MoMA adds Magnavox Odyssey and six classics to game design exhibit

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has added a classic console and six more games to its current exhibit celebrating "applied design" in video games.

Additional to the 14 games that comprised the original collection, the Museum has added the 1972 games console Magnavox Odyssey as well as Pong, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Tempest, Yar's Revenge and the more modern Minecraft.

"Ralph Baer's Magnavox Odyssey is a masterpiece of engineering and industrial design," wrote MoMA's Paul Galloway, on the museum's website. "It's hard to overstate the importance of his place in the birth of the industry."

In March this year, MoMA added video games to its architecture and design department, including Pac-man, Myst, Portal and SimCity 2000. At the time, senior curator Paola Antonelli said she wanted to gradually increase the collection to as many as 40 games.

"The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design," she said. "It's a field that MoMA has already explored and collected extensively and one of the most important and oft-discussed expressions of contemporary design creativity."

The exhibits are housed in a larger gallery installation that celebrates diversity in practical design. They join an eclectic mix of objects including a man-made beehive, a portable homeless shelter and the now famous wind-powered bamboo mine-sweeper used in Afghanistan.

MoMA's exhibit leans towards games from the classic era of arcade machines and 8-bit consoles. "In the infancy of this field a small number of visionaries laid the groundwork for where we are now, an industry of tremendous range and creative output," added Galloway. "If I have learned anything in this process it's that the early, seemingly simple games remain as vital and compelling today as they were when we played them in the cacophonous arcades or on the living room floors of our youth."

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