Video Games at the Smithsonian

     “The Art of Video Games” exhibition opens at the
Smithsonian American Art Museum this weekend, and
I am almost as excited to check this out as to finally
maybe get to go to PAX Prime someday.

So when the New York Times did a brief article on the
opening, I had to give it a quick read.

I am one of those kids that grew up with video games.
My grandparents had a Commodore 64 (which is now in a box in my basement) and an Atari 2600.  Those two machines were my first introduction to gaming.  We either played “Wheel of Fortune” or “Winter Olympics” on the Commodore, or the seven of us cousins fought over who got to play “Pitfall” on the Atari.  They kept us busy while the adults got to act like adults and talk about grown up things that we wanted little to do with.

I used to go to the library to play games on their crappy little Apple IIe.  I was jealous of my friends whose parents could afford gaming systems.  I often begged my mom to make the 45 minute drive to Baraboo so I could play Atari and grandma’s.  So one Christmas, when I was 12, when we opened a giant box to find a Nintendo inside, it was all I could do to contain myself.

My first ever job was cleaning tables at A&W solely so I could afford to buy a Super Nintendo.  As soon as I had that machine in my house I quit.  In college I belonged to a gaming club.  We would secretly install Starcraft onto the lab machines in one of the little known basement labs and play hours of Starcraft.  It was more fun than stumbling around, downtown in a drunken stupor.

I first saw mention of this exhibit a few months back and told my husband we were going.  I have never been to DC. It’s on the list of places I would like to go.  I want to get a library card at the the Library of Congress.  I want to tour the monuments and see the Capital and the White House. And I want to go to the Smithsonian.  He was pretty open to the idea.

I’m not sure when this will happen.  Sometime this summer, after school is done and before the event closes in September.  But I eagerly await walking through the history of video games.  My own little history of what helped shape who I am.

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