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MoMA debuts 14 vintage video games at the show Applied Design

Deeming video games an art form in their own right, MoMA purchased 14 kinds last fall and is unveiling them (most are playable!) in its new exhibition.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Video games in the "Applied Design" exhibit at MoMA

Hot on the heels of "Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off," an interactive show featuring throwback video games at the Museum of the Moving Image (it closed on Sunday, March 3), comes "Applied Design," a new show at the Museum of Modern Art. It showcases some of the museum's newest—and most kid-friendly—acquisitions ever: 14 vintage video games, such as Pac-Man and The Sims, most of which are playable. As MoMA assistant curator Kate Carmody describes in the video below, the Museum of Modern Art isn't just playing around; it considers video game design a bona fide art form, and is going out of its way to acquire a world-class collection of them (it has 26 others on its wish list, we hear). The most critical aspect of what makes a video game worthy of MoMA, Carmody explains, is its very interactivity: how the user in effect "communicates" with the designer when playing the game. The youngest gamers may not know from video game aesthetics but they are sure to revel in the chance to step back in time while indulging their love of games—especially, let's face it, games you play on screens.


"Applied Design" is on view at the Museum of Modern Art through January 31, 2014.


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