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Halo 2600

2010 Ed Fries Born: Washington, Bellevue 1964 video game for Atari VCS, color, sound Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mike Mika and Ed Fries © 2010, Ed Fries 2013.73 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

The engineer, programmer, and gamer Ed Fries was inspired by the idea that severe limitations precede creativity. Using the popular video game HALO as a departure point, Fries retooled the game’s mechanics and narrative to play on an Atari VCS, the vintage 1977 gaming console. HALO2600 contorts the boundaries of technological constraint by using the deprecated programming language of an obsolete system and rendering a contemporary video game in conversation with its techno-linguistic past. This “home brew” game cartridge---affectionately referred to among gamers as a “de-make”---acts as an update for a classic system that at once highlights video gaming’s prescience, obsolescence, and creative incitement.

Watch This!: Revelations in Media Art, 2015


media arts