A Day at the Museum        How the Smithsonian is embracing games              Chris Melissinos, Past Pixels, LLCGeorgina ...
Background•   Former Chief Evangelist and    Chief Gaming Officer, host of    JavaOne - Sun Microsystems•   Led client and ...
and I’m a geek Custom arcade        NeoGeo          GameBoy SP              XBox360  Pong arcade      TurboGrafx-16       ...
My First Computer•   5K (3583 bytes)•   MOS 6502 @ 1MHz•   22 x 23 text,176 x 184 @ 16    colors•   Learned assembly at 10...
So, how did this all start?
Seeking the Museum•   GDC 2005 - Mike Mika•   Almost passed out•   Insurance?•   This needs to be in a    museum...•   Spe...
Smithsonian 2.0•   January 2009 - 20 technologists at the museum•   Everyone talked about blogging, podcasts and Twitter.....
IDEA! - The Art of Video Games•   Create an exhibition that examines the evolution of video games    as an artistic medium...
Answer some questions
Why Video Games?•   Games are part of every culture    throughout recorded history - video games    “Can a Computer Make Y...
Does it have a Message?Missile Command        Do artists suffer for their art?
Does it Reflect Society?                       Our exaggerated mirrorComputer Space             Space Invaders             ...
Is it Expressive?Exploration through different artistic lenses
Authority of the Author?•   One of the biggest arguments against games as art is that the    player has CHOICE which effec...
What is the BIGGEST difference in the acceptance      of books, paintings, music, and movies             as works of impor...
TIME
Enough of the how and why
Exhibition goals•   Present the evolution of the art form across generations of    technology•   Reveal “echos” of design ...
The Big Idea“Core” Exhibition
“Core” Exhibitiontarget     combat   adventure   maze
“Core” Exhibitionshow their evolution over time        ...               ...
Example• Green bar?                    • On the moon• Black background?             • Informs the void• UFO?              ...
“Core” Breadthnot inclusive of all systems, but keeps the narrative      • Atari VCS         • TurboGrafx-16   • Saturn   ...
Supplement•   First video game machine - can’t have the dialog without the    “Brown Box”•   Personal computers•   Specific...
Reflection of Society•   NOT Chris’s Picks over 40 years•   Advisory board being assembled to review and offer insight•   A...
Possible Additions•   Developer and artist panels during the launch week•   Photo sessions and developer challenges•   Vid...
Information•   The Art of Video Games Exhibition at the Smithsonian American    Art Museum•   MARCH 2012 - SEPTEMBER 2012•...
Our Opportunity!•   To elevate the stage that video games occupy•   Demonstrate the diverse and rich history of the video ...
MUCH MORE TO COME!     Thank You!
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The Art of Video Games at GDC 2010

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This is the presentation that was delivered at the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco that outlined "The Art of Video Games" exhibition that we were developing. Note, this presentation only contains my portion of this joint presentation.

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The Art of Video Games at GDC 2010

