Three days ago, the Smithsonian (the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, and nine research facilities) launched ‘The Art of Video Games’ exhibition:
From the Atari VSC to the Playstation 3 and from Pac Man and Super Mario in the 1980s to Flower (2009) and Assassin’s Creed III (2012), video games have come a long way…long enough to provoke a debate that goes beyond ‘leisure’ and ‘entertainment’. This comes as no surprise for an industry worth 25 billion dollars a year (according to the BBC, which also holds that 75% of the American households play video games).
An industry that big had to be regulated, but then came the magical word: ART!
Last year, the Supreme Council, America’s highest court, had its say last year:
“Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”
All the arguments about the violent content of some games, the child aggression they can provoke, the depression and anxiety that spending too much time playing video games can cause to kids…all these arguments were dropped in favor of protecting video games (industry) as a form of art. The Smithsonian’s exhibition only confirms (and celebrates) it.
Next time your kid is playing a video game, he is actually increasing his ‘exposure to art’ as per the Supreme Court.