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Smithsonian Accepting Console-Generational Votes For 'Art Of Video Games' Exhibit

It was over a year ago that we first heard about the Smithsonian's upcoming exhibit dedicated to our favorite hobby. At the time it seemed flighty, unreal: is the largest national museum in the U.S. actually going to dedicate half a year to showing off the most artistic and expressive parts of a medium whose merits are still debated and doubted among some of the longest-running art critics? Yes, the press release said, but not for a while.

So we waited.

Now we're a year out from the actual presentation of the exhibit, and the Smithsonian Institute is making good on their promise to let us very opinionated gamers "assist with the selection of materials for the show by choosing the games that they feel best represent particular moments in the overall timeline." What that means is engaging the most primal and well-tested part of the gamer's psyche: the ability to select one's favorites out of a list and argue furiously over those choices being the correct ones.

If you go to the Smithsonian homepage now, or that of the curating company PastPixels, you'll find a link to the voting page, but that link is also right here! It only takes an email to sign up and start evangelizing for your favorite game to appear in the exhibit, but for those who like informed consent, I've included a full list of the games to vote for beneath the jump!

There are certainly some... interesting choices by the curators, such as throwing Ikaruga in the Xbox 360 era rather than with Dreamcast. Also, the idea of lumping PS2, PS3, Xbox, and Xbox 360 into the same console generation is certainly a unique one, though it doesn't necessary affect the voting. After blocking it up by technological era, the site further breaks the voting between platforms, and then by genre. The result means that Metal Gear Solid 2 is technically in the same category as Archon, but, hey--that's what happens when you try to homogenize over thirty years of technological advancements.

So if you've ever wanted to convince a bevy of museum-goers that Shadow of the Colossus really is art, now's your chance! Go register and cast your votes into American art history! And feel free to discuss the merit of Rez as a contemporary of Goldeneye 64, as well as the technical beauty of StarCraft II against the emergent-play accomplishment of Minecraft.

Era 1: START!

Atari VCS -

  • Action-- Tunnel Runner, Haunted House, Pac-Man
  • Adventure-- Adventure, Pitfall!, E.T.
  • Target-- Space Invaders, Missile Command, Yars' Revenge
  • Combat/Strategy-- Combat, Star Raiders, Video Chess


  • Action-- Donkey Kong, Jungle Hunt, Smurfs
  • Adventure-- Alcazar: The Forgotten Fortress, Gateway to Apshai, Pitfall II
  • Target-- Carnival, Zaxxon, Buck Rogers
  • Combat/Strategy-- Evolution, Star Trek, Artillery Duel


  • Action-- Microsurgeon, TRON: Maze-Atron, He-Man
  • Adventure: AD&D, Swords and Serpents, Thunder Castle
  • Target-- Demon Attack, Star Strike, Space Battle
  • Combat/Strategy-- Armor Battle, B-17 Bomber, Utopia

Era 2: 8-BIT

Commodore 64

  • Action-- Impossible Mission, Boulder Dash, Jumpman
  • Adventure-- Wasteland, Bard's Tale III, Zak McKracken
  • Target-- Attack of the Mutant Camels, Paradroid, Raid on Bungeling Bay
  • Combat/Strategy-- M.U.L.E., Little Computer People, Sid Meier's Pirates!


  • Action-- Mega Man 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Metroid
  • Adventure-- Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, Shadowgate
  • Target-- 1943, Top Gun, Life Force
  • Combat/Strategy-- Archon, Desert Commander, North and South

SEGA Master System

  • Action-- Shinobi, Mickey Mouse in the Land of Illusion, Marble Madness
  • Adventure-- Phantasy Star, Heroes of the Lance, Ultima IV
  • Target-- Fantasy Zone, After Burner, Missile Defense 3D
  • Combat/Strategy-- Gain Ground, Spy vs Spy, Rampart

Era 3: BIT WARS!


  • Action-- Earthworm Jim, Sonic CD, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
  • Adventure-- Phantasy Star IV, Flashback, Shining Force
  • Target-- Gunstar Heroes, Viewpoint, Ranger X
  • Combat/Strategy-- Herzog Zwei, Dune II, Nobunaga's Ambition


  • Action-- Super Star Wars, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country
  • Adventure-- Chrono Trigger, Zelda III, Earthbound
  • Target-- Gradius III, Star Fox, Super SmashTV
  • Combat/Strategy-- SimCity, Syndicate, Act Raiser



  • Action-- Deus Ex, DOOM II, Unreal
  • Adventure-- Baldur's Gate II, Grim Fandango, Fallout
  • Target-- Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Crimson Skies, Diablo II
  • Combat/Strategy-- StarCraft, Uplink, Command & Conquer


