With so much time at home, more screen time may be the last thing you’re looking for. But, this weekend, the Smithsonian American Art Museum offers a great reason to spend some time in front of your computer.
This Saturday, Aug. 1 and Sunday, Aug. 2, the museum is hosting SAAM Arcade, a free, virtual video game festival that explores “how video games act as a medium for expanding the way Americans tell and experience stories,” according to a recent press release. The annual event has been held at the DC museum in years past, but is going all online this year amidst the ongoing pandemic.
The theme for 2020, “Game Changers,” pays homage to women in the gaming industry and coincides with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The five video games featured in this year’s festival are all either made by women, feature women’s narratives or showcase women’s history. Participants can play the featured games—part of the fest’s Indie Developer Showcase—for free throughout the weekend.
In addition, two feature-length documentaries will livestream during the fest: Indie Game: The Movie at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Not for Resale at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Participants must register in advance to watch the movies.
The festival will also include a number of video game-inspired crafts (for those that want a little time away from their screens).
The Smithsonian American Art Museum was one of the first art museums in the nation to incorporate video games into its permanent collection, showcasing the artistry behind these complex, interactive games.
For more details on the fest, visit the museum’s Facebook event page.
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