back to article NY Museum of Modern Art embraces 14 video games

The prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has elevated the humble video game into its pantheon of art objects, and has named the first 14 of the 40 or so games that it will eventually add to its collection. "Are video games art?" MoMA curator Paola Antonelli asked rhetorically when announcing the collection, then …

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  1. David Barr
    Meh

    Eve Online but not Elite

    Perhaps Elite is coming later.... or is putting Eve Online in there giving enough of a nod to Bell and Braben? I suspect they'll be console centric on things as usual though.

    1. Paul Gomme

      Re: Eve Online but not Elite

      As you say... Historians: Those that like to selectively recall their favourite bits of the past, rather than contributing to it.

      To wit, if you don't understand something, better to keep your mouth closed, rather than open it and remove all doubt.

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: Eve Online but not Elite

        "To wit, if you don't understand something, better to keep your mouth closed, rather than open it and remove all doubt."

        Do you mean "Better to be thought an fool and remain silent than to speak out and remove all doubt."?

        A Lincoln

    2. Terry Barnes

      Re: Eve Online but not Elite

      So parochial! It's only really a significant game in the UK, as not many BBC-Bs made it to foreign shores. It was converted for the C64 eventually, but its popularity was as a game on Acorn platforms.

      1. Katie Saucey
        Coat

        Re: Eve Online but not Elite

        We had a pretty good time with Elite here in Canada. I used to love it, whenever I could peal dad off the C64.

        I'm out to Riedquat via Leesti.

      2. xperroni
        Boffin

        Re: Eve Online but not Elite

        Actually Elite was ported to several platforms of the time – I fondly remember playing it on my first-gen MSX.

        So no, it's not parochialism to point Elite's absence.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Canabalt?

    Isn't this just an updated version of Runner (on the Psion Games Pak) which was released in the late 80s?

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Canabalt?

      http://sliderule.mraiow.com/wiki/Psion_Organiser_II/Games_Pack

    2. Rob Crawford

      Re: Canabalt?

      No it's not an updated version.

      It's actually an uncontrollable piece of shit where they have ignored everything that has been learnt about games design since 1985.

      Where's Boulder Dash in that list it's more deserving most of that list (even if Repton ruined it's reputation)

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: Canabalt?

        Yes, and Loderunner

  3. Christopher Aussant
    Thumb Up

    Wow...

    I never thought I would see this, but I approve. Its nice to see these games be shown a bit more respect than being seen as mere time wasters. The list seems very well done, although I would prefer to see the legend of zelda being added at the start and not in a little while, but thats probably just the fanboy in me wanting that.

    Street Fighter 2 on the list is nice to see, I spent many an hour on that, but I can't help but notice an absence of shooters such as the original Doom. It may not have been the first of the genre but it certainly allowed many of my friends any myself to cut our teeth on running around and blowing stuff to hell. Maybe when they expand the exhibit I guess....

  4. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Coat

    Omissions...

    So no space for the retrospective salon-noir* of Manic Mansion, the expressive Dadoism* of Day of the Tentacle, the socialist utopia* of Lemmings or minimalist Zeitgeist* of Colossal Cave?

    And where's the serial surrealism* of Monkey Island?

    It's the one with the "Dial a Pirate" disk in one pocket.

    *I've read art reviews before.

  5. MrT

    Myst...

    ... series is great. Surprised maybe an occasional text adventure didn't make it though - +1 for Colossal Cave, but I'd also pitch in Infocom classics like Zork, HHGTTG, LGOP, or even The Hobbit. As for other genres, what about non-linear stuff like Operation Flashpoint or GTA San Andreas?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "ethereal boredom of Myst"

    Let me guess, you couldn't do it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Couldn't stay awake, perhaps. Dullest "game" ever released IMO.

    2. Faceless Man

      Well, given that, in the original version, the big maze in one age was dependent on sound cues that were broken on anything other than a Mac Quadra 700, it's not surprising a number of people gave up. I made it through only because someone more obsessed than me mapped it out manually.

      Oh, and then there was the puzzle that was broken altogether, and required just ticking through the different combinations until one worked.

      Myst looked pretty, but had very little else to recommend it. The colourised HyperCard engine would have been more interesting as its own product, and in terms of playability it was pretty dire.

      1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
        Thumb Up

        When I played the original version of Myst on the PC, it had none of those issues. I remember the series fondly, it was (for me at least) a pleasant change from the FPS and other hack n slash kill em all types of games.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elite should have been top of the list

    Elite was the game that really got me interested in computers and how they worked. Looking at the code I could not believe how much was crammed into so little. I still play it on emulators occasionally when I get bored of today's graphically amazing and audibly outstanding offerings. Seems you just can't beat the simplicity and playability of the old classics. Or am I just showing my age.

  8. Adam 1

    a couple more

    Civilization, wolfenstein, half life, age of empires, fight simulator, need for speed.

    Good to see Sf2 though

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: a couple more

      This.

      Interesting that Dwarf Fortress is on there but Civilization isn't - other than that, barring a couple of games that I'd not actually heard of, it's a fairly comprehensive list. Can't really argue with the list of games they plan to add, either, although the original ADVENTURE would sit rather nicely with Zork.

      To my mind, there are only a couple of omissions: I'd definitely have had Wolfenstein 3D or Doom on there, since they both pretty much defined the FPS as we know it today, and I'd have Elite (BBC version, naturally ;-) ) in favour of EVE Online if we're talking about space sims. I'd also add one of the Civilization II and possibly Age of Empires II as well, thus covering turn-based and real-time strategy games.

