The Video Game Hall of Fame - Did you know it existed?

The Strong’s Video Game Hall of Fame which was launched last year and run by the Strong National Museum of Play has announced the Nominees for this year’s class to join the inductees from last year which were Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, Tetris, Doom, and World of Warcraft.

The nominees are:

  • Final Fantasy
  • Elite
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • John Madden Football
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Minecraft
  • Nurburgring (It’s a racing game)
  • The Oregon Trail
  • Pokemon Red and Green
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization
  • The Sims
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Space Invaders
  • Street Fighter II
  • Tomb Raider

These games are judged based on their Icon Status, Longevity, Geographic reach (essentially - International Appeal), and Influence. The finalists will be announced May 5th.

Personally, my finalists would be Oregon Trail, Final Fantasy, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Street Fighter II, and Space Invaders.  However, just in cutting down those nominees and thinking about the medium it is really hard to contemplate judging in this format.  Unlike the Rock and Roll or a Sports Hall of Fame, this grades a single entry instead of a career or body of work.  They also do not have a time frame on when they become eligible so a newer game like Minecraft or World of Warcraft jump in the list much earlier than maybe should be allowed.  This would also allow for multiple games from a franchise, like in a few years I imagine it will be hard to keep from adding Super Mario 3 to the list, or having both Final Fantasy 1 and 7.  Does each genre type take away from the others?  For instance, do you take points away from Sonic for being a fast variant of Mario bros or any other 2D platformer?  Did the inclusion of Doom last year make all other First Person shooters tougher to select?  Can indie titles even meet the criteria since it doesn’t judge based solely on excellence?  Is it more important to be the first entry in a game style or to be the best version of it?  John Madden Football is the first in a wildly popular franchise, but few would claim it as the best iteration.  And is it actually better than its peer football games, or are we giving it extra love for being the eventual only survivor of the competition making it the beginning of a contractually protected dynasty? These are hard questions, but I am happy to debate them and so I hope this Hall picks up in popularity and esteem.  It may never get the respect of say the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but those idiots didn’t induct ELO yet so this group is just as capable of making wise and occasionally maddening decisions about the judged quality of aesthetic art forms.

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