Chris Melissinos

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Christopher Melissinos
New York, New York
Known forChief Gaming Officer at Sun
Founder of
Guest Curator and Creator of "The Art of Video Games" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Awards13th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards - Industry Ambassador
Scientific career
FieldsComputer gaming
Computer science
InstitutionsSun Microsystems

Christopher Robert Melissinos is a leading figure in the Java programming language community.[1] He served as Sun Microsystems' Chief Evangelist and Chief Gaming Officer. During his tenure at Sun, he was responsible for the creation of their Game Technologies Group and was a driving political force behind the formation of several open source Java gaming technologies including Project Darkstar, and Java bindings for OpenGL, OpenAL and Jinput.

Melissinos is a prolific speaker, regularly speaking at conferences such as the Consumer Electronics Show, Electronic Entertainment Expo, Game Developers Conference, Harvard's Cyberposium, Java Conference in Milan, Italy, and Ziff-Davis's Electronic Gaming Summit.[2] He was also the host of JavaOne in 2009.[1]

Past Pixels[edit]

PastPixels logo

In 2009, Chris Melissinos founded the PastPixels organization to start and focus on the long term preservation of video games and related ephemera. Stemming from his lifelong collecting, since the early 1970s, and building upon his work in the video games industry for more than 15 years, PastPixels was created as an entity for him to pursue preservation projects. The first of these projects to be completed was "The Art of Video Games" [3] for the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

The Art of Video Games Exhibition[edit]

"The Art of Video Games" exhibition opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on March 16, 2012 and closed on September 30, 2012.[3] This exhibition became one of the most successful exhibitions in the history of the museum, attracting more than 23,000 visitors during its opening weekend and more than 680,000 visitors in its 6-month run at the museum.[4]

The exhibit's goal was to examine the influence of art and popular culture on video games, and the subsequent reflection of video games on culture with titles spanning over four decades of gaming. Chris Melissinos is the exhibit curator and he assembled an advisory group made up of experts, developers, and journalists in the interactive entertainment industry.[5] to offer suggestions and opinions in the structure of the exhibition.

Additionally, there was a public vote for the final 80 games, out of 240, that were presented in the exhibition to allow for the inclusion of Melissinos' "Three Voices of Video Games" thesis in the selection process itself.[6] This public vote ran from February 14, 2011 through April 17, 2011 and received more than 3.7 million votes from 119,000 people in 175 countries.[7]

Considered to be one of the standout art exhibitions of 2012,[8] The Art of Video Games exhibition toured across the US into 2016.[9]

TEDx Talk - "Video Games: Limitless Universe for Exploring Humanity"[edit]

On May 6, 2017, Chris Melissinos gave a talk at the TEDx conference in Herndon, Virginia, titled "Video Games: Limitless Universe for Exploring Humanity".[10] In this talk, Melissinos described the evolution of video games as a communicative and artistic medium, demonstrating how it evolved form the earliest forms in the 1970's and how it the medium has grown to enable complex and emotional stories to be told through it. From the YouTube page, "Video games, originally considered the playthings of the first video gamers of the 1970's, have grown to become one of the most important art forms ever at mankind's disposal. Chris Melissinos expands on the humanity that video games are imbued with through their creators and demonstrates how their evolution and maturation has enabled them to become a powerful medium for storytelling and empathy."

Industry Awards[edit]

On March 25, 2013, Chris Melissinos was presented at the Game Developers Choice Awards with the "Ambassador Award" for 2013.[11] The Ambassador Award honors an individual or individuals who have helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to be an advocate for video games and help further our art.[12] This award was presented by his longtime friend and industry luminary Mark DeLoura, who is currently serving as the Senior Adviser for Digital Media at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


  1. ^ a b "General Session Biographies". Archived from the original on 2009-06-05.
  2. ^ "2002 Ziff-Davis Cross-Pollination Conference Game Summit". Facebook.
  3. ^ a b The Art of Video Games Archived 2011-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, Smithsonian American Art Museum
  4. ^ "Art of Video Games attracted over 600K visitors". 3 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Art of Video Games – Advisory Group by PastPixels". Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  6. ^ "Eye Level | Blogs | Smithsonian American Art Museum".
  7. ^ "Eye Level | Blogs | Smithsonian American Art Museum".
  8. ^ "12 Standout Museum Shows of 2012". 28 December 2012.
  9. ^ Art of Video Games - National Tour
  10. ^ Video Games: Limitless Universe for Exploring Humanity | Chris Melissinos | TEDxHerndon, retrieved 2021-05-22
  11. ^ GDC 2013 - Game Developers Choice Awards - Ambassador Award recipient Chris Melissinos on YouTube
  12. ^ "Ambassador Award Archive". 20 April 2021.

External links[edit]