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The prestigious Museum of Modern Art in New York has elevated the humble video game into its pantheon of art objects, and has named the first 14 of the 40 or so games that it will eventually add to its collection.

Playability and pure gaming goodness were not enough for a game to be accepted into MoMA’s rarified atmosphere. Neither visuals nor aesthetics – although important – would suffice, either. Among the criteria that elevate a game beyond the quotidian are the elegance of its code and the behavior of the game player that the game evokes.

The first 14 games chosen span a broad range of styles, from the minimalist simplicity of the original Tetris to the ethereal boredom of Myst to the low-res sentimentalism of Passages to the inevitable doom of Canabalt.

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Tetris (1984)
  • Another World (1991)
  • Myst (1993)
  • SimCity 2000 (1994)
  • vib-ribbon (1999)
  • The Sims (2000)
  • Katamari Damacy (2004)
  • EVE Online (2003)
  • Dwarf Fortress (2006)
  • Portal (2007)
  • flOw (2006)
  • Passage (2008)
  • Canabalt (2009)

What no Deal or No Deal?

The first 14 games will be unveiled in MoMA’s Philip Johnson Art and Design Galleries in March of next year, where they – or presentations of their gamey essences – will take their places alongside such other iconic objects as the original iPod, Lego blocks, and the Bic lighter.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk

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