A history of video games visits close to home for FAU students

Maddy Mesa

The History of Game Consoles. Each of the 20 game consoles on display show four concepts in video games: action, target, adventure, and tactics and how they evolved throughout the years. Photo by Christine Capozziello

Walking into The Art of Video Games exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, you are greeted with video game footage on a loop spanning a 40-year history.

Turn the corner and the adventure begins with 20 game consoles representing the history that is video games.

There’s everything from old school Atari VCS games to the latest PlayStation 3 releases.

From now until Jan. 13, 2013, old and new gamers alike can come visit this interactive exhibit on the history of video games at the Boca Raton Museum of Art located in Mizner Park, only 2.5 miles away from FAU’s Boca campus.

Students with a valid student ID can view the Art of Video Games exhibit, first seen at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, for only $5.00.

The exhibit is Chris Melissinos’ brainchild. Melissinos is the creator and guest curator for The Art of Video Games exhibit. He has been writing, programming and working with video games his whole life.

“I always believed that video games were more than what many people believed them to be,” he said. This is the exhibit’s first of 10 scheduled stops over the next three years.

“We’re really excited we get to be the first stop on it and not the end stop,” said Marisa J. Pascucci, curator of 20th Century and Contemporary Art at the museum.

Marlon Oakley, an FAU alumnus, was touring the exhibit last Sunday afternoon. “I think it’s excellent. I think it really shows diversity of games and how it’s evolved over time, as well as the different nuances that are in games,” he said.

Five different interactive games — Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst and Flower — chosen by Melissinos himself, are available to play in the exhibit. These games display how graphics have changed throughout the years and range from puzzle games to arcade games.

Father and son gamers Scott and Ben Cooper got to compare the different gamer generations.

“It is pretty neat to be here and see all the games from the past and the kids are kind of into it,” said father Scott Cooper. “I think he’ll [Ben] have a better appreciation for it and all the hard work and math and science that goes into creating this work of art.”

Ben likes playing Halo and Madden and tried out the “old school games” like Pac-Man at the exhibit.

Fallout 3 concept sketches, along with concept art and illustrations for World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, and Metal Gear Solid 4, on display at The Art of Video Game exhibit at The Boca Raton Museum of Art in Mizner Park. Photo by Christine Capozziello

“Well, it’s kind of weird because it’s all fuzzy and the graphics now are so much better,” said 10-year-old Ben Cooper. “I’m happy that there are better graphics.”

At the beginning of the exhibit, almost unnoticed next to the giant screen of flashing lights and video games, is a message to visitors.

The Three Voices: Artist, Game, and Player are, “essentially what this video game exhibit is trying to convey,” Melissinos said.

It explains that all three, artist, game and player, are all connected. Like the Holy Trinity, one could not exist without the other.

The message mentions video games are more than shooter games or fancy graphics. It says they are the medium an artist uses to convey his or her story. They are a world created for the player to interact with and manipulate.

The exhibit continues until Jan. 13, 2013 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Mizner Park. Cost is $5.00 for students and $10.00 for everyone else. The exhibit is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.