Ocarina of Time vs. Ms. Pac-Man, Rogue and more for 2022 World Video Game Hall of Fame spots

Which video games will make it into the 2022 World Video Game Hall of Fame this May? Can Minesweeper clear the field? Will Dance Dance Revolution hit the beat? Can Ms. Pac-Man gobble up the competition? Is NBA Jam a slam dunk? Will Assassin’s Creed battle to the end? Or can Sid Meier’s Civilization rise above the rest?

he Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, today announced the 12 finalists for induction: Assassin’s Creed, Candy Crush Saga, Dance Dance Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Minesweeper, Ms. Pac-Man, NBA Jam, PaRappa the Rapper, Resident Evil, Rogue, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Words with Friends.

“This year’s 12 finalists showcase the range and depth of the video game world,” says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “There are true icons like Ms. Pacman, games that changes the industry like Rogue, and smartphone games that made gamers out of hundreds of millions of people, such as Candy Crush Saga and Words with Friends.”  

The World Video Game Hall of Fame received thousands of nominations for consideration for the 2022 class. Fans may vote for their favorite finalists from March 17 to March 24 as part of a “Player’s Choice” ballot at worldvideogamehalloffame.org. The three games that receive the most public votes will form one ballot and will join the other ballots submitted by members of the International Selection Advisory Committee, which is made up of journalists and scholars familiar with the history of video games and their role in society. (The public, collectively, will have the weight of one judge.)

The World Video Game Hall of Fame recognizes electronic games that meet the following criteria: 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; and 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.

Anyone can nominate a game to the World Video Game Hall of Fame and view past inductees at worldvideogamehallofame.org.

The following 12 electronic games are finalists for 2022 induction into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. The inductees will be announced virtually by The Strong museum on Thursday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m.

Assassin’s Creed: Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed debuted in 2007 as a sequel to the popular Prince of Persia franchise but quickly stood on its own. The open-world, action-adventure game offered players a world of hidden artifacts, secret societies, and stealthy assassins with a code of honor. Assassin’s Creed drew loosely on the history of the Third Crusade and included an engrossing 3D environment that allowed players to explore 12th century Jerusalem, Damascus, Acre, and Masyaf. The game spawned its own franchise with 12 installments to date.

Candy Crush Saga: Candy Crush’s debut in 2012 helped propel the casual gaming frenzy. It combined traditional tile-matching with evolving mobile technology and an emergent free-to-play distribution model. With nearly three billion downloads (making it the most downloaded game on the Apple App Store) and a peak of nearly 300 million active users, it made gamers out ofa wide demographic of people from around the world.It also generated multiple spin-off games titles, but more importantly, it has inspired and influenced many of the free-to-play games that continue to dominate the mobile industry.

Dance Dance Revolution: Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution took Japanese arcades by storm in 1998, challenging players to use their balance and dexterity to step to the beat of popular music.  The fast-paced game spread quickly to arcades across the world, and Konami spun out a home version of the game on the Sony Playstation the following year. More than 100 versions of the game have been produced since 1998, and Dance Dance Revolution helped pave the way for iconic music games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeReleased for the Nintendo 64 gaming console in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time defined what a 3D action video game could be, influencing countless games that followed. The game’s combination of storytelling, puzzle-solving, and combat earned Ocarina of Time multiple “Game of the Year” awards in 1998. The game sold more than 7.6 million copies worldwide, and it continues to be recognized by players and critics alike as one of the best video games ever made.

Minesweeper: Microsoft debuted Minesweeper in 1992 as a preloaded game with its Windows software. This bite-sized logic puzzle hooked millions of computer users on the world of casual gaming, and even 30 years after its launch, its deft combination of simple design and complex cognitive challenges still charms players of all ages.

Ms. Pac-Man: Capitalizing on the success of the iconic Pac-Man arcade game, Midway launched Ms. Pac-Man in 1981. The sequel featured more sophisticated mazes, smarter opponents, and new challenges. It also reimagined the title character as female to acknowledge the girls and women who loved playing the first game.”. With its wide appeal, Ms. Pac-Man sold 125,000 cabinets within five years of its release, making it one of the five best-selling arcade games of all time.

NBA Jam: Midway Game’s NBA Jam jumped into the arcade in 1993. Its mixture of gravity-defying slam dunks, frenetic gameplay, over-the-top commentary, superior digitized graphics, and a roster of real and easily-recognizable NBA stars made it accessible to millions of players. It earned game operators $1 billion in revenues in its first year, and quickly cemented its place as the most important sports arcade game of all time.

PaRappa the RapperPaRappa the Rapper, a modestly rendered title for Sony’s PlayStation console, helped usher in the rhythm game genre after its launch in 1996. The game’s distinctive visuals, original songs, and accessible gameplay offered wide appeal across many age groups and an international audience. It set the stage for later music franchises such as Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band.

Rogue: The fantasy adventure game Rogue debuted in 1980 and turned players into adventurers exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, wielding magic, and seeking treasure. The game had limited commercial success but its influence on the video game industry was immense. Rogue procedurally generated a new dungeon experience each playthrough, allowing for infinite “replayability.” It inspired an entire genre of games—often referred to as “roguelikes”—and forever changed the computer role-playing game market.

Words with FriendsFor millions of people, Words with Friends was the first game they ever played on a smartphone. Launched in 2009, the game’s simple, turn-based, asynchronous gameplay (inspired by Scrabble) connected friends and family members in new and playful ways. It became a pop culture sensation played by a wide demographic of gamers, and even 13 years after its initial release, it continues to attract millions of monthly users.

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