Exhibit A: The Art of Video Games is on Tour

Admittedly, I dropped the ball on this one. The exhibit has been near my lair since October and I didn’t make it out until two weeks before it closed. (I know. I’ll do better next time.)

There’s good news and bad news, so I’ll give you the bad news first:

It’s $10 to see the exhibit. To see two kind of smallish rooms. And listen to two narrators talk about games from consoles from the beginning of the gaming era to now (well, now if it were two years ago when the exhibit originally opened.)

I never got to see it at the Smithsonian when it originally debuted, but it looked pretty impressive from the CBS Sunday Morning feature. I was really excited to learn it’d be visiting Syracuse on its ten city tour and somehow forgot that it would be here in October.

The content and variety of the exhibit was sound, it was more in the delivery that it fell short. Each game is explained, briefly, at little stations with a phone thing that tells you about each and why/how it was important in the grand scheme of things. (The one that had Fallout 3 was not functioning properly during my visit and that made me sad.) There was a female narrator who did a good job of keeping me awake, but the male voice, after a while, made me want to take a nap. On some games he seemed less than enthused about the subject matter.

As a side note, no pictures were technically permitted, but I sneaked this one for you guys:

fallout 3 concept art

There were also hands-on exhibits. I didn’t get much of a chance to play on these because they seemed to be overrun by unescorted children. I think that given the nature of the content, some kind of interactive element is kind of the point.

So would I recommend you go see it? Yes, with a disclaimer – if you live close enough that potentially only getting two rooms of content is worth it. The round trip for my husband and I was 3 hours. And the museum, while really cool looking, was small, with The Art of Video Games exhibit, a small permanent collection, and another traveling exhibit that was art made with blood (I am not making that up).

blood concept art

The games that were on display did give some information about why certain design choices were made (answering the burning question: why does Mario have a mustache?), or inspiration for certain games.

The exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY wraps up on January 19th, but will reopen at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers on February 15th.

To see if it will be heading your way during it’s tour, check out the official website: The Art of Video Games Tour

~The Myrrick