INDEFINITE

“Videotopia”

Any boss who wants to gauge my job satisfaction could do worse than to examine my video-gaming habits. The mercurial, tyrannical Skunk Lady (not my coinage) of my consulting-firm days would have benefited from knowing how much time we underlings spent with Tetris, War Eagle, and Barbarian. Later, when the frustration of dealing with innumerate survey respondents had me shouting down beggars in the street, Doom offered assuagement. And before I found out I was getting the ax at Washington City Paper, I had already started to prefer the company of Blinky, Pinky, Inkey, and Clyde to that of the more petulant of D.C.’s free-lance quasi-literati. For someone of my temperament and circumstances, then, “Videotopia” comes as something of a godsend. A multimedia exhibit that pairs a history of the video-game industry with a functioning dream arcade, “Videotopia” is a project of the New Jersey-based Electronics Conservancy. Video games are the pinnacle of not-work. They inhabit a reflex-bound realm beyond verbal thought, where the survival instinct is balanced by dangerlust and adrenaline tugs against the fatigue born of becoming like a machine. When everything clicks, video games deliver the singular thrill of doing—a little bit better than you thought you could—something that can’t matter in any life you can imagine. At the National Press Building, 14th & F Sts. NW. $6. (202) 675-4183. (Glenn Dixon)