Gamers, warm up your thumbs: “The Art of Video Games” exhibition opens this weekend at the American Art Museum with three days packed with films, live-action gaming, and panel discussions with video designers, game developers and composers. In between the scheduled events, squeeze in some play at the consoles set up all over the exhibition. The exhibition is one of the first major exhibitions to explore the evolution of video games as an art form. As curator Chris Melissinos told Smithsonian Magazine, “Video games are the only forms of artistic expression that allow the authoritative voice of the author to remain true while allowing the observer to explore and experiment.”
Some highlights from the full Gamefest schedule:
Friday, March 16
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Learn about the past, present and future of video games in two panels led by curator Chris Melissinos. Gaming pioneers RJ Mical, Mike Mika, Rand Miller, Don Daglow and Keith Robinson will discuss the roots of the gaming world. Then, Paul Barnett, Mark DeLoura, Ken Levine and Kellee Santiago will highlight some of the latest innovations of the field.
8:30 p.m. TRON screening.
Saturday, March 17
2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. While you play, enjoy live remixes of Gameboy and Commodore 64 tunes by 8 Bit Weapon and arrangements of familiar scores by Triforce Quartet.
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Game designer Robin Hunicke of thatgamecompany will explain the world of video game design and the company’s highly anticipated PlayStation 3 game, Journey.
Sunday, March 18
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Meet the cast of Seth Gordon’s 2007 documentary film, The King of Kongs, which follows Steve Wiebe in his quest to beat the world high score of Donkey Kong.
“The Art of Video Games” is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from March 16 through September 30, 2012.