First of all, sorry for the slight delay as I’m having some technical difficulties here. So, this might arrive at your timezone on a Thursday, but it’s still Wednesday where I am, so I guess that counts!
One of my favorite pastimes in the US is going to the cinema. The screens are bigger, the seats are roomier and no breaks disturb the flow of the movie. They add to the entertainment by showing half a dozen trailers before the movie starts. On a rainy New York city day, my friend and I took a break from all the sightseeing to watch the apocalypse comedy “This is the end” by Freaks & Geeks alum Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg. I enjoy self-irony a lot and a movie full of actors poking fun at their profession exactly fits the bill. The host of cameos highlighted by a delightfully rude Michael Cera and stunning Emma Watson had me laughing throughout.
However, one of the lines that made me smile and think is delivered by James Franco, who asks the LA-hating and art-bashing Jay Baruchel (this is not an exact quote): “You don’t like art? Do you like videogames? That’s art. …” Continuing his rant and showing Mr. Baruchel the error of his ways, he goes on to call sandwich- and lovemaking art as well.
Mr. Franco is not alone in his assessment that video games are art. A few hours before we fled the rain for the comforts of the cinema, we spent the morning a the Museum of Modern Art. The MoMA is a staple of all my New York City itineraries and my absolute favorite museum.
After walking through the fifth level with works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet and the fourth level with late 20th century artists such as Warhol and Lichtenstein, we reached the third level featured pieces I hadn’t seen in 2009 and 2011. The exhibition on level 3 featured classics of videogame history. It included videos such as a hilarious play-through of a player trying to build their Sims house without cheats (spoiler alert: unsuccessfully) and a great space battle in the massive universe of EVE Online. For the interactive parts, visitors could test their skills playing the hallmarks of gaming culture: the original Tetris and Pac-Man. Games as Sim City 2000 and Portal also received their due at the diverse installation.
Needless to say, the exhibition made me appreciate the museum even more than I already did before. A lot of video games are fantastic artistic endeavors. Some developers succeed in crafting beautiful virtual worlds and writing breath-taking stories. Some of the worlds I see as very interesting creations: the vast world of the revolutionary online game World of Warcraft; the creepy, but intense atmosphere of Bioshock Infinite and the creatures of Pokemon, thoughtful plays on real-world animals. Video gaming has become a platform for artists to bring their vision to an interactive medium. With technology improving, creations are becoming more realistic and animations are becoming more fluid. The new consoles and the ever increasing computing power allows content these modern-day artists to push their creations to new levels. I’m pretty excited to see what the future will bring. As a next project, I’m looking forward to playing the critically acclaimed apocalypse game “The Last of Us”, which has received rave reviews for the cinematic parts of the playthrough.
Which games would you include in an art exhibition? Have there been any worlds, which have blown you away? Let me know in the comments!
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