Watch this talk on why video games are world's 'most transformative art form' - Philly


Oct. 21, 2014 10:27 am

Watch this talk on why video games are world’s ‘most transformative art form’

At the Gaming Expo at the Impact Hub, author and Smithsonian guest curator Chris Melissinos looked back on 40 years of video games.

Chris Melissinos speaking at Impact Hub on the cultural importance of video games.

(Photo by Jason Sherman)

Last Thursday night, history unfolded: Chris Melissinos presented a journey through the past 40 years of video games to a full room of entrepreneurs and gamers.

Melissinos, who co-authored the book The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect, was also the guest curator of the highly successful “The Art of Video Games” exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The 6,000-square-foot installation examines the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium. The exhibition will travel to 10 additional museums through 2016.

The Gaming Expo took place at the Impact Hub, and was hosted by Tech in Motion and a handful of sponsors. Local video game studios had exhibition tables set up for people to try out their games. (Here’s the full list of companies who attended.)

You can watch Melissinos’s full presentation below:

Melissinos started off with a history of video games, starting in the 1970s. It was also part personal history: Melissinos started programming games when he was 9 on a Commodore VIC-20.

“We were figuring out how to tell a story to share with people in these incredibly minuscule spaces of only 5 kilobytes,” he said.

Citing Ed Fries, formerly of Microsoft, Melissinos added: “Writing a program back then was like writing a Haiku, every character mattered.”

After seeing various commercials and games during Melissinos’s presentation, some gamers in the crowd were amazed at the depth of the presentation.

“I never realized how much of an art form and part of history video games truly are,” said Dan Torres, a local video game aficionado. “It was an honor to listen to Chris talk about something we are all passionate about.”


"Video games are a permanent part of our global culture. We are using games to better understand health, science, and understand ADD, Alzheimer's, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Video games are the most transformative art form that exists on Earth."
Video game historian Chris Melissinos
Gaming Expo

A local game studio presenting at last week’s Gaming Expo. (Photo by Jason Sherman)

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