By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief
The new World Video Game Hall of Fame announced the inaugural class late last week. The new “Hall”, located in Rochester, New York, at The Strong National Museum of Play had fifteen finalists nominated by the general public. From these, six games were chosen for their game-changing influence on the industry, starting with inductee number one: Pong.
Released in 1972 by Atari, Pong wasn’t the first video game or even the first tennis/ping-pong game released BUT it was the first video game to “grab wide-scale public attention”, according to The Strong’s press-release. For similar popularizing achievements, the museum inducted Pac-Man(1980) and Tetris(1984). Member number 4 is Nintendo’s biggest mascot and everyone’s favorite plumbers: The Super Mario Bros (1985) whose main character, Mario, has appeared in 200 different games to date. The Strong included the next game, DOOM(1993), due to its revolutionary take on the “game engine” or the computer software used to create the game. DOOM‘s software was separate from other elements of the game – called “game assets” – such as artwork, music, sound effects etc. This started a wave of change with regards to how games were developed. Companies could now license the game engine from another company and build a new, unique game around the core software. Until DOOM, most companies developed in-house software from the ground up for each new game. The sixth and final game of the 2015 class was World of Warcraft(2004) by Blizzard Entertainment. World of Warcraft, like DOOM, altered the gaming landscape through its Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) format which has over 100 million accounts. Players devise their own in-game character or “avatar” and form widespread communities to complete quests set in an evolving virtual world.
The Strong Museum has already begun consideration for the Class of 2016 and is excepting nominations from the general public until March 31, 2016. The 2nd Hall of Fame class will then be selected “on the advice of journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society”, per the museum’s press release. The remaining nine games from the finalists of 2015 are still eligible for induction.
Read the entire press-release article on the new hall of fame at this link.