Don't be fooled by the following words, while they may start
out like something only rich white women would be into, they
actually end up somewhere pretty cool. The Boca Raton Museum of Art currently has
an exhibition entitled the Art of Video Games.
This particular museum, though located in what is generally
known as no-man's-land for people under the age of 65, has hosted many a cool
exhibition. Boca, itself, gets kind of a bad rap for the aforementioned
reason, but this gaming exhibition is proof of growth.
"Video games foster the mindset that allows creativity to grow," said Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, Inc. These words greet you as you enter the exhibition. Displays of older and newer systems along with interactive ways to learn more about them line the walls, each containing four games from a specific gaming era. They start at the beginning, the '70s through the early '80s.
Those interested in creating what would later become a worldwide phenomenon had very little in the way of pixels and color to work with. Pac-Man, for example, was one of the first arcade games that was brought into people's homes. The first version had only 4kb of memory, that's like half a Word document.
The next section focuses on games created in the '80s to the early '90s. They show a broader visual scope in gaming, and show that this was the time when gaming started to be taken more seriously. Game designers and programmers began being recognized as artists and storytellers by those who had previously shoved them into lockers in high school.
This was especially so when the Legend of Zelda debuted in 1897. It was one of the first large scale exploration games with a vast fictional world, history, folklore, and unique character arcs. It set the tone for games like World of Warcraft (WoW) and Call of Duty. Shigeru Miyamoto, responsible for many popular video games including Mario Bros., was inspired by his childhood home in Japan and wanted to bring that scenery to the video game landscape.
The transition era, ranging from the mid-'90s through the early aughts was an industry boom. Two dimensional games were starting to fade to the background as three dimensional games moved to the forefront. The landscape, ever important as it set the tone for action and narrative, became more realistic than previously. This was time when Tomb Raider received widespread recognition. It was the first game to do so with a female protagonist. Lara Croft represented fearlessness, a woman capable of having Indiana Jones-like adventures. Additional storage space on the CD-rom allotted for full voiceover and high quality cut scenes.
And so it went, each display hosting childhood memories, going all the way up to 2010 with games like Portal, Minecraft, Mass Effect, and Metal Gear Solid, each display containing a fun piece of information for whatever game you select.
If I've sounded like I know what I'm talking about, it's only because I went to this exhibit. I had no idea about the backstory or history behind the games I used to love. Did you know that Miyamoto had wanted Yoshi to be a part of the Mario-verse from the beginning, but had to wait for the technology to catch up with him? I didn't. But once the tech got to where he needed it to be it allowed him to debut my favorite dino in Super Mario World.
The exhibit isn't all history, though. There's a section of game-play were you can relive some of your favorite gaming moments with Flower, Pac-Man, Myst, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Super Mario Bros. There are also concept sketches for everything from Sonic to WoW to Fallout 3 and videos on display featuring game developers, programmers, designers, all talking about their passion for the industry.
Whether you're a noob or a veteran gamer, this platform for telling the story and artistry of video games is like no other.
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