      Also interesting that weapons-grade weirdness is more-than-adequately represented by Katamari Damacy :-)

  9. DvorakUser

    Glad to see...

    ... the Chrono series getting some love. Should have Cross in there, too, if you want my opinion. Doom definitely deserves to be in there, too, though, for making the FPS a viable genre (yes, Halo wouldn't exist were it not for Doom). I'd also like to see Gran Turismo have an entry as well.

  10. MyronC

    They've chosen pioneers, but not necessarily masters

    They've chosen some early pioneers of the genre but what about games that have refined the formats and used them for storytelling? E.g. Grim Fandango is probably one of the most noir things published since the genre was invented. You could even argue something like Spec Ops: The Line belongs here.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Bioshock

    Art deco underwater mid 20th century metropolis.

    That is all.

  12. h3

    Canabalt is almost a step backwards I think.

  13. ratfox
    Alert

    Nothing from Blizzard?

    Hmm. Maybe not so surprising. However good they are, they might not contain anything you would call art. But then, why Street Fighter II?

    Nice that they are considering Grim Fandango, though.

  14. dz-015

    Seems surprising they didn't include Rez.

    1. Mark Webster

      Quite! Few games stand out so obviously as being pure art.

  15. Andrew Moore

    Do chess games count???

    For the sheer WTF- Psion's 1k ZX80/81 Chess.

  16. Bill Neal
    WTF?

    Tetris

    ...created by Dan Flavin or Sol LeWitt?

    I thought it was Alexey Pajitnov

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    But what about DOOM and DOOM II

    That game kept billions entertained for decades.

    I was especially fond of the after market / community games / wad files.....

    The HUGE halls and vistas and the full on multi story buildings with rooms, passages and chambers inside them...

    But it was like a drug habit that was hard to kick.....

    I kind of really enjoyed all of that - and I'd like to gather up all the many hundreds or thousands of levels and games that were independently developed on the Doom Wad file system.....

    But I'd like to "get over it" and stay over it for good, I think.

    I am still really impressed with the size and dimensions of some of the scenes that were developed in it.

    Brilliant stuff.

  18. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    So this is another list than the one from the Smithsonian American Art Museum:

    http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/featuredgames/

  19. Neil Porter
    Happy

    Parappa The Rapper?

    Flow and Katamari Damacy definitely deserve it, but where is Parappa The Rapper?

  20. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    How about...

    Adventure, Zork1, II, and III, and Trinity (I never cracked Trinity - getting the "Gnomon Conquest" did my head in for the weekend!)

    Wonder if I can still get Trinity? Love to solve it!

    (Alright, cheated at Adventure - on the PDP-11 I was playing it on, I found the bits in the core memory that would enable me to jump anywhere. Just change 'em. I remember one evening, I couldn't get Zork out of my head, so when my (then) girlfriend was asleep, I got dressed, silently closed the apartment door, and drove to work - I was sure I had an answer to a problem, which I did. Locked up, went back home about 5-ish. As I'm getting undressed, the Gorgon wakes. "Er, what are you doing??" "Big job today, honey, thought I'd have an early start--" as I pulled my trousers back on, went back to the office, and continued playing...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good to see Flow in there.

    I wonder how many "gamers" passed it by...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Shocked

    ...that Shadow Of The Colossus is omitted.

    That's about as close to art that I have ever seen in a video game.

    And a damn fine game it is. Oh, and the soundtrack by Otani is awesome.

  23. RAMChYLD
    Boffin

    Vib Ribbon?

    How is it that a game that was never released in the US at all end up in a US museum?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Vib Ribbon?

      How is it that a game that was never released in the US at all end up in a US museum?

      You seem to be a bit unclear on the whole "museum" concept.

  24. Joe Pineapples

    Baldurs Gate

    Go for the throat Boo!

    That is all.

  25. Crisp

    Where is Pong?

    The first ever commercial computer game?

  26. Tony Paulazzo

    Midwinter

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwinter_%28video_game%29

    Totally awesome, with game mechanics that to this day have not been replicated (and my first 3D, 2nd actual, game).

  27. The FunkeyGibbon
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see games finally recognised as art

    I understand that art is in the eye of the beholder (see Mark Rothko, something I could never agree as art - but clearly somebody does, the mad fools!) and so any list will be subjective and this isn't the complete list either but I do hope they include Limbo, that was incredibly beautiful given it's limited pallet. It takes artistic ability to achieve what was done with that game.

  28. Elron
    Alert

    No Elite, Civilization or Populous??

    Some very strange choices on the list, but also some fairly obvious omissions. I wonder if this is down to 'the advice of scholars, digital conservation and legal experts, historians, and critics, all of whom helped us refine not only the criteria and the wish list'. Maybe none of them actually play games, and just thought they looked nice.

    Still, it would have been nice to see some of the granddaddies of the strategy game genre included.

    If you do remember Elite with fondness, then you might be interested in supporting the Kickstarter campaign to create a new version - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/

  29. E 2

    I won't argue specific titles, but it is very strange to me that MOMA has ignored the entire first person shooter genre.

  30. Petrea Mitchell
    Flame

    What, no Rogue?

    Or any of its multitudinous variations?

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: What, no Rogue?

      Nethack is being considered for the next induction.

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