Can video games be considered art?

I remember the first time I was asked that question. It was a few years ago, and I didn’t know how to answer at first. On one hand, the narrative and stylistic design of some games can often be considered “artistic”. Contrariwise, art requires some level of community recognition, something which modern video games rarely receive. I was at an impasse.

But that will change in March of 2012, when the Smithsonian Institute of Washington D.C. will open a six-month-long exhibition on the evolution of video games as an artistic medium [via Smithsonian American Art Museum]:

Games Are Art

The Smithsonian website explains that the exhibition, named The Art of Video Games, “will show the development of visual effects and aesthetics during four decades, the emergence of games as a means for storytelling…and the impact that the games can have on society.”

In short, it seems long overdue. I’m enthusiastic about both music and film, and it’s heartwarming to know that my other passion, video games, finally possesses a tantamount level of artistic merit.

Now all I need to do is find my 6th grade teacher, who told me Twisted Metal wasn’t art.