The following 12 electronic games are finalists for 2019 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, May 2 at 10:30 a.m.
2019 World Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists
Candy Crush helped to propel the casual gaming frenzy with its debut in 2012. 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 of a wide demographic of people from around the world. It also generated three 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.
Atari’s Centipede challenged players to blast an insect as it zigzagged across the screen in challenging patterns and at various speeds when it debuted in 1981. Co-designed by Dona Bailey, one of the only female programmers in the 1980s arcade video game industry, the game helped attract more women into the arcade. It was an immediate success and became synonymous with the golden age of the arcade, though it found later life in re-releases on home consoles, portable game systems, mobile game apps, and even as a board game. It also spawned multiple clones—from Bug Attack to War of the Bugs—and a sequel, Millipede.
Colossal Cave Adventure
Text-based Colossal Cave Adventure debuted in 1976 and managed to conjure up an immersive, interactive fantasy world despite the limits of primitive computer technology. While the game had no graphics and relied on players typing written commands, it still offered a fully-realized realm to explore, treasure to hunt, and puzzles to solve. It laid the foundation for an entire genre of fantasy and adventure games, and it directly inspired other influential titles, such as Adventureland and Zork, which helped launch the commercial computer game 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 to pave the way for iconic music games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
Created by Valve/Sierra Studios in 1998, Half-Life revolutionized the first-person shooter genre of games. It challenged players to escape a research facility after an experiment gone wrong and combined a rich story, scripted sequences, unique puzzles, and sophisticated gameplay elements. Later expansions added head-to-head and co-op gameplay options, along with the ability to modify the game itself, providing countless replay possibilities. The game has sold more than 9.3 million copies and inspired two sequels.
Microsoft Windows Solitaire
Based on a centuries-old card game, Microsoft Windows Solitaire debuted in 1991 on the Windows 3.0 computing platform and became ubiquitous around the world. The game has been installed on more than one billion machines since its creation, tying its story forever to the rise of the home computer. It proved that some analog games can be even more popular in the digital world.
Mortal Kombat brought cutting-edge graphics and unique fighting styles to the arcade when it launched in 1992. The game’s over-the-top depictions of violence also spurred international debate, including Congressional hearings in the United States that helped lead to 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.
Released by Broderbund in 1993, Myst welcomed players to a mesmerizing world of mysterious puzzles and haunting vistas. The game harnessed early CD-ROM technology—which offered high storage capacity but slow loading times. The discs paired well with the slow-paced, contemplative style of the game, though, and allowed the creation of an immersive world. Myst became the best-selling computer game in the 1990s, selling more than six million copies.
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 90 million units sold in the series, NBA 2K has become a global sports powerhouse.
Sid Meier's Civilization
Sid Meier’s Civilization became one of the most influential simulation and strategy games of all time after its release in 1991. Large in scope, the game invited players to develop their own empire over centuries of time, and the title launched a series of successor games including, in recent years, Civilization V and Civilization: Beyond Earth. With more than 33 million units sold, the popularity of the Civilization series disproves the common perception that it is always more fun to destroy than to create.
Super Mario Kart
Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart combined the thrill of racing games with the beloved characters of its Mario Bros. franchise. Released in 1992, the game built on previous racing games and popularized the go-kart subgenre. Super Mario Kart has sold more than 8.7 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling Super Nintendo game of all time, and it generated a dozen other titles across consoles, handhelds, and arcade games that have sold more than 100 million units. It’s the longest-running racing series in gaming history.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Melee built on the success of its predecessor, Super Smash Bros., becoming the epitome of the casual fighting game. Combing popular Nintendo characters with polished, multi-player gameplay, Melee encouraged people to gather together to play. With more than seven million copies sold, Melee ranks as the best-selling game for the Nintendo GameCube, and it inspired many sequels that remain popular today, including in eSports tournaments around the world.