Yesterday, The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York announced its four inductees to the World Video Game Hall of Fame for 2019. Those four games are Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, Microsoft Solitaire, and Colossal Cave Adventure. Those games managed to beat out some serious competition in the round of 12 finalists, including Candy Crush Saga and Half-Life, which got us thinking about other games that deserve a spot in the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
The Strong has been inducting games to the Hall of Fame since 2015, starting with six per year in 2015 and 2016 and then moving to four per year from 2017 onward. In choosing the titles that will be inducted, the Strong attempts to recognize “individual electronic games of all types – arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile – that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general.” With only 24 games inducted so far, here are our picks for the games that should have the honor of entering the Hall of Fame next.
Super Mario 64
The original Super Mario Bros. is already in the World Video Game Hall of Fame, for obvious reasons. It defined the platforming genre when it first released, and even today, its influence in gaming is clear. What Super Mario Bros. did for 2D platforming games, Super Mario 64 did for 3D platformers. Very early on, it showed us how great 3D platforming could be, and though its rudimentary 3D graphics are certainly a little dated these days, there are definitely modern games that don’t do platforming as well as Super Mario 64 did.
This one is more of a personal pick of mine, because I consider Chrono Trigger to be one of the greatest games of all time, if not the greatest. Chrono Trigger seeps quality in every regard, from its battle system and characters to its story and its graphics. Regardless of where it specifically ranks on the list of all-time greats, it’s one of those titles that deserves to be honored any time we’re talking about games that have had a profound effect on the industry. RPGs were elevated to a new level when Chrono Trigger released, and in my eyes, there’s only one other game that can go toe-to-toe with it.
Final Fantasy VI
Were it not for Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI would unquestionably be the best RPG of the 16-bit era (at least in my mind). Both games launched within a year of one another for the SNES, and like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI is basically a masterclass in how to make a near-perfect RPG. Final Fantasy VI often gets overshadowed by its predecessor, Final Fantasy VII – which is already in the Video Game Hall of Fame – and that’s a shame because it’s possibly the pinnacle of the Final Fantasy series.
Sid Meier’s Civilization
Sid Meier’s Civilization was actually one of the 12 finalists for induction this year, but it didn’t quite make the cut. That means we’ll probably see it enter into the Hall of Fame before long, and when it does, it’ll be well-deserved. These days, there isn’t much reason to revisit the original Civilization, but there’s no denying the high quality and industry-wide influence of the series it sparked.
If we look at the list of the most popular arcade games in the 1970s and 1980s, most of them probably deserve induction into the Video Game Hall of Fame for one reason or another. There are already a few of those games in the Hall of Fame, including Pac-Man, Pong, and Space Invaders. For my money, Galaga is one of the best arcade games of all time, perhaps second to only Pac-Man. We may never see Galaga get in because of the similarities between it and Space Invaders, but I’d argue that Galaga deserves a spot nevertheless just because of how fun it was.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Arguably the best Star Wars video game out there, Knights of the Old Republic didn’t need to rely on its license to become the fondly-remembered title it is today. With a narrative that allowed you to drift toward the light or the dark side based on how you solved problems and interacted with other people, Knights of the Old Republic was an instant classic. People are still talking about the game’s twist to this day, nearly 16 years after release, so if The Strong wants to induct games that have had a lasting impact on the industry, it doesn’t need to look any further than Star Wars: KOTOR.
Mega Man 2
It’s a bit strange that the Video Game Hall of Fame is entering its fifth year as an exhibit at The Strong and so far hasn’t inducted any Mega Man games. There’s plenty of good to be found throughout the series, and while the original Mega Man started it all, it’s commonly held that Mega Man 2 was the game that forced everyone to take notice. Though not as difficult as its predecessor, Mega Man 2 still offered plenty of challenge to players, and its successes continue to inform the Mega Man series and side-scrolling shooters to this day.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Like Civilization, Super Smash Bros. Melee was another title that made it to the final round of voting for induction this year but ultimately fell short. It still definitely deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, if not because of how fun it is to play, then because of the incredible story of its rise as a competitive game. Super Smash Bros. Melee is still played at professional fighting game tournaments to this day (such as Pound 2019, the grand finals of which you can see above), despite the fact that there have been four other Super Smash Bros. releases since it first launched back in 2001. Not bad for a game that’s going on 18 years old.
If Microsoft Solitaire can make it into the Video Game Hall of Fame, Minesweeper deserves a spot as well. Like Solitaire, Minesweeper had a profound effect on the games industry, not only becoming one of the essential puzzle games, but also paving the way for the casual gaming market that seems to get stronger every year. Minesweeper, like Tetris or Super Mario Bros., is a game that everyone has heard of, so it’s hard to argue against its inclusion on that basis alone.
Obviously, you can make an argument for the inclusion of any number of video games. Though the video game industry is still in its infancy compared to the more established arms of art and media, there are plenty of worthy games to choose from; what’s listed here is just a small sampling of the games that should one day have a place in the Hall of Fame.
Now it’s your turn: head down to the comments section and tell us which games you’d like see enter into the World Video Game Hall of Fame someday. Better yet, you can head over to The Strong’s website and nominate some of your favorites for consideration. The Strong has already opened up nominations for the Hall of Fame’s May 2020 induction, so go put your favorites forward as deserving candidates and see if they make the cut.