May 10, 2011 at 2:31 PM ET
More than 80 video games, from "Donkey Kong" to "Metal Gear Solid," have been chosen by the public to be part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's "The Art of Video Games" exhibit in Washington, D.C., starting next spring.
The exhibit will focus on the last 40 years' "evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies," the Smithsonian says.
Curator of the exhibit, Chris Melissinos, who also spent 15 years at Sun Microsystems, where he was chief gaming officer and chief evangelist), along with museum staffers, and an advisory group of game developers, designers, "industry pioneers" and journalists, put 240 games on a public ballot for the decision on which games should be shown.
"The games were selected based on a variety of criteria, including visual effects, creative use of new technologies, how the game fit into the narrative of the exhibition, and how world events and popular culture influenced the message of the game," the museum says on its website.
Voting was done between Feb. 14 and April 17, and an impressive 3.7 million votes were cast by 119,000 people in 175 countries.
"The winning games, along with the discussions on the forum and the emails we’ve received, show that people invested a lot of thought before casting their votes, considering (and sometimes debating) the artistic merits of each game," said the museum on its blog.
"We are thrilled that this has generated so much discussion, and hope that this is just the beginning as we continue to develop the exhibition over the next 10 months."
The show will run from March 16, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2012. The games (full list is below and here) will be shown in the exhibition as screenshots and short video clips.
There will also be five games that visitors can play (for a "few minutes," the Smithsonian says), as examples of those that best demonstrate interactivity: "Pac-Man," "Super Mario Brothers," "The Secret of Monkey Island," "Myst" and ... wait for it ... "World of Warcraft" (You knew it had to to be in there, didn't you?).
Melissinos is now v-p of corporate marketing for Verisign. But games are his passion.
"I started programming at 9, wrote a game at 12," he told G4 TV earlier this year. "I collected systems. I’ve got 43 at home now, some of which are going to be on loan to the museum for this exhibition."
Check the list and see if your favorites did — or didn't — make it:
1943: The Battle of Midway
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
Attack of the Mutant Camels
Dune II: Battle for Arrakis
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy VII
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metroid Prime 2: Echos
Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Phantasy Star IV
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
Shadow of Colossus
Sid Meier's Pirates!
Spy vs Spy
Star Fox: Assault
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
Super Mario 64
Super Mario Brothers 3
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario World
The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure