Every year since their birth in 2015, the World Video Games Hall of Fame, an extension of The Strong, the National Museum of Play, has been adding deserving titles to their collection of the best ever video games. These games’ chances of making it into the hall of fame depend on a number of factors (Icon-status, Longevity, Geographical reach, and Influence), although the most important quality they should possess is their effect on history. According to The Strong’s website, any inducted game should “have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general.” The newest additions to the hall of fame are definitely worthy of their induction.
The four newest games to be added to the World Video Games Hall of Fame, Street Fighter II, Pokemon Red, Pokémon Green, Donkey Kong (the original arcade game), and Halo Combat Evolved, are all titles deserving of the praise, in my opinion. The other nominees to be considered, Final Fantasy VII, Microsoft Windows Solitare, Mortal Kombat, Myst, Portal, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Wii Sports, are also praiseworthy games, but just didn’t make the cut this year.
All of the mentioned titles are deserving of being inducted into the World Video Games Hall of Fame, but, as I mentioned before, they had to meet a set of standards to be accepted. For example, when comparing Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, two different fighting games, one can make argue in either direction. But it is known that Street Fighter II spawned a generation of fighting games. Capcom placed their game in arcades around the world, this having a domino effect on where fighting games stand within the gaming industry today. They had tournaments in arcades back in the day, now look how far the gaming industry has come in regards to eSports. It’s amazing! Unfortunately, as good and influential as a game Mortal Kombat was, it just didn’t have the same effect as Street Fighter II. The latest Street Fighter game–Street Fighter V–was only released last year, showing us how far a franchise can come in 26 years.
Donkey Kong, the original arcade game is a prime example of how a video game has had a tremendous effect on the future of gaming. Without Donkey Kong, where would the world’s favorite Italian plumber be today? For without this classic arcade game, there would be no Mario, as this is the game where Mario got his start. Eventually branching off into its own direction, the Mario Bros. franchise blew up to be some of the most influential video games to date. Super Mario Bros. was added to the World Video Games Hall of Fame back in 2015.
These are only examples of two of the games added to the hall of fame this year. Halo: Combat Evolved and Pokémon Red/Green are also titles that deserve this spotlight. Halo being one of the first successful shooters for a console; boasting a strong combination of story, characters, and multiplayer action with the open world experience we all love to see in more modern games. As for the Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green titles… I think it’s quite clear why these titles have been inducted. The games spawned a generation of Poké-maniacs that, in turn, have fanned the flames to the success the franchise has achieved over the years. With over 21.5 billion trading cards and a number of TV shows and other video games–one of the latest being Pokémon Go–there’s no stopping that train.
In all, there’s a good reason these games were picked to be inducted into the World Video Games Hall of Fame this year, and why others have been selected in the past. Games like Pac-Man and The Legend of Zelda, much like Pokémon Red/Green, don’t need much explanation to the well-versed gamer as to how they ended up in the hall of fame. Other titles that were nominated had a reason for being considered too, but they just weren’t as influential as the winners. Video games that make their mark on history, much like an athlete makes a mark within their sport in history, are more than likely to be inducted into the World Video Games Hall of Fame. It’s just a matter of time before games like Diablo and Super Smash Bros. make their way into the pit of greatness with the others, as well.