Train2Game News: Smithsonian adds video games to its collection

SmithsonianThe Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., has announced the addition of two video games to its permanent collection.

This is as part of “an ongoing commitment to the study and preservation of video games as an artistic medium.”

Flower (2009), a game by Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago from thatgamecompany, is to be inducted into the collection alongside Halo 2600 (2010) by Ed Fries, the former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft.

Explaining its decision in a statement, the Smithsonian said: “Video games offer a compelling avant-garde performance space, activated by artists and players alike. These media art practices are distinct from film, video and theatre and mark a critical development in the history of art.

“The inclusion of video games furthers the mission of the museum and ensures the ongoing preservation, study and interpretation of video games as part of the national collection of American art.”

The addition of these games to one of the biggest museums in the world is a great step forward for the games industry. The world is starting to accept video games as art in much the same way films are considered art.  We can only hope more follow the Smithsonian’s lead.

The Smithsonian added in its statement that it is looking to expand its collection of video in the future.

Train2Game news: Playtesting ‘necessary’ part of game design process say Thatgamecompany


Train2Game blog readers may have read our post earlier this week in which Star Wars: The Old Republic project lead James Ohlen said playtesting is a very important part of game development.

Well it seems that he isn’t the only one. Thatgamecompany, the indie studio behind Flower and the upcoming Journey, recently spoke to Gamasutra, with founder Kellee Santiago revealing playtesting is an integral part of their game development

“We are exploring different emotions in game design. If you were to have this emotion of, “I want it to feel joyous but slightly sad,” and you go to an artist, the artist can probably bang out some art in a couple days, some concept art that has those feelings.”

“You go to a composer and you say that, and they can probably do it in half a day, write out a tune that has joyous but slightly sad.” said Santiago.

And while sound and art & animation style can be tested relatively quickly, the Thatgamecompany founder believes that playtesting is the only way to get a good feel of game design concepts.

“You go to a game designer and say, “I want to feel game mechanics that are joyous and slightly sad,” there’s no real defined process for it, other than making something and having other people play it, and finding out if that’s right or not” she said.

“And it’s just a longer process, and it is because it is still so new, I think. Prototyping and playtesting is just so necessary to the craft right now.” Santiago concluded.

Of course, it isn’t only game developers and QA Testers who playtest games, with open beta becoming increasingly popular. As reported by the Train2Game blog, the Battlefield 3 beta begins today, while Valve’s Chet Faliszek also told us that testing is a hugely important part of game development.

So Train2Game, how important do you believe playtesting is to game design?  Will there every be a defined process of testing game design concepts?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra]