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Smithsonian invites players to vote on titles for upcoming gaming exhibit

It's often said that a work can't be evaluated as “Classic” until ten years after its birth. With a headstrong medium like games, though, that definition gets bent a little bit: while the Smithsonian American Art Museum's upcoming “Art of Video Games” exhibition will feature plenty of titles that pass the ten-year test, some exhibits could be as recent as 2010. “Could be”? What titles will be on show, exactly? Well, that's up to you.


Above: All kidding aside, if Okami doesn't make the cut you're all dead to us

Accustomed to exhibiting everything from quilts to patent diagrams, the Smithsonian has paired with guest curator and Past Pixels founder Chris Melissinos to develop the exhibit. It'll highlight the games that best demonstrate the medium's contributions to the field of modern art (so far, anyway). A year out from the opening, a web portal's been launched where players can register to vote for the titles that best fit that bill, from a pool of 240 nominees spread over the breadth of gaming history. Screenshots and video clips of the winners will be displayed in the exhibition, set to run from March to September of 2012.


Above: Hailing from a time when “artistic” meant “hey, cel-shading,” Jet Grind Radio's look has stood the test

The voting interface takes a while to load – there's a fair few candidates to wade through, after all. That's time that can be spent considering exactly what your voting criteria might be. Sure, you could rush straight to register your love for Shadow of the Colossus and Okami... but where do you stand on canonical standout Final Fantasy VII versus sleeper darling Grandia? Is Rez really a more inventive artwork than Typing of the Dead? How are you ever going to pick between Chrono Trigger, Earthbound and Link to the Past – and where the hell is Terranigma?


Above: Too fringe for the Smithsonian, baby

Voting lasts until April 2011, with results revealed in May. Once your vote is cast, it can't be taken back. Best thing for it is probably to take a look around the nominees, then come back here and start a heated and invigorating debate before committing to anything. The opportunity to rule on the artistic contribution of Sonic Adventure is not to be taken lightly, after all.

Feb 14, 2011

21 comments

  • ninjaemperor - February 17, 2011 12:37 a.m.

    This is games finally being taken seriously as art, by the biggest museum in the world no less, this is HUGE
  • ChiefLethal - February 15, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    I'm sure everyone has their reasons for the games they chose, and I know for certain that everyone thinks their reasoning is the end of it (myself included). I do think that this is WAY to big a deal for gamers to be arguing about what should go and what shouldn't. This is going to be the most mainstream venue for gaming ever and the games that show up in the Smithsonian will represent ALL of gaming. Put your opinions aside and revel in how awesome this actually is. P.S. in before this turns into a flame war.
  • BurntToShreds - February 15, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    Not Super Mario Brothers. I am TIRED of the game being in every top list. I would choose a game like The World ends With You. That game had style. Jet Grind Radio is a must, and Shadow of the Colossus is as well.
  • grappler51 - February 15, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    Nice, I live about 20 minutes outside of DC, definitely gonna have to go see this next summer.
  • grandinquisitor - February 15, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    I can't believe it made me choose between Okami and kingdom hearts 2. I flipped a coin. okami won
  • iamawesome27 - February 15, 2011 5:22 a.m.

    @mastersword369 GTFO MY GAMESRADAR
  • Outlander - February 15, 2011 4:59 a.m.

    I heard this news via the bethblog earlier today. I've already decided on making a road trip with some friends to DC to see the exhibit in 2012 when it opens to the public.
  • MichaelFlynn21 - February 15, 2011 4:35 a.m.

    does this mean that video games are art? Has the age old question finally been answered?
  • Tomgoulter - February 15, 2011 4:29 a.m.

    @JamesCain: A fine idea and one I wish I'd thought of. I'm sure @CMelissinos would agree that a work doesn't have to be well-received to be important. (Nice to see you in the discussion, Chris - thanks for the tip re: the voting site!)
  • Zixor - February 15, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    Herzog Zwei for the Genesis? Hellz yeah!
  • mastersword369 - February 15, 2011 3:57 a.m.

    I hate Okami, that was the absolute worst battle system I've ever encountered. If Fallout 3 isn't on this list, I'm going on a killing rampage. That is all, other than CHRONO TRIGGER YEAH!!
  • jamescain - February 15, 2011 3:54 a.m.

    hey guys lets all vote for E.T the game for era 1
  • blue0212 - February 15, 2011 3:47 a.m.

    So.... I choose 1 per era per console per generation?
  • thefreakysurgeon - February 15, 2011 3:13 a.m.

    EARTHBOUND ALL THE WAY!! THEN CHRONO TRIGGER!! AND FINAL FANTASY 3!!
  • NotBraze - February 15, 2011 3:08 a.m.

    Mass Effect 2 vs. Limbo vs. Oblivion… Hardest decision of today.
  • CMelissinos - February 15, 2011 2:32 a.m.

    Site is getting hammered right now. Keep trying!
  • Tomgoulter - February 15, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    @NinjaEmperor: It takes pow'ful long to load. Be patient. (Or try another browser).
  • ninjaemperor - February 15, 2011 2:17 a.m.

    The site isn't running on my computer. Or is it just taking a long time to load?
  • Personamanxx - February 15, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    Man, I'm going to the Smithsonian in May... Sucks the exhibits won;t be up by then,
  • Tymiegie - February 15, 2011 2:10 a.m.

    Cool. Gonna cast my vote. Glad games are getting some more recognition.

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