Video Game Hall of Fame
A dozen classic video games made the list of finalists for the World Video Game Hall of Fame class of 2017. A panel of video game experts made the selections, and the new inductees were announced in ceremony on May 4 at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
Click through to see which of your favorites made the cut...
Donkey Kong (1981) - 2017 Inductee
First released in 1981, Donkey Kong became Nintendo's most profitable game, selling an estimated 132,000 arcade cabinets, according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. It helped launch the career of game designer Shigeru Miyamoto -- and of a plucky plumber named Mario, who went on to star in games of his own.
Pokémon Red and Green (1996) - 2017 Inductee
The worldwide Pokémon phenomenon started with these two Nintendo Game Boy titles in 1996. As of 2014, the Pokémon series had sold more than 260 million games, 21.5 billion trading cards, and numerous spinoffs including more than 800 television episodes and 17 movies, according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) - 2017 Inductee
Halo: Combat Evolved was the launch game for Microsoft's Xbox system when it was introduced in 2001. "The science-fiction, first-person shooter combined an intricate storyline, memorable characters like Master Chief, and a dynamic multi-player experience," writes the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The game sold more than six million copies, according the museum, and has inspired entire merchandise lines.
Street Fighter II - 2017 Inductee
Released by Capcom in 1991, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior became one of the top-selling arcade games ever, and helped spark an arcade renaissance in the 1990s. The game inspired numerous sequels and an entire genre of one-on-one fighting games.
Mortal Kombat (1992) - 2017 Finalist
Mortal Kombat launched in arcades in 1992 with realistic, "unprecendented" violence, according to media reports. It spurred debate, leading to congressional hearings in 1992 and 1993 that culminated with the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in 1994.
"By pushing the boundaries in terms of content and what players could do with their in-game characters, Mortal Kombat spawned an entire franchise—including games, music albums, action figures, a theatrical stage show, and Hollywood movies," writes the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Wii Sports - 2017 Finalist
lntroduced with the Nintendo Wii home video game system in 2006, Wii Sports brought motion-control technology to living rooms around the world.
“With a simple swipe of the controller, players could serve a tennis ball, hurl a bowling bowl, throw a left hook, or drive a golf ball. The simple mechanics made the game accessible to almost anyone—allowing it to be played by young children and seniors alike—and helped to redefine the idea of who is a ‘gamer,’” according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Solitaire (1991) - 2017 Finalist
The card game solitaire had been around for centuries before Microsoft added it to its Windows 3.0 operating system in 1991. But that year it became ubiquitous on home computers, reaching more than a billion machines, according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. “It proved that some analog games can be even more popular in the digital world,” the museum writes.
Myst (1993) - 2017 Finalist
Myst, released by Broderbund in 1993, became the best-selling computer game of the decade, with more than 6 million copies sold.
“Myst welcomed players to a mesmerizing world of mysterious puzzles and haunting vistas ... [and] allowed the creation of an immersive world,” writes the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Final Fantasy VII (1997) - 2017 Finalist
As an addition to the Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy VII brought new levels of technical and narrative complexity, writes the World Video Game Hall of Fame: “It introduced 3-D computer graphics, full motion video cut-scenes, and a deep, complex storyline to the franchise.” With more than 10 million units sold, it was the second-most popular game for the Sony Playstation, beaten only by Gran Turismo, according to PC World.
Portal (2007) - 2017 Finalist
Launched by Valve Corporation in 2007, Portal was named the “Game of the Year” in 2008 at the Game Developers Conference.
Resident Evil (1996) - 2017 Finalist
Capcom’s Resident Evil, released in 1996, combined elements from previous horror movies and popularized the “survival horror” genre of games, notes the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The game, which tackled themes like horror and the apocalypse, launched comic books, novels, merchandise, themed restaurants and a series of Hollywood movies, which have grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide.
Space Invaders (1978) - Inducted 2016
Now for the 2016 inductees into the World Video Game Hall of Fame ... chosen from among fifteen classic video games that made the list of finalists.
