Meet the World Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists

The Strong News Release
NEWS RELEASE
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700 museumofplay.org

April 28, 2015

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, srhinewald@museumofplay.org

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325, kdellaporta@museumofplay.org

Meet the 2015 World Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists

The following 15 electronic games are finalists for 2015 induction into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame. The inductees will be announced during a ceremony at The Strong museum on Thursday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m.

Angry Birds: Launched in 2009, Angry Birds became the first mobile game to achieve worldwide prominence and brand identity with its simple, addictive game play, catchy music, and recognizable characters. The success of this game from Finnish developer Rovio helped spur the popularity of mobile, casual gaming. Games in the Angry Birds series have been downloaded more than two billion times.

DOOM: This revolutionary first-person shooter game introduced by Id Software in 1993 popularized the genre with fast-paced action, smooth-scrolling graphics, and adrenaline-pumping combat that gamers loved and some cultural critics lambasted for being too violent. DOOM introduced numerous technological innovations into game play and influenced the form, function, feel, and perception of many of the first-person shooting games that followed.

FIFA: While not the first soccer video game, FIFA has been the most enduring series since its release in 1993. Publisher Electronic Arts produces updated versions annually, introducing advances in picture quality, game play, and realism that keep consumers wanting the latest version. By 2010, FIFA games had sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling sports game franchise of all time.

The Legend of Zelda: 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. As the first Nintendo Entertainment System game to sell more than a million copies as a stand-alone title, it became one of the most iconic games of the 1980s. It also became a staple of popular culture, spawning sequels, spin-offs, comic books, and a television series.

Minecraft: With its endless game play possibilities, Minecraft has become a global phenomenon in the six years since its introduction in 2009. Players in a worldwide, online community make their own creations using sets of pixilated blocks that they mine and use to build elaborate structures.  As of 2014, the game had sold more than 54 million copies for computers, consoles, and mobile devices.

The Oregon Trail: This revolutionary educational game, created in 1971, has made the journey across generations of computer technology—from mainframe to PCs to mobile phones. Still enjoyed by American school children both in the classroom and at home, it teaches history, introduces kids to computers, and remains a cultural icon for millions.

Pac-Man: As the first video game icon and the face of a mass cultural phenomenon that transcended generations and video game culture in general, Pac-Man introduced video games to millions of people worldwide and set the stage for other iconic video game characters, such as Mario, Lara Croft, and Master Chief. With its basic but addictive maze game play, Pac-Man took the arcade by storm in 1980, became the best-selling Atari 2600 game of all time after appearing on that system in 1982, and is still played on every gaming platform today.

Pokémon: Pokémon created a multinational cultural phenomenon when it was released on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996 as Pocket Monsters Aka (Red) and Midori (Green). As of 2014, the Pokémon series had encompassed more than 260 million copies of Pokémon games, 21.5 billion trading cards, and numerous spinoffs including more than 800 television episodes and 17 movies.

Pong: Despite being Atari’s second arcade game, Pong (introduced in 1972) is often viewed as the “first video game” in the popular imagination and was the first video game that millions of people played in the 1970s. A home version that debuted in 1975 was a best-selling hit. Pong’s simple and accessible tennis-like game mechanics helped launch the video game revolution.

The Sims: Released in 2000, designer Will Wright’s virtual dollhouse game, The Sims, pushed the boundaries of what a video game could be by allowing players flexibility to tell stories in an open-ended environment. By simulating the complexities of human relationships, The Sims taught players to view their own lives in new ways. With more than 175 million copies sold (as of 2013) in 60 countries and more than 20 languages, The Sims is the best-selling PC game franchise ever.

Sonic the Hedgehog: After its launch in 1991, the lightning-fast game play of Sonic the Hedgehog struck a chord with Generation X gamers who loved the character’s brash, in-your-face attitude. Sonic became the face of the Sega Genesis game console, allowing Sega to challenge Nintendo for supremacy in the electronic game marketplace. The game spawned its own franchise, including more than 20 additional games and spin-offs, as well as a television show and comic book, making Segas’s mascot recognizable to millions of people who may have never played the game.

Space Invaders: The first Japanese arcade game to use a microprocessor, Space Invaders debuted in 1978 and launched the international arcade game craze of the late 1970s and early 1980s by challenging players to fight off waves of attacking aliens. The game’s exciting play and innovative features popularized the “space shooter” game and the idea of achieving a “high score.”

Super Mario Bros.: This game for the Nintendo Entertainment System vaulted Mario—the plucky plumber— to such fame that a 1990 survey of American children rated him more popular than Mickey Mouse. Created by famed Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the game’s appealing game play, memorable characters, and catchy music helped it sell more than 40 million copies.

Tetris: Created by Soviet programmer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, Tetris helped sell the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 and gained popularity on other platforms as well. Since then, hundreds of millions of players have taken up the game’s challenge to sort falling puzzle pieces into orderly rows. The game’s simple but compelling play has become universally known, with references to it on hit shows like The Simpsons and versions of it even produced for display on the sides of skyscrapers.

World of Warcraft: With more than 100 million players since its inception in 2004 and more than 10 million current players worldwide, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft is the highest grossing video game of all time. The game features a rich fantasy world and abundant opportunities for collaboration and communication among players from across the world as they band together in guilds and build vibrant online social communities.