Screengrab from Hidden Expeditions: Smithsonian Hope Diamond.

Story by Nori Fumataki, Tom Wallace, Kathleen Gasperini

The video gaming industry just got another boost of credibility, this time from the Smithsonian Institution and their recently released Hidden Expeditions: Smithsonian Hope Diamond, and curated exhibition, “The Art of Video Games.”

According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the game is designed for young gamers taking players on a worldwide adventure from Switzerland to India to find pieces of the Hope Diamond, one of the world’s largest blue diamonds and among the most popular exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. In the game, players are hired by the “Hidden Expedition League of Preservation” to secure pieces of the Hope Diamond before a group of thieves gets to them first. As players advance, they search through accurate representations of Smithsonian buildings, discover lost and hidden symbols, and learn about the Hope Diamond’s 400-year history, including previous owners such as King Louis XIV, King Louis XV, and Marie Antoinette’s husband, King Louis XVI.

In addition, the Smithsonian is recognizing  video games as cultural artifacts and educational tools in “The Art of Video Games,” a first-of-its-kind exhibit that explores the rich history and evolution of video games. Originally displayed at the American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the collection of games and consoles has been traveling to museums around the country. It is currently on display at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY, where museum-goers have the opportunity to attend and participate in educational programs about video game art, development, and programming.

By leveraging entertainment that all young people enjoy, the Smithsonian Institution is delivering rich and exciting experiences that educate today’s digital generation about important historical and educational concepts.

Crossroads-O art from Into the Pixel in 2013.

Submissions Now Open for Into the Pixel
The annual “Into the Pixel” (ITP) art exhibit is now accepting submissions for the 2014 collection. Now in its 11th year and co-produced by ESA and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), ITP honors video game artists who continue to push the interactive entertainment art form forward.

The 2014 ITP collection will premiere at E3 2014, the world’s leading computer and video game event, from June 10-12, and will continue its tour to industry events including PAX, South by Southwest, and the D.I.C.E. Summit. Video game artists and representatives can submit their in-game or concept art for consideration at until Friday, March 28.