art will likely be answered for most in the affirmative.
Further highlighting the concept of the exhibit is a special lecture entitled “Video Games as an Art Form” which is free to the public and will be held on January 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the FIA. The Art of Video Games exhibit itself finishes it run at the FIA this upcoming Sunday, January 19.