Super Mario, Doom II, WoW in Smithsonian show

The public voted to include many predictable titles in the 2012 exhibition of 40 years of gaming, but sports and simulators were left out.

World of Warcraft is one of the games visitors will be able to play. Blizzard Entertainment

Are video games a form of art? Whatever your views are, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has released a list of titles to be showcased in its exhibition " The Art of Video Games "--and the choices are bound to fuel debate.

The retrospective show is set to run from March 16 through September 30, 2012, and will feature blockbuster games such as Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, SimCity, The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Halo 2, as well as lesser-known titles. See the full list here (PDF).

Visitors to the museum in Washington, D.C. will get to play Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and World of Warcraft as part of the display.

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• Help Smithsonian curate video game exhibit

From mid-February to mid-April, voters picked 80 games from a pool of 240 candidates divided into 5 eras, 20 gaming systems, and 4 genres spanning nearly 40 years. The earliest is Combat, released in 1977 for the Atari 2600.

Notable omissions are sports and simulator games, as well as early-generation games such as Spacewar and Pong.

There are few first-person shooters; Doom II is included as an entry in the DOS/Windows "action" genre in the late 1990s "transition" era.

While the show will have large screenshot samples of long-gone games from the vaults like The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate, and Spy vs Spy, both of which I spent hours playing, there will be no Gran Turismo 5, Call of Duty (though it was nominated), Tekken, FIFA, Madden NFL, or even Guitar Hero.

What do you think of the selections?

 

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