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