You can finally tell your girlfriend that you blasting the opposition in Call of Duty is just you appreciating fine art. (We'll wait while you finish running around losing your mind with joy.) The Smithsonian American Art Museum's upcoming Art of Video Games exhibit aims to prove the same point gamers have been arguing for years: that games tell stories and engage audiences just as much as film and television. Curated by Past Pixels founder Chris Melissinos, who owns more than 40 systems (!), the exhibit will cover PC and console gaming from the early ’80s to now. No mobile gaming or sports games were put in the mix, but hey, it’s a start.

The 240 games on the ballot were selected by a thorough group of journalists, designers and gaming industry execs from various entities including Bioware, EA, Wired and Penny Arcade. Thankfully, the question of what games make the final cut is being decided democratically: You can vote here up through April 7 to select which 80 make the cut.

The exhibit will run from March 16, 2012 – September 30, 2012. Also: Suck it, Roger Ebert!