The Smithsonian explores the past, present and future of games in these five amazing talks

Videos for five talks given at the Smithsonian American Art Museum about video games last week.

If you've ever lamented the lack of institutional validation your favorite past-time enjoys, consider attending the Smithsonian American Art Museum's six-month exhibit about the art of video games, which kicked off last Friday. And the exhibit is not just about art and games, it's also about the people who make video games and those that influence and are influenced by them.

Beginning Friday and running over the weekend, the museum held a slew of talks it branded as "GameFest," bringing in some of the most influential video game creators of all time to discuss their craft, where it came from and where it's headed. If you didn't make it to Washington, DC you should take a moment (an admittedly very long moment) to sit down and watch all of the panels which were recorded end-to-end by the museum.

We've included them all here for ease of bookmarking and viewing.

Evolution of Video Games: Pioneers

Exhibit curator Chris Melissinos moderates a panel discussion about the evolution of video games with some of the industry's pioneers. That means a great chat with Mike Mika (former studio head at Backbone Interactive), Rand Miller (co-founder of Cyan), Don Daglow (of Neverwinter Nights fame) and Keith Robinson (Intellivision).

The Evolution of Video Games: The Future

Paul Barnett (Mythic Entertainment), Mark DeLoura (formerly of THQ), Ken Levine (Irrational Games) and Kellee Santiago (thatgamecompany) talk about the future of video games during this fascinating 1 hour and 29 minute panel.

Nolan Bushnell: Video Games in Retrospect

Bushnell, founder of Atari, talks about the birth and growth of video games.

A Conversation with Hideo Kojima

Metal Gear-created Hideo Kojima talks about the craft of making video games.

It's All in the Design with Robin Hunicke

Thatgamecompany's Robin Hunicke discusses game design and Journey.

If you enjoyed these excellent discussions you might want to swing by the Smithsonian to check out "Video Games: Beyond Play" on May 4. That day will see two talks, one on Video Games at Work and another on how video games can change society and culture.

Video Games at Work will feature panelists from health care, education, civics, journalism and national defense talking about how video games change those areas. I'm fortunate enough to be among those speakers.

Game Change: Society and Culture is a discussion about how games have influenced academics research, science, art and education.

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