This past Wednesday, the 27th, the Museum of Modern Art opened a new addition to its gallaries named Talk To Me, in which the various ways humans communicate with the devices we use in our everyday life are broken down and reassembled. The men and women over at Kill Screen Magazine (a gaming mag that I’ve really only heard while listening to some Brainy Gamer Podcasts) got the chance to cohost the opening night of the exhibit and did so by throwing a party in the MoMA that I attended with a friend. Thanks to the folks at Joystiq I knew there would be games available for playing throughout the museum. I also expected a bit of, ya know, information sharing to go with the games from the developers or producers.  I was unpleasently surprised by the actuality of the event.

 

The first sight to greet you, after picking up your sweet wristband and complimentary tote bag, is a projection of the game Limbo on to a wall and a guest playing it. Studded throughout the main and second floors were areas where you could get in line to play bit of an indie game. In front of the gaming corners were place cards that explained what the game was and when  was released and other such minor details. There were 2 desks where you could pick up your complimentary wine or crappy local beer. I frequented these places often. And aside from the over-dressed people attending there really wasn’t much else from the gamer hosts. The most interesting spots were the ‘Button’ and ‘Reach for the Heavens’ game locations, each of which were games that you had to play with your entire body. Button was a Simon Says sort of affair with instructions on a screen and a huge button at the feet of the players. The instructions ranged from “Hold your button down fore 11 seconds” to “Touch something orange in the room.” It was definitely fun to observe and take part in this wacky take on the party game genre. Reach for the Heavens was a grid-based Red Light/Green Light that was set in the garden area of the museum.

 

Everything else was kind of just, “Stand here and play this until you get bored or someone on line yells at you.” No dialog at all was initiated between the hosts and the guests unless they were explaining how to play the two games I mentioned above. The Talk to Me exhibit itself was interesting and at times great, but the part that interest me the most fell short. I mean, I’m the first person to defend games as an art form and a medium used for telling stories and making money like any other, but I wanted to do more than just LOOK at some games. I can do that just fine in my living room

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