Video games leave all sorts of legacies in their wake: carpal-tunnel syndrome, destroyed couch cushions, intense arguments with supposed friends, and countless hours of lost productivity. But the truly great games deserved to be enshrined in the video Valhalla that is the Strong Museum’s World Video Game Hall Of Fame in Rochester, NY. The Hall Of Fame inducted its first class of inductees last year, an impressive inaugural roster that included Pong, Pac-Man, Doom, World Of Warcraft, Tetris, and Super Mario Bros. But those initial six games must now make room for a second round of inductees, to be named on May 5. After receiving “thousands of nominations from over 100 countries,” by its own calculations, the Hall has narrowed the massive list down to 15 finalists. And what happens from there? “An international advisory committee of journalists, scholars and others will guide the final selection.” Sounds like an excuse for a good, old fashioned nerd throwdown.
So which games got short-listed this time around? It’s a truly diverse, exciting range of titles, representing a broad spectrum of the gaming world from sports to education to stealing cars and shooting prostitutes. The 15 finalists are (in alphabetical order): Elite, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto III, John Madden Football, The Legend Of Zelda, Minecraft, Nurburgring, The Oregon Trail, Pokemon Red And Green, Sid Meier’s Civilization, The Sims, Sonic The Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Street Fighter II, and Tomb Raider. Those outraged by the omission of their favorite games are reminded that the World Video Game Hall Of Fame is only in its second year, and that a limit of six games per year doesn’t leave a great amount of wiggle room for cult favorites. As with many real-life video game collections (and franchises, for that matter), this one will eventually become suitably unwieldy. Just give it time.