Premier US museum the Smithsonian Institute is running an exhibit on The Art of Video Games, featuring 80 games from the forty year history of the medium. The show curator put 240 games on a ballot for a public vote, and 3.7 million votes later, they’ve got 80 titles, one of which is Diablo II.

    Blizzard is also represented by Starcraft, and World of Warcraft, which was one of the top five vote-getters and as such will be playable from the exhibit.

    We’d ask any visitors to get some photos or reports on how Diablo II is displayed… but the show isn’t until next year; it’s going to run from March 16, 2012 until September 30, 2012, in the 3rd floor North, of the American Art Museum.  If you’re curious, there’s a nice Q&A with the curator. A quote:

    What criteria did you use when selecting the 240 games for the voting website?
    Chris Melissinos: The principal criteria for the game selection was that the games needed to fit the overall narrative of the exhibition. Basically, we plan to highlight games that reflect a specific period in time through social reflection, available technology, and artistic techniques, etc. The goal is to demonstrate to visitors that video games are more than what they seem to be at first glance. To select the games that would fit this narrative, I drew on my past experience as a game player for the past 35 years as well as my work in the video games industry, and then vetted the list with an advisory group comprised of video game designers, musicians, developers, and reporters. In addition, it was important to me and the museum to select games that would be familiar to a wide variety of players. I didn’t want to focus on obscure or abstract games that have been referred to as “art games.” Rather, I wanted to explore the art, narrative, and beauty demonstrated by the games that are known and loved by many.

    If anyone wants to eyeball the full list of 80 games and argue against some of the selections, or argue for some overlooked gems, feel free.

    I’ll start… WTF no Street Fighter titles? SF2, and its various Hyper/Championship remixes, was one of the most influential arcade games of all time, with an iconic 2D animated look that was somewhat reminiscent of D2, in that they were both super popular 2D games that succeeded on quality and clean/clear visuals in an era when most other titles were going with early, crappy 3D. I guess the exhibit is mostly about consoles, rather than arcade titles, but if they’re going to include Pac-Man, which looked great in arcades but absolutely horrible on the original consoles of the 80s, then other games best known for their arcade forms should be fair game.

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