Video games a hit at Phoenix Art Museum

PHOENIX - Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis… bet you couldn't picture them as an art exhibition?

But you'll find that and more at the Phoenix Art Museum.

For 24-year-old Justin Clour it's about the game, the controller, the experience.

It's all a reminder of when he was little.

"I can't believe they have this exhibit here," Clour said. "I almost died."

That's the kind of reaction Jim Ballinger, director of the Phoenix Art Museum, was hoping for.

"A big challenge for art museums in America today is the younger audiences," Ballinger said.

But is seems "The Art of Video Games" has given the museum plenty of ‘flower power.'

"Our first Friday here we had over 3,000 people in over three hours… we're a happening place," Ballinger said.

Because it's not just Nintendo and Super Mario but the 16-bit Sega Genesis, X-Box 360 and Playstation 3. Who can forget that special joystick that makes Pac-Man tick.

And, yes, Ballinger says these games are art.

"There might be 150 to 200 graphic visual artists working on it. So a lot of creative talent today that may have gone into other parts of the art world years ago is being centered here in the design and production of video games," Ballinger said.

Take a walk down memory lane and you'll not only find the most memorable video games of the last four decades but you'll also learn why each one is historically significant.

The only things missing are the WII and any mobile game apps.

"The cutoff design of this show was three years ago. You realize how fast the technology is changing," Ballinger said.

While the games get more sophisticated by the day the classics are a good reminder of where it all started.

The exhibit runs through September.

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