Press Release

Meet the World Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists

Published March 15, 2023

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shane Rhinewald, srhinewald@museumofplay.org, 585-410-6365

The following 12 electronic games are finalists for 2023 induction into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. The inductees will be announced virtually by The Strong on Thursday, May 4, at 10:30 a.m.

Age of Empires: Created by Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires (1997) infused historical scenarios with turn-based and real-time strategy elements, allowing players to reimagine the rise of civilizations. The game, noted for its fluid and fast-paced play, became publisher Microsoft’s best-selling PC game to that date. Expansions, spin-offs, and sequels followed, creating an enduring franchise still played by millions around the world.

Angry Birds: Launched by Rovio in 2009, Angry Birds became a breakout hit and introduced millions of people to mobile gaming. The conceptually simple game—hurling various birds from a slingshot to knock over precariously balanced pigs—becomes increasingly difficult as you play, providing gamers quick fun or endless hours of entertainment. The game has been downloaded more than two billion times, achieved billions of dollars in sales, inspired transmedia incarnations, and captured the public consciousness around smartphone gaming.

Barbie Fashion Designer: The 1996 hit Barbie Fashion Designer emerged at a time when many games were marketed to male players. Published by Digital Domain/Mattel Media, it proved that a computer game targeted to young girls could succeed, selling over 500,000 copies in two months. The game helped open an important—and ongoing—discussion about gender and stereotypes in gaming. Barbie Fashion Designer was also innovative in bridging the gap between the digital and the physical, allowing players to design clothes for their Barbie and print them on special fabric.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the fourth installment in Activision’s hugely popular Call of Duty franchise. Released in 2007, the game took the first-person shooter franchise from the World War II era to the modern day. It set a new standard in gaming with high-quality animations, compelling stories, and immersive sounds. More than 400 million copies of games in the Call of Dutyfranchise have been sold across more than 20 titles since 2003, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has been a crucial piece of the series’ success.

Computer Space: Nutting Associate’s Computer Space appeared in 1971 and was the first commercial video game. Inspired by the early minicomputer and previous World Video Game Hall of Fame inductee—Spacewar! (1962)—the coin-operated Computer Space proved that video games could reach an audience outside of computer labs. While not a best-seller, it was a trailblazer in the video game world and inspired its creators to go on to establish Atari Inc., a video game giant in the 1970s and 1980s.

FIFA International Soccer: FIFA International Soccer was not the first sports simulation video game—nor even the first one about soccer—but it is the most popular sports game franchise of all time, with sales continually bolstered by annual releases from publisher Electronic Arts. First launched in 1993, the game garnered worldwide success and launched a franchise that has sold more than 325 million games by 2021.

Goldeneye 007: In 1997, Rare and Nintendo partnered to release GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 console, a first-person shooter based on author Ian Fleming’s iconic British superspy James Bond. Lauded for its in-depth story and immersive gameplay, GoldenEye 007 is especially known for its highly popular four-person multiplayer mode, which influenced many multiplayer games that followed. It was the third best-selling game for the Nintendo 64, only trailing Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64.

The Last of Us: Released by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2013, The Last of Us jumped into an oversaturated field of post-apocalyptic zombie games and quickly stood out among the rest with its in-depth storytelling, intimate exploration of humanity, thrilling game jumps and cutscenes, and its memorable characters. More than 200 publications named it the game of the year in 2013. Its story has since made the jump to Hollywood, inspiring an HBO adaptation in 2023 watched weekly by millions.

NBA 2K: First released in 1999 by Sega, NBA 2K focused on realism and minute details, raising the bar for sports simulation games.With 1.6 million daily active users as of June 2018, a pioneering professional eSports league based on the game, 40 million registered users in China for the free-to-play NBA 2K Online, and more than 130 million units sold in the series, NBA 2Khas become a global sports powerhouse.

Quake: ID Software’s Quake shook up the gaming world when it debuted in 1996. The first-person shooter’s 3-D engine became the new standard for the industry, and its multiplayer mode helped to spawn the world of esports. The revolutionary Quake game code has been linked to dozens of other games and continues to be used in some modern games nearly 30 years after its release.

Wii Sports: Wii Sports launched with the Nintendo Wii home video game system in 2006 and introduced motion-based technology to living rooms across 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.” Ultimately, the game helped Nintendo to sell more than 100 million Wii consoles worldwide.

Wizardry: Released by small publisher Sir-Tech in 1981, Wizardry helped provide a template for the genre of turned-based, fantasy role-playing games. The game, originally released on the Apple II, challenged players with familiar adventure objectives: find gold, explore levels, face-off against villains. The dynamic customization—allowing players to create a unique band of heroes—made it memorable. Wizardry spawned numerous sequels and helped inspire future game designers to create their own fantastical, digital lands and customizable heroes.