Ina Fried

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Smithsonian Brings Classic Arcade Games to Life (Video)

In one corner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, a preteen boy was throwing balls at aliens, bringing Space Invaders to life. In another, families were posing with flowers, clouds and stars, and doing their best impressions of Mario from Super Mario Brothers, as a professional photographer snapped away.

It was all part of last weekend’s kickoff for an exhibit celebrating the art of the videogame. The three-day GameFest also featured speakers, music performances and movie screenings.

The GameFest part was just for the opening weekend, but “The Art of Video Games” exhibit itself runs through Sept. 30 in Washington, D.C.

Each generation of gaming gets its moment in the spotlight — from the early Atari, Coleco and Intellivision consoles, through Nintendo, Sega Genesis and Dreamcast, to today’s Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3.

The exhibit is interactive, allowing visitors to not only view the evolution of the graphics in videogames, but also to try their hand at some classics. Lines formed as kids and adults alike queued up to play Super Mario and Pac-Man on a giant screen.

For more on the exhibit and the accompanying GameFest, check out our photo gallery:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik