For the third year, the World Video Game Hall of Fame has convened to name finalists that may prospectively receive recognition in the exclusive club of the leetest of the leet. While this congress may lack the glamor of the red carpet at the Oscars, this is no less important. This is video game culture! Let’s play!
The World Video Game Hall of Fame
Before we get into who made the cut this year, let’s talk about what the World Video Game Hall of Fame is. In 2015, the World Video Game Hall of Fame opened its doors as part of the National Museum of Play. The organization’s parent company, The Strong, owns and operates the museum in Rochester, New York. Just between you and me, the museum looks cool. It’s a bunch of building blocks! How can you beat that?
Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York.
Anyway, the Hall of Fame has inducted video games since 2015. The members of the 2015 class were Doom, Pac-Man, Pong, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and World of Warcraft. In 2016, the Hall of Fame inducted The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders. Overall, these are respectable titles that anyone who even remotely considers him/herself a video gamer can recognize. Many non-gamers can pick out some of those names. So far, so good, but what are the criteria for induction? Well, there are four standards: iconic status, longevity, geographical reach, and influence. With that in mind, who made this year’s cut?
The 2017 Finalists
- Tomb Raider
- Resident Evil
- Pokemon Red & Green
- Donkey Kong
- Wii Sports
- Street Fighter II
- Mortal Kombat
- Final Fantasy VII
- Microsoft Windows Solitaire
I know what you’re thinking: “Solitaire? What?” Yeah, remember that old-school game on your Windows 95 OS? The one where the cards bounced across the screen when you won? Yeah, that’s up for induction this year. It may sound crazy, but there is a reason for its nomination. Jeremy Saucier, one of the museum’s assistant directors, commented that many people first learned how to use a computer mouse from playing Solitaire. You kids today may complain when your HD graphics aren’t shiny enough that you can see your reflection in them, but back in my day, we were entertained by a parade of cards like we were in a Lewis Carroll fever dream.
The other ostensible odd man out is Wii Sports. Mr. Saucier said of that game that it got people moving, which took things to a level beyond traditional video gaming. Some may question the longevity of Wii Sports, whose only claim to fame might be starting the motion controls fad that came and went in a generation of video games. However, there is no denying that Wii Sports was lightning in a bottle, lightning I’m sure Nintendo wishes it could catch a second time.
There may be no breaking of a trophy in half like there was at this year’s Emmy Awards or mistaken announcements like at this year’s Oscars, but video games are no less an art form. Check back in on May 4 when the new inductees are announced to the Video Game Hall of Fame!