Seminal video game classics Doom and Pong have been inducted into the first Video Game Hall of Fame, as part of a project to find influential games begun in February by American museum of play ‘The Strong’.
Minecraft and Angry Birds, although finalists, didn’t make the cut but World of Warcraft, Pac-Man, Tetris and Super Mario Bros did.
The museum invited people to nominate video games played in all formats to be selected as iconic game-changers and the winners span thirty years of gaming between 1972 (Pong) to 2004 (W.O.W.).
Pong was an obvious choice because it effectively launched the video gaming industry, say the museum:
“By most measures of popular impact, Pong (1972) launched the video game industry. A simple game involving two paddles and a ball, Pong introduced millions to the joys of playing video games.
Although it was not the first electronic game, and the Magnavox Odyssey home console already featured a similar tennis game,Pong was the first game to grab wide-scale public attention. Its success propelled Atari into a preeminent role in the video game industry. Decades after its launch, Pong’s iconic sound, intuitive controls, and satisfying game play still resonate, inviting people to try their hand at keeping the ball bouncing as long as possible.”
Other games were chosen for becoming cultural icons (Tetris), making games a mass-market phenomenon (Pac-Man) and changing the way games were made (Doom).
World of Warcraft was chosen, said the museum, because of its longevity and the way it has brought millions of players together into one game world:
“By bringing tens of millions of people together in a compelling virtual universe, World of Warcraft continues to reshape the way people think about their online lives and communities. In this “massively multiplayer online role-playing game” (MMORPG), players create unique virtual avatars to represent themselves as they explore an open, constantly evolving world. After its release by Blizzard Entertainment in 2004, World of Warcraft became the largest and best-selling MMORPG ever created. As of February 2015, the game boasted more than 10 million subscribers—only slightly reduced from its peak of 12 million in October 2010—with 100 million accounts created since the game’s release.”
The winners were whittled down from a long list of 15 that was picked by an internal panel of academics, journalists and game experts recruited by The Strong. Their decisions were based on a game’s longevity, influence, geographical reach and iconic status.
The museum now plans to feature the winning games, the other nominees and many others in a permanent exhibition.
The other nine nominees included Legend of Zelda, Space Invaders, the Oregon Trail and Pokemon. Nominees for the 2016 inductees to the hall of fame are now being accepted.
The World Video Game Hall of FameTM at The Strong was established in 2015 to recognize individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general.
Inductees were announced at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, on June 4, 2015 and are on permanent view in the museum’s eGameRevolution exhibit. Anyone may nominate a game to the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Nominations for the class of 2016 will be accepted through March 31, 2016. Final selections will be made on the advice of journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society.
For more info on the museum, see: http://www.museumofplay.org/