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Smithsonian acquires Flower, Halo 2600 for its permanent collection

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum announced today it acquired two video games, thatgamecompany's Flower and former Xbox VP Ed Fries' Halo 2600, for its permanent collection.

The games were previously included in the Smithsonian's The Art of Video Games exhibition, and will join the museum's "growing collection of film and media arts and represent an ongoing commitment to the study and preservation of video games as an artistic medium," according to an announcement.

"The best video games are a great expression of art and culture in our democracy," said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in a statement. "I am excited that this new medium is now a permanent part of our collections alongside other forms of video, electronic and code-based art."

"Flower and Halo 2600 are important additions to our collection," said curator Michael Mansfield, "but they are just the beginning of our work in this area. By bringing these games into a public collection, the museum has the opportunity to investigate both the material science of video game components and develop best practices for the digital preservation of the source code for the games themselves."

Flower was released in 2009 for PlayStation 3 and Halo 2600, a de-make of Bungie's console shooter, was released by Fries and AtariAge in 2010. Both titles are on display in The Art of Video Games, which is currently on a 10-city tour throughout the United States.