art deco + urban + zombies = BIOSHOCK

For those of you who are not video game aficionados, like myself, BioShock is a survival horror first-person shooter with role-playing game customization and stealth elements. The game, set in an alternate 1960, but is stylized from the 1920s art deco era, puts the player in the role of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the underwater city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. (wikipedia)

I’ve never actually played the game – I first saw it a few years back, while I was watching a friend play it. But I always remembered it because of the first impression it gave me.  The music was eerie, like something out of The Shining. The phonographs will occasionally play music from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The mechanics of the zombies remind me of the movie 28 Days Later. But the best and most memorable aspect of the game is the design.  The posters and signs look like something from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. And I especially loved the steam punk inspired characters.

The game has received critical acclaim for its design, and is now being featured in the Smithsonian’s Art of Video Games Exhibit running from March 16, 2012 – September 30, 2012. Irrational Games’ BioShock was one of 240 video games nominated for the exhibit, and became one of the top 80 currently displayed at the museum. To view the full list of games, click here.

“In addition to the 80 games . . . . five playable games will be included in the exhibition: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower.” Go to the Smithsonian’s site to download the The Art of Video Games Exhibition Checklist, which features screen shots of classic games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, amongst many others.

The museum describes the exhibit as one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. It features some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers.”

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