  1. 1. A Day at the Museum How the Smithsonian is embracing games Chris Melissinos, Past Pixels, LLCGeorgina Bath Goodlander, Smithsonian American Art Museum
  2. 2. Background• Former Chief Evangelist and Chief Gaming Officer, host of JavaOne - Sun Microsystems• Led client and server game technology development 10+ years• Founder of Past Pixels, LLC• Husband & father (raising gamers)
  3. 3. and I’m a geek Custom arcade NeoGeo GameBoy SP XBox360 Pong arcade TurboGrafx-16 NES Sony PSP Atari 2600 Sega Genesis SNES 3DO Intellivision Sega 32X Nintendo 64 Atari Jaguar Colecovision Sega Saturn GameCube Jaguar CD Atari 5200 Sega Dreamcast Wii TurboGrafx CD Atari Lynx Playstation Nintendo DS Wonderswan Color Game Gear Playstation 2 Nintendo DS Lite NeoGeo Pocket Color GameBoy Playstation 3 Nintendo DSi Pole Position CabinetGameBoy Advance XBox Vectrex VirtualBoy
  4. 4. My First Computer• 5K (3583 bytes)• MOS 6502 @ 1MHz• 22 x 23 text,176 x 184 @ 16 colors• Learned assembly at 10, first full game by 12• “Wasting my time” Firefox Icon - 64KB Defender - 8K cart (~18x larger) (8x smaller)
  5. 5. So, how did this all start?
  6. 6. Seeking the Museum• GDC 2005 - Mike Mika• Almost passed out• Insurance?• This needs to be in a museum...• Spent several years pinging the walls
  7. 7. Smithsonian 2.0• January 2009 - 20 technologists at the museum• Everyone talked about blogging, podcasts and Twitter...except one• If you want to reach new generations of patrons, you need to meet them where they live - connect, excite, ignite, spark imagination• EVERYONE is playing games - how do we recognize this, examine this, hold the medium up for observation?• Georgina asked about game stuff - “I know someone”• Meetings...meetings...concepts...meetings...
  8. 8. IDEA! - The Art of Video Games• Create an exhibition that examines the evolution of video games as an artistic medium over time• Demonstrate how social dialog, cultural shift and technology impact the medium• Establish the medium as worthy of examination, critique and study as an art form• Bring further validation and preservation to an industry we all care about and has given us so much!
  9. 9. Answer some questions
  10. 10. Why Video Games?• Games are part of every culture throughout recorded history - video games “Can a Computer Make You Cry?” are an extension of this• Have become a mainstream medium for entertainment, expression and education• Followed the same trajectory as other forms of media• Large expanse of artistic range, messaging and focus• Extraordinary opportunity to capture the medium - most of the pioneers are still with us
  11. 11. Does it have a Message?Missile Command Do artists suffer for their art?
  12. 12. Does it Reflect Society? Our exaggerated mirrorComputer Space Space Invaders Donkey Kong Contra (space race) (shortened 100-Yen coin supply) (complete narrative) (“Action” film era)
  13. 13. Is it Expressive?Exploration through different artistic lenses
  14. 14. Authority of the Author?• One of the biggest arguments against games as art is that the player has CHOICE which effects the OUTCOME• Games with a wholly formed narrative always have the same outcome, regardless of lateral movement by the player• In comparison to ANY OTHER form of media, video games are the MOST expressive; inviting exploration and discovery while still providing a messaging arc• What other form of art allows this? Aside from “Choose Your Own Adventure” books?!?!
  15. 15. What is the BIGGEST difference in the acceptance of books, paintings, music, and movies as works of importance vs. video games?
  16. 16. TIME
  17. 17. Enough of the how and why
  18. 18. Exhibition goals• Present the evolution of the art form across generations of technology• Reveal “echos” of design that persist generation to generation• Elevate the opportunity that video games represent as an artistic medium• Observe the intertwined relationship between games, technology and society over the past 40 years• Demonstrate the influence of popular culture, technology, social issues on the designers and artists
  19. 19. The Big Idea“Core” Exhibition
  20. 20. “Core” Exhibitiontarget combat adventure maze
  21. 21. “Core” Exhibitionshow their evolution over time ... ...
  22. 22. Example• Green bar? • On the moon• Black background? • Informs the void• UFO? • Bird like = familiar
  23. 23. “Core” Breadthnot inclusive of all systems, but keeps the narrative • Atari VCS • TurboGrafx-16 • Saturn • GameCube • Intellivision • Genesis • Playstation • XBox • Colecovision • SNES • N64 • Wii • NES • Atari Jaguar • Dreamcast • XBox 360 • Master System • 3DO • PS2 • PS3
  24. 24. Supplement• First video game machine - can’t have the dialog without the “Brown Box”• Personal computers• Specific genre examinations: FPS, RTS, Text Adventures, RPG, etc.• Coin-op: Pong, Space Invaders, Robotron 2084, Ms. Pac-Man, etc.• Computer music: Wave generators, chiptune, CD, orchestral, etc.• Games as art, serious games, etc.
  25. 25. Reflection of Society• NOT Chris’s Picks over 40 years• Advisory board being assembled to review and offer insight• All materials will be posted to a public site for voting by the public• This is about offering participation and vested interest• Final reveal at launch :)
  26. 26. Possible Additions• Developer and artist panels during the launch week• Photo sessions and developer challenges• Video Games Live!• Movie night! - Screen movies over the course of the week that speak to the culture, about the industry, etc.
  27. 27. Information• The Art of Video Games Exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum• MARCH 2012 - SEPTEMBER 2012• www.pastpixels.com - developer blog, details, shoutback, etc.• http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/• chrism@pastpixels.com• GoodlanderG@si.edu
  28. 28. Our Opportunity!• To elevate the stage that video games occupy• Demonstrate the diverse and rich history of the video games industry• Explain how the medium is the most expressive in terms of the possibility space that video games operate in• We have grown; We are permanent• We are worthy of the critical eye, of social dialog, of telling our stories, of invoking emotion, of being the storytelling medium of future generations
  29. 29. MUCH MORE TO COME! Thank You!

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