Space Invaders won a place in video game history for being the first Japanese arcade game to use a microprocessor. The 1978 debut of this space shooting classic helped launch an international craze for arcade games that entered the home console market. Space Invaders became Atari 2600’s most popular game.
The Oregon Trail (1971) - Inducted 2016
Generations of American school children grew up learning history with The Oregon Trail, an educational game that debuted in the mainframe computer era of 1971 and later made the transition to PCs and mobile phones.
It was the first 3-D open-ended game that let players control the action became a model for the “sandbox-style” games that followed. But the flamethrowers and automatic weapons that were part of the action in the 2001 best seller fed worries about the influence of video game violence and reminded that video games are not just for kids, said Jeremy Saucier, the history center’s assistant director.
Grand Theft Auto III (2001) - Inducted 2016
The third installment in the Grand Theft Auto series arrived in 2001 and established the franchise as a blockbuster hit. The World Video Game Hall of Fame credits it with being “the first 3D, open-ended, ‘sandbox-style’ game to achieve massive mainstream popularity and widespread critical acclaim.”
The Legend of Zelda (1986) - Inducted 2016
“Inspired by creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s childhood expeditions through woods and caves, The Legend of Zelda debuted in 1986 and popularized non-linear, open-world exploration games,” according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. It was the first standalone title from Nintendo to sell more than one million copies, and it spawned numerous sequels, comic books, and a TV series.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) - Inducted 2016
A Generation X favorite, Sonic the Hedgehog won millions of fans with its fast game play and in-your-face attitude. It spawned more than 20 additional games and spinoffs including a TV show and comic book.
The Sims (2000) - Inducted 2016
The Sims, created by designer Will Wright, brought the complexities of human relationships into a video game format, allowing players to create their own open-ended narratives. The World Video Game Hall of Fame says nearly 200 million copies have been sold in more than 20 languages, making The Sims the best-selling PC game franchise of all time.
Elite (1984) - 2016 Finalist
Elite, developed in Great Britain and released in 1984, pioneered innovative 3D graphics had a major impact on the design of other games, according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Players could roam the galaxy controlling their ships, laying the groundwork for future open-world games like Grand Theft Auto.
Final Fantasy (1987) - 2016 Finalist
The role-playing game Final Fantasy debuted in 1987 and became one of the most popular and profitable video game franchises in the world. The Hall of Fame says it racked up sales of more than $110 million, and inspired animated TV, comics, novels, and a movie.
John Madden Football (1990) - 2016 Finalist
“Electronic Arts redefined the modern sports video game with its 1990 reboot of John Madden Football,” the World Video Game Hall of Fame says. “Transforming the virtual gridiron into an action game that thrived on individual confrontations between virtual players ... the game created a pop cultural phenomenon that has sold more than 100 million copies since its debut.”
Minecraft (2009) - 2016 Finalist
Minecraft, which lets players build endless creations using pixilated blocks, has become a worldwide phenomenon, selling more than 70 million copies since its introduction in 2009.
Nürburgring (1975) - 2016 Finalist
The German racing game Nürburgring, released in 1975, gave players a thrilling first-person experience behind the wheel and became “the model for almost every car racing game that followed,” according to the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Sid Meier's Civilization (1991) - 2016 Finalist
Sid Meier’s Civilization, which invites players to build their own empire over centuries of history, makes the list for being “one of the most influential simulation and strategy games of all time.” It spawned a long series of sequels which have sold more than 33 million copies in all.
Street Fighter II (1991) - 2016 Finalist
The one-on-one fighting game Street Fighter II became one of the top-selling arcade games of all time.
Tomb Raider (1996) - 2016 Finalist
Tomb Raider combined “the best elements of action-adventure games with platform games and puzzle-solving ... a cinematic 3D universe, cutting edge graphics, and a female protagonist who remains an iconic female figure in gaming,” writes the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The character of Lara Croft was later immortalized by Angelina Jolie in the movie spinoff.