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Video games at MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently announced that it has acquired fourteen video games for its permanent collection, formally putting to rest the long-running discussion about whether Super Mario, Pacman and their tiny pixelated friends can be considered works of art. There were howls of protests from traditional critics, of course, and equally loud cries of “it’s about time” from console connoisseurs, but here at the BBC World Service, the argument seems settled: to most people under fifty years old, computer games are an essential expression of popular culture, just as films, music and television are.

The overdue recognition of games by the academy does pose some interesting questions, though: What, exactly, should museums be acquiring? And is there any point in putting an Atari game system in a glass case, where no-one can play it? Andrew Purcell is in New York and he’s made this report.

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