World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018: FFVII, Tomb Raider, Madden, Spacewar!

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Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider, John Madden Football and Spacewar! were inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Strong National Museum of Play announced Thursday.

These four emerged from a field of 12 finalists that also included AsteroidsCall of DutyDance Dance RevolutionHalf-Life, King’s Quest, Metroid, Minecraft and Ms. Pac-Man.

(Maybe next year, Samus …)

“These 12 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists span decades, gaming platforms, and countries of origin — but what they all have in common is their undeniable impact on the world of gaming and popular culture,” Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games, said in March when the finalists were announced. “Whether it’s a true innovator and original like Spacewar!, a pop culture icon like Ms. Pac-Man, or a game like Minecraft that’s still played by millions around the world, they’re among the most influential games of all time.”

The Strong (in Rochester, N.Y.) said the four inductees span multiple decades, countries of origin, and gaming platforms, but all have significantly affected the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general.

There were thousands of nominations from more than 100 countries for the 2018 class of inductees, the fourth.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame looks for following criteria in video games:

  • Icon-status, the game is widely recognized and remembered
  • Longevity, the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time
  • Geographical reach, the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries
  • Influence, the game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general.

Did your favorite game get overlooked? You can nominate a game to the next class online at www.worldvideogamehallofame.org.

Inductees to the first three classes of the World Video Game Hall of Fame included Donkey Kong, DOOM, Grand Theft Auto III, Halo: Combat Evolved, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, Pac-Man, Pokemon Red and Green, Pong, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Street Fighter II, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and World of Warcraft. They are on permanent display in Rochester.

More on the World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018 inductees from The Strong:
Spacewar! in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018
Spacewar! in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018

About Spacewar!Steve “Slug” Russell, a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tech Model Railroad Club, worked with others at MIT to create Spacewar! in 1962 on a PDP-1 minicomputer. The game featured two starships firing torpedoes at each other, and its competitive aspects helped it to spread from computer center to computer center across the globe. This early video game inspired the first mass-market arcade video game, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell’s Computer Space. Spacewar! was not a commercial game but it helped to launch the multi-billion-dollar video game industry,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, vice president and director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “It also spurred computer users of all types to think about creative new uses for computers and helped turn the computer into the most powerful plaything ever created.”

John Madden Football in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018
World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018

About John Madden Football: Electronic Arts redefined the modern sports video game with its 1990 reboot of John Madden Football. The new game moved beyond its sports game predecessors that emphasized statistical modeling, 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. “John Madden Football’s action-oriented game play has changed the way we play and consume sports video games—and even the way actual sports games are broadcast,” says Jeremy Saucier, The Strong’s assistant vice president for interpretation and electronic games. “It’s yearly, updated release of the game has modeled the path to success for franchises in other sports such as soccer, hockey, baseball, and basketball.”

Tomb Raider in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018
Tomb Raider in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018

About Tomb Raider: Combining the best elements of action-adventure games with platform games and puzzle-solving, Tomb Raider (1996) provided gamers with a unique cinematic 3-D universe, leading-edge graphics, and a female protagonist who remains an iconic figure in gaming. Largely thanks to the character of Lara Croft, and Angelina Jolie’s theatrical portrayal of her in a blockbuster movie, Tomb Raider enjoys a widespread appeal among gamers and non-gamers alike, and currently heads a franchise that has sold more than 58 million units worldwide. “The Guinness World Records cites Lara Croft as the ‘most recognized female video game character’ of all time,” says Curator Shannon Symonds. “The character is not without controversy for her early status as a sex symbol, but she’s evolved with the franchise to become the epitome of a strong female hero.”

Final Fantasy VII in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018
Final Fantasy VII in World Video Game Hall of Fame 2018

About Final Fantasy VII: Square Co.’s Final Fantasy VII took the already popular Final Fantasy series to new levels of technical achievement and story development when it debuted in 1997. It introduced 3-D computer graphics; full-motion, video cut-scenes; and a deep, complex storyline to the franchise. The game sold more than 10 million units, making it the second most popular game for the Sony PlayStation. “Final Fantasy VII is widely acclaimed as the game that broke Japanese role-playing games into mainstream popularity across the globe,” says Curator Shannon Symonds. “In addition to its technical achievements, it also introduced the world to memorable characters—such as protagonist Cloud and villain Sephiroth—who have appeared in other game franchises and myriad media.”

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Jayson Peters

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