Permission to Play


Social, artistic and scientific progress as well as technological advance are most evident where the ruling culture and ideology give men and women permission to play, whether with ideas, beliefs, principles or materials. And where playful science changes people’s understanding of the way the physical world works, political change, even revolution, is rarely far behind.

― Paul Kriwaczek, Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization


[Image: Civilization Revolution]

“Eat leaden death…”


Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil… prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon…

Terry Pratchett

[Image Source]



The other franchises let you experience the adrenaline and horror of war, or deep fantasy worlds, or pro sports. A Mario game lets you pretend to be a middle-aged chubster hopping onto a turtle shell.

― Jeff Ryan, Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America


Super Mario by Juyan16

“The worst thing a kid can say…”


The worst thing a kid can say about homework is that it is too hard. The worst thing a kid can say about a game is it’s too easy. 

Henry Jenkins


Image: Dark Souls II via Think Entertainment.

“…if you’re playing in good company…”

...image courtesy of Amanda Siska...

Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.

Gary Gygax


Image courtesy of Amanda Siska.

“Games have this way of reaching us on a level that most art cannot…”


Art is a highly subjective term, but I can tell you that after spending so much time in museums in the lead up to this exhibition, I’ve never had a painting or a sculpture drive me to become emotional. However, I have had games do that. Games have this way of reaching us on a level that most art cannot, because it is an amalgam of art. It is the best of what we can do with art all wrapped up into something that becomes greater than its parts.

– Chris Melissinos, creator of “The Art of Video Games” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum



Screenshot from thatgamecompany’s Journey.

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