  • Action-- Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Star Wars: SoTE
  • Adventure-- Zelda 64, Zelda: Majora's Mask, Paper Mario
  • Target-- Pilotwings 64, Star Fox 64, Goldeneye
  • Combat/Strategy-- Worms Armageddon, Rainbow Six, Ogre Battle 64


  • Action-- Jet Grind Radio, Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi
  • Adventure-- Shenmue, Phantasy Star Online, Skies of Arcadia
  • Target-- Toy Commander, Typing of the Dead, Rez
  • Combat/Strategy-- ChuChu Rocket!, Panzer Front, Rhapsody of Zephyr


  • Action-- NiGHTS into Dreams, Tomb Raider, Clockwork Night
  • Adventure-- Blazing Dragons, Dark Savior, Banzer Dragoon Saga
  • Target-- Panzer Dragoon II, Black Fire, Wing Arms
  • Combat/Strategy-- SimCity 2000, Blazing Heroes, Command & Conquer


  • Action-- Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
  • Adventure-- Lunar: SSSC, Final Fantasy VII, Grandia
  • Target-- Einhander, Colony Wars III, Point Blank
  • Combat/Strategy-- Final Fantasy Tactics, Carnage Heart, C&C: Red Alert



  • Action-- Halo 2, Jet Set Radio Future, Psychonauts
  • Adventure-- Fable, Indigo Prophecy, Shenmue II
  • Target-- Panzer Dragoon Orta, Xyanide, Sniper Elite
  • Combat/Strategy-- Steel Battalion, Splinter Cell, Sid Meier's Pirates!

Xbox 360

  • Action-- Gears of War 3, Halo 3, Bioshock
  • Adventure-- Mass Effect 2, Limbo, TES: Oblivion
  • Target-- Geometry Wars 2, Ikaruga, Assault Heroes 2
  • Combat/Strategy-- Halo Wars, Darwinia+, LoTR, Battle for Middle Earth II

Modern Windows

  • Action-- Half-Life 2, Portal, CoD: World at War
  • Adventure-- World of Warcraft, Star Wars: KotOR, Fallout 3
  • Target-- Shatter, Everyday Shooter, fl0w
  • Combat/Strategy-- StarCraft II, Age of Empires 3, Minecraft


  • Action-- Prince of Persia, Eternal Darkness, Metroid Prime 2
  • Adventure-- Zelda: Wind Waker, Tales of Symphonia, Paper Mario
  • Target-- P.N.03, Star Fox Assault, Alien Hominid
  • Combat/Strategy-- Battalion Wars, Pikmin 2, Fire Emblem


  • Action-- Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Disney Epic Mickey
  • Adventure-- Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario, Monster Hunter Tri
  • Target-- Boom Blox, Blast Works, Sin and Punishment II
  • Combat/Strategy-- Zack & Wiki, Little King's Story, Battalion Wars 2


  • Action-- Tony Hawk's Underground 2, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus
  • Adventure-- Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts II, Okami
  • Target-- Silpheed, Espagaluda, Gradius V
  • Combat/Strategy-- Metal Gear Solid 2, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, Armored Core 3


  • Action-- Uncharted 2, CoD: Black Ops, LittleBigPlanet 2
  • Adventure-- Dragon Age, Final Fantasy XIII, Heavy Rain
  • Target-- Flower, Super Stardust HD, PixelJunk Shooter
  • Combat/Strategy-- Brutal Legend, C&C: Red Alert 3, Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution


NaviFairy said:

This is a call to arms. Please, everyone, vote for Shining Force 2 in the Genesis category!

Ok, in Genesis category from an artistic standpoint Flashback, Gunstar Heroes, and Herzog Zwei all could also probably deserve your vote, but I'm still pulling for Shining Force 2.

Dane Marco said:

Some of those match-ups were downright cruel!! How can I choose between Chrono Trigger, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Earthbound?! Or Final Fantasy XIII and Heavy Rain?!

I'm with the Wikipedia. There are seven generations of video gaming, at least until the 3DS kicks off generation eight.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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theblackgecko on Smithsonian Accepting Console-Generational Votes For 'Art Of Video Games' Exhibit: I'm with the Wikipedia. There are seven generations of video gaming, at least until the 3DS kicks off generation eight....

Dane Marco on Smithsonian Accepting Console-Generational Votes For 'Art Of Video Games' Exhibit: Some of those match-ups were downright cruel!! How can I choose between Chrono Trigger, Legend of Zelda: A Link to...

NaviFairy on Smithsonian Accepting Console-Generational Votes For 'Art Of Video Games' Exhibit: This is a call to arms. Please, everyone, vote for Shining Force 2 in the Genesis category! Ok, in Genesis...

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