Epic video-game art lights up 'Into the Pixel' exhibit

Take a peek at the eye-popping original art that inspired 16 major video games selected as finalists for a prestigious video-game art exhibition debuting at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2012.

A truly epic video game relies on many factors to deliver a compelling experience, but the artistry behind the fancy graphics remains one of the most fascinating aspects of them all.

The 2012 "Into the Pixel" exhibition, hosted by the Entertainment Software Association and the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, celebrates the breathtaking scenes and unforgettable characters created by the often under-appreciated game artists who influence the design of popular video games. A jury of 10 representatives from the video-game and art industries chose from a large pool of entrants and came up with 16 original works from games, including Journey and Mass Effect 3.

"Now that public institutions have accepted video games as a legitimate form of art, there is no question that video game art has and will continue to have a place in the contemporary art scene," Martin Rae, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, said in a statement.

Click through our gallery to see all of the stunning pictures from the 2012 "Into the Pixel" exhibition.

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