Museum of Modern Art Adding Video Game Collection in 2013

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 3:35 pm,

MoMA Video Game Collection

Earlier this week, in our new Ask Game Rant feature, we discussed whether or not the term “game” discredits the medium, and while opinion’s were decidedly mixed on the matter there was a general consensus that video games should be considered an art form both because of their storytelling capabilities and visual aesthetics. However, we are merely humble writers who have little to no credibility in the art world, save for a really sweet drawing of fruit I did back in the 10th grade.

The Museum of Modern Art (more commonly known as MOMA), on the other hand, is a pretty reputable authority, and can themselves decide what is worth including in their extensive collection. And, as you might have guessed, they have decided to acquire various video games (arcade, console, and other) to showcase as part of a new collection in the Philip Johnson Galleries.

Starting in March of 2013 the Museum will begin displaying their collection, which thus far has amassed some 40 titles including celebrated classics like Pac-Man, Myst, and Tetris, as well as some games from the new school including the free-runner Canabalt, Valve’s Portal, and flOw — the first game in thatgamecompany’s distribution deal with Sony.

See the full list of games MOMA has acquired and plans to display below:

– 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)

As far as the criteria for selection, the Museum isn’t mentioning specific qualities a game needed to have, but they did provide some of the unique characteristics that make video games their own form of art — those being behavior, aesthetics, space, and time. To read how exactly MOMA views video games make sure to read their full announcement, which, for a gamer, contains some rather uplifting descriptions.

In addition to deciding which games to display, the Museum also had the difficult task of figuring how best to encapsulate the experience of each video game either through interactivity, a brief demo, or a guided tour (created by the developer). Games that are rather short, for example, will be available in their entirety, and in some cases playable, while those that require a substantial community, like EVE Online, will be getting the tour treatment.

As we mentioned earlier the Museum of Modern Art’s video game collection will go on display in March of 2013 in the Philip Johnson Galleries.

What other games do you think MOMA should add to its collection? Would you like to see more museums offer video game displays?


TAGS: EVE Online, flOw, Myst, Pac-Man, Portal, Tetris, The Sims

  • Matt

    This is a big accomplishment for the video game industry!

    • Narte

      It Is! I’m elated to see games getting some respect for the stories and the art styles. What’s even better, my dream was to become a artist, but then i got into gaming and wanted to be a graphic designer.

      looks like stuff worked out for me xD

      • Matt

        Lol nice! How’s that working out for ya?

  • boogoo

    Take that Roger Ebert!

  • Rabbit93

    I actually read about a ‘history of gaming’ exhibit that is supposed to be makimg its way around the country next year. Idk if that is part of it or not. I read about it in gameinformer. I forget what issue.

  • Shalkowski

    Like Matt said, this is a huge milestone for video games. This is super exciting and should get through to others that video games are more than just a waste of time.

    • dan

      I doubt it will completely erase doubt, but it is indeed a significant step forward.

      • Narte


  • jack

    I would like to see either Xenoblade Chronicles or The Witcher 2 as part of the exhibit.