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MoMA adding 'Pac-Man,' 'EVE Online,' 'Canabalt,' and other games to design collection

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The Museum of Modern Art in New York has announced what it calls the "seedbed" of a video game collection: 14 classic titles spanning the last three decades. The games, including Pac-Man, Myst, EVE Online, Dwarf Fortress, Portal, and Canabalt, were picked as "outstanding examples of interaction design," whether because of the way they encourage certain behaviors in the player, play with space, time, and technology, or provide a unique aesthetic experience. They'll be installed in March of 2013, and MoMA says it plans to eventually bring the total collection to about 40 titles. Currently, Minecraft, M.U.L.E., Grim Fandango, and several others round out the wish list. It's an echo of the Smithsonian's temporary Art of Video Games exhibit, which opened in early 2012 and covered several eras of gaming.

As curator Paola Antonelli explains, presenting the games to visitors will require overcoming some unique challenges. Some of the games on the list are relatively short and simple, but others require days or weeks of dedicated play, and still others can't be experienced without an active community. In some cases, this just means that visitors will play a section chosen to "enable visitors to experience the game firsthand, without frustrations." For games like EVE Online, Antonelli plans to create a "guided tour" with the help of players and designers. While MoMA insists that video games can indeed be art, this particular installation will reside in the Architecture and Design collection.