Out Of This World

Nothing can really be considered art until it’s in an art museum, at which point it is officially art and unofficially boring. Thus, videogame fans everywhere can feel an excitingly ambiguous sense of victory and corresponding emptiness when they hear the news that the Museum of Modern Art has acquired 14 videogames, the first step in a planned 40-game selection geared towards an aesthetic focus on the interactive design of the videogame medium, which is a long-winded way of saying: “No, Halo and Call of Duty will not be part of the collection. No.” However, the 14 games chosen do represent an intriguing — albeit rigidly anti-narrative — catalogue of the first three decades of popular interactive entertainment. The games are:

Pac-Man (1980)

Tetris (1984)

Another World (1991)

Myst (1993)

SimCity 2000 (1994)

vib-ribbon (1999)

The Sims (2000)

Katamari Damacy (2004)

EVE Online (2003)

Dwarf Fortress (2006)

Portal (2007)

flOw (2006)

Passage (2008)

Canabalt (2009)

Lest you think MoMA is completely anti-franchise, a blog post on the museum’s website notes their intention to fill out their collection with many more games, including Street Fighter II, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario 64. I would point out that the list seems to completely ignore the revolution in multiplayer, but given our just-published Ten Best Games of the Last Decade list, that would be the pot calling the kettle black. And even if the list veers artsy, it’s hard to argue with an initial pantheon that features two of the most fun games ever created (Pac-Man and Tetris) and a pair of games that are practically abstract experiences (Another World and Myst) with a game about picking things up with a really big ball.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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