I recently wrote a post that expressed my love for videogames, I also reflected on their relevance as a source of education for many young people. This was inspired by the Phoenix Art Museum’s (PAM) installation of a video game exhibit. I finally made it to the exhibit and today I will be sharing with you my response as an artist and videogame fanatic.
Let me start off by saying, this exhibit didn’t fit the hype. It wasn’t a bad installation, It was somewhat stimulating, but I have to say, it was kind of one note. It just didn’t reach my expectations. I had a feeling this was going to be an interactive exhibit. and it was, but I expected tons of artwork too. I expected storyboarding, sculptures, and scripts. I was expecting a little more depth. The exhibit consisted of 2 smaller rooms and 1 large main room. Within these rooms I came across a glass case that had some concept art inside. These drawings are awesome! You can tell how quickly these artists work. Almost as if their hand can barely keep up with their brain. As amazing as these drawings are, there was definitely something left to be desired. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I love drawing so much. And that I went there with the expectation of being surrounded by storyboards and sketches.
If you’ve walked through a used videogame store then you’ve seen most of this exhibit. There were some older things and a few rare systems that are worth mentioning. Old systems like the Sega Masters System and the Intellivision System. But as I was leaving the exhibit I thought, what about hand-held systems? I was also hoping to see some remnant souvenir from one of the video game events. In the late 80’s early 90’s there were some amazing video game contests. During these events they would have rare items and release innovations for the future. For example the Nintendo Powerglove. Oh man, I just don’t think there was ever anything as epic as the Powerglove. The more I reflect, the more I realize this exhibit lacked a lot of consistency.
Okay, that was a little brutal, and now I’m feeling guilty, so let’s talk about some positive things about this exhibit. I loved seeing the transitions that videogames went through since the early 80’s. There has been a lot of growth and development in the last 30 years. Development in video game styles, graphics and technology. Now you have videogamers who prefer action packed ‘first person shooters’ or realistic sports games. But me, I am an adventure, RPG (role playing game) super fan. Games like Zelda and Final Fantasy. After talking videogames with a few fellow nerds, the consensus is that Zelda clearly paved the road for fantasy video games. Even though I love Zelda, my heart belongs to Final Fantasy. And there was barely any Final fantasy at this exhibit.
I gotta say, Seeing some of these systems and videogames streaming on different monitors was very nostalgic. Being at the museum, watching people get excited about videogames is something I’ll always support. Videogames are such a huge part of the culture and community. But if I’m going to be honest, it didn’t take long before my kids said “Dad, I’m bored.” So we went home, plugged in the old SNES and started playing Mario.