Saturday, January 4, 2014

Must See Must Play at the Museum of the Moving Image

by Drew Martin
In a recent issue of Time Out New York there was a half-page article by Aaron Stern titled Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games, which is the name of the exhibit he detailed at the Museum of the Moving ImageI loved Indie Game: the Movie so I was eager to see this exhibit. I went with my family today, and we stayed for a few hours.

I was immediately impressed by the museum with its hip curbside appeal. We entered through an atmospheric revolving door, which looked liked it housed a smoke machine, but we soon found out that was actually a busted steam valve at the entrance. (pictured left, bottom)

The museum is 
located in Astoria, Queens in a renovated film studio building. The fairly new expansion was designed by architect Thomas Leeser. It has got such a curvaceous, white-glowing lobby space that it was hard not to see the rip curl snowdrifts (from the recent winter storm) outside in their garden courtyard as part of the design.

The original studio was built in 1920 and turned out many features and short films, including The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930), the first two Marx Brothers films.

At the exhibit, my daughter got immersed in
Braid, which is considered one of the most visually intriguing and well-designed games, while my two sons kept busy with Minecraft and many other games. Visitors can play all 25 games, on various devices, and Minecraft is even projected onto one huge wall of the space. One of the interesting aspects of the exhibit is that it does not seem weird in that setting to stand over someone's shoulder and watch him or her play the game because the visitor's participation in the games is part of the show.

The exhibit is up until March 2, and the permanent collection is also very entertaining and interactive. What my kids liked even more than
Indie Essentials was an area with eight stop-animation camera-computer stations (pictured left, middle - my two older kids at work/play)

My daughter took off her 
Hey Chickadee Elemental Earrings and used them to craft a video about city sprites. My older son made an animation by moving loose change around one of the backgrounds, and my six year old made an animation of my keys sliding down a rainbow he flipped over like a slide. (pictured top - still)

The stations are intuitive, with simple controls, and you can email a link of your file(s) posted to the museum's site where you can download or directly post your creation
 to YouTube or Facebook. I downloaded two shorts I made with a chain from my press pass lanyard, spliced them together and added music. I did the same with my daughter's clips.