Is 2012 the year video games became accepted as art? First there was "The Art of Video Games" at the Smithsonian. There was an exhibition at London's City Hall. The Museum of Modern Art started a games collection. And this weekend, the Museum of the Moving Image looks closely at one specific game, 1961's Spacewar!, and its influence over the past several decades. Though perhaps not the first video game, Spacewar!, developed by students and researchers at MIT, was the first shooting game and among the first to use digital (as opposed to analog) technology. "Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off" has a catalogue of twenty-one games for arcade consoles, Game Gear, iPad, and other devices, including classics like Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Star Fox as well as less-remembered games like Vertical Force and Yar's Revenge and works as recent as Halo 4. Upon entry, visitors are given four arcade tokens to play. You can play Spacewar! with a friend here.
"Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off" runs December 15-March 3 at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, (718) 777-6888. Closed Mondays.