The Art of Video Games

The Art of Video Games

In the space of forty years, video games have evolved from primitive, pixelated worlds to immersive, three dimensional environments.

Over the last forty years, the images in video games have progressed from primitive, pixelated worlds to immersive, three dimensional environments. A new exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum explores the overlap and interplay of art, technology and pop culture in video games. Tech Tuesday meets the curator, and examines the evolution of video game art from Pong to Super Mario Brothers to BioShock.


Chris Melissinos

Guest Curator, "The Art of Video Games" Exhibit (Smithsonian American Art Museum, March 16- September 30, 2012); Founder, Past Pixels

Mike Mika

Head of Development, Other Ocean Interactive

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A sampling of the Smithsonian Museum of Art's picks for "The Art of Video Games" exhibit:

  1. "Pac Man," that classic of classics, was a best-selling video game upon its release, and Atari's first big hit:

  1. Shigeru Miyamoto is responsible for many of the bestselling early arcade games, including the one below. Originally designed for poor performance players, "Donkey Kong" came to be one the bestselling arcade machine games ever and sent users clambering for a high score record:

  1. An Earthworm's quest to rescue the Princess is set in "Junk City," a place populated by garbage, ravens and rabid dogs:

  1. With an unprecedented amount of media attention, the archeologist Lara Croft became the first mainstream female character in video games. Her image appeared in magazines, comics and and later in the movies portrayed by Angelina Jolie:

  1. Humankind has to fight robotic alien invaders and forge alliances with other scary-looking aliens in order to stop them in "Mass Effect 2:"

  1. For the youngest "cyber-fighters," "King of the Hill: Pong" gives an idea of how everything started. With just two lines and a moving dot in the middle, its appeal lies in its simplicity.

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