And yet, Melissinos is the guest curator for the Smithsonian American Museum of Art's newest exhibit, "The Art of Video Games." That's right. Video games are now included in the leading art museum in the nation. What else could this mean but ART?
How about legitimacy for an entire generation of gamers who grew up playing 8bit games and weren't taken seriously by the rest of mainstream culture?
"It was intentional," Melissinos said. The medium of video games, after 40 years, is "worthy of examination as an art form," he said. It is also the first reflection of nerd culture within a museum that, Melissinos said, is arguably one of the arbiters of what is art in the world. The weight of the Smithsonian's stamp of approval not only starts a cultural dialogue about whether "Pitfall!" is art, but also what devotion to video games actually means. FULL POST
When it comes to the words "video games," most people think about a fast-paced, action-oriented setting, possibly with lots of shooting and maybe even some splashes of blood for good measure. But gamers don't only crave that type of experience - in fact, both gamers and critics alike give rave reviews to titles that cultivate intellectual and even spiritual gaming leanings.
March 13 marks the official launch of the fourth game from indie studio thatgamecompany, known for their interesting and beautiful titles that defy conventional standards. Called "Journey," this "interactive parable to experience a person's life passage," as it is described on the official website, places the player in the role of a silent robed figure standing alone in a sea of glimmering sand dunes.
In the distance, a great mountain is silhouetted against the sky with a glow of light at the peak. Your destination is to reach that place, and learn what it may contain. The metaphor is clear: This is our life journey, and we will walk it to pursue whatever may lie at its end.
Unlike most current games, "Journey" is a very pared down, simplistic experience. In fact, the game only contains one word of text: The opening title. Beyond that, there is no dialogue, only the sound of your character's feet slicing through the sand as it presses forward. From start to finish, everything about this mysterious and beautiful experience is entirely open to interpretation, and the overall feeling of playing is one of serenity and peace. FULL POST
Ever since the 1988 release of "Super Mario Bros. 3," gamers have obsessed over its intricacy, its difficulty, and the fact that it's one of the most fun, memorable video games ever created.
In 2007, it was even named alongside such classics as "Zork" and "Tetris" in the Game Canon, a Library of Congress-inspired list of games that ought to be preserved because of their lasting impact and importance to the medium.
One big addition to the world of "Super Mario Bros." in this third Nintendo Entertainment System game about the two adventurous plumbers (fourth if you count the original "Mario Bros.," of course) was the creation of the airship levels. The continuous scrolling and the need to move quickly, at times, from one side of the screen to the complete opposite side – all while dodging bullets fired from cannons, of course – made for one of the most challenging video game experiences yet, at that time.
Now, Julius von Brunk, of New York, New York – who calls "Super Mario Bros. 3" the "Cadillac of games" – has captured one of the famous airships, complete with Mario and Luigi, in a format most appropriate for video games: Lego blocks (just the latest geeky creation with Legos, mind you).
CNN Geek Out spoke to von Brunk about his creation.
CNN Geek Out: So what is it about "Super Mario" that captures the imagination, anyway?
Von Brunk: When I was 6 years old, the original "Super Mario Bros." game was the first game I had for NES - and since then, I've been true to the franchise up until the era of 3-D Mario games. I still played some of the GameCube titles when they were launched (in fact, Dr. Mario was my chosen Super Smash Bros. Melee fighter), but frankly, nothing can compare to the thrill and replay value of the primary series for NES and SNES!
"Super Mario Bros." was an early platform game with dozens of levels, power-ups, enemies and depth, which made it an ideal universe for me to latch-on to and create many tributes to in my artistic media. The series itself is like nothing else the world has seen previously, with so many original themes and elements - from the music to the game synopsis. Sure, at the end of the day, the games boil down to a standard "hero saves the princess" cliche, but it's the deliverance and originality of the worlds and characters which makes it unique on its own; let's not forget the Lewis Carroll-inspired ideas which went into the original game's creation - which of course is an endless stream of imagination in its own respect!
Darnassus is a little quieter these days, as are Silverwood and Galtrev. The virtual watering holes are changing once again.
The latest and greatest massively multiplayer online role-playing game (abbreviated as MMORPG or MMO) on the block is "Star Wars: The Old Republic." And according to unscientific numbers based on crowdsourcing from gamers, even since the beta of this much anticipated game was released, some of the other major MMOs - including "World of Warcraft," ("WoW") "Rift" and "Lord of the Rings Online" ("LOTRO") - have seen a steady decline in player activity.
In December, people from my guild in "LOTRO" excitedly discussed what kinds of "Star Wars" characters they’d like to play as the "Star Wars: The Old Republic" launch date loomed. Soon after, several of them left "LOTRO" to play the new game full-time, even some of the officers and the guild founder.
I watched my “logged in friends” panel get smaller and smaller and wondered if they would come back or if they had moved on for good.
Players switching games isn’t uncommon - as trends come and go, so do the crowds of adoring fans. But any record of their movement from game to game is still something of a secret. FULL POST