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Smithsonian’s American Art Museum Prepares to Launch ‘The Art of Video Games’


Last spring, when the Smithsonian‘s American Art Museum both announced their The Art of Video Games exhibition and asked for crowd sourced submissions for what to include, it brought down their servers for a while as they were inundated with traffic. That was clearly an early sign that this might be a slightly popular show. Now, almost a year later, it’s nearly time to see just how swarmed the museum will be. The exhibition opens on Friday, March 16th, kicking off with a three day festival (pdf) celebrating the launch. Games will be available to play, 8-bit musicians will be on hand to perform, films like Tron and The King of Kong will be screened (the cast of the latter will even be on hand for a meet and greet on Sunday), and a number of panels with industry legends will be sprinkled throughout (the ones with Hideo Kojima and Nolan Bushnell are apparently already sold out). For those outside of DC, or who haven’t been able to get tickets quickly enough, the museum will also be webcasting the events throughout the weekend. We’re no psychics, but we have a sense that this might be a fairly popular show, all the way out through when it wraps up in September. Here’s a description of what the exhibition will look like:

Visitors to the exhibition are greeted by excerpts from selected games projected 12 feet high, accompanied by a chipmusic soundtrack by 8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer, including “The Art of Video Games Anthem” recorded by 8 Bit Weapon specifically for the exhibition. These multimedia elements convey the excitement and complexity of the featured video games. An interior gallery includes a series of short videos showing the range of emotional responses players have while interacting with games. Excerpts from interviews with 20 influential figures in the gaming world also are presented in the galleries.

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