In short: The battle being waged to certify video games as art just got very real, and this is a huge victory for those on the video games' and their creators side of things. MoMA—or The Museum of Modern Art—is adding some video games to their collection. And they're even putting the games in the museum.
This morning, MoMA announced that they'd acquired 14 video games, the first of 40 on their wish list for the future. The initial list of games are:
• Pac-Man (1980)
• Tetris (1984)
• Another World (1991) [Ed. aka 'Out of This World'.]
• Myst (1993)
• SimCity 2000 (1994)
• vib-ribbon (1999)
• The Sims (2000)
• Katamari Damacy (2004)
• EVE Online (2003)
• Dwarf Fortress (2006)
• Portal (2007)
• flOw (2006)
• Passage (2008)
• Canabalt (2009)
Per MoMA, the games will be "install[ed] for your delight in the Museum’s Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013." Which means—yes—MoMA will finally have a video arcade.
The debate of whether or not video games constitute art has been a long running one, with plenty of people weighing in (including the infamous Roger Ebert "Video Games Can Never Be Art" thread). But anyone who's been paying attention could've seen this one coming.
After all, Mark Essen's games were part of an exhibition in The New Museum in 2009. Cory Arcangel's video game hacks played prominently into his exhibition at The Whitney Museum last year. And independent video game magazine Kill Screen has been throwing parties at MoMA over the last year as well, showcasing indie games in a museum setting, an especially progressive moment for this movement.
When all is said and done, the greatest implication this may have is that—in the same way Hollywood studios started building out "independent" production houses branches to make ostensibly unconventional fare to add to their awards piles—the video game industry will begin to covet this kind of attention, and add more resources to it. In other words, for every new Call of Duty game that gets released every year, there may be a few more Portals to go along with it. Just remember: There was once a time when Myst was a very, very big release.
And that time may be coming again, soon.