2016 Inductees to World Video Game Hall of Fame Announced

The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame for the National Museum of Play located in Rochester, New York, has announced the second line of historic games that will be inducted into the exhibit.  The Oregon Trail, Space Invaders, The Legend of ZeldaSonic the Hedgehog, The Sims, and Grand Theft Auto III will be joining the Hall of Fame as the 2016 inductees.  They will be accompanying last year’s inductees of Super Mario Bros, Pac-Man, Pong, Tetris, Doom, and World of Warcraft.

The Oregon Trail, the oldest game among all of the inductees, had players take the role of settlers of Western America and was popularized through its use as an educational tool in many schools.  Space Invaders, while archaic today, was cutting-edge when it released in 1978 as the first Japanese arcade game using a microprocessor and helped define the space-shooter genre.  The Legend of Zelda not only set a new benchmark for the action-adventure genre with its open world-map and trove of collectible items, it also introduced the idea of save files to gaming.  Sonic the Hedgehog is most famous as the game that brought Sega to prominence as a major console developer.  The Sims took an unconventional approach to game design by casting aside objectives and scores for something more akin to a virtual dollhouse and launched the highest-selling franchise of PC games.  Finally, Grand Theft Auto III set itself in an open-world where players could have hours of fun without even pursuing the actual story missions and instead enjoy various mini-games or simply create chaos.  Each is undoubtedly a legend of the industry and warrants a place in the Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees were narrowed down from a list of fifteen finalists that were chosen from with the aid of journalists, scholars, and popular vote.  The finalists that just missed being added to the Hall of Fame were Street Fighter II, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Pokémon Red and Green, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Elite, John Madden Football, Minecraft, and Nürburgring.  While they haven’t made it in this year, there’s always the next.

If you have any games that you feel should be in the Hall of Fame, you can make your own nominations here.  What do you think belongs in the Video Game Hall of Fame?  How do you feel about this year’s inductees.  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Retro Corner: Space Invaders

Space Invaders

Space

Aliens, as we know, generally get a bad rep in video games. Did Gears of Wars’ Locust horde come in peace? They did not. They came in a limb-loppy, face-shooty fury. Then there’s the Covenant, which consists of several species; all of whom rate pretty highly on the douche-o-meter. Or how about the Timesplitters? Or the Greys from Destroy All Humans!? The clue’s in the title there.

In sum, extra-terrestrials are not our friends. They do not befriend lonely little urchins called Elliot, perform heartwarming glowy fingered gestures, or phone home. And if they ever do phone home, it’s only to arrange some mail order weapons of mass destruction to vaporise us with.

So you’ll forgive humanity for being a little hostile back. Over the years, aliens have been gunned down en masse in video games. Even more so than zombies, and that’s saying something. Today, we’re tracing all of this back to the original outer space menaces: the space invaders. Of, y’know, Space Invaders.

Space Invaders 2

The game hit arcades back when there actually were arcades, way back in 1978. Its premise was as simple as you’d expect of gaming’s early days: you’re a blurry laser cannon on the bottom of the screen. Equally blurry waves of aliens approach from the top of the screen. If they reach you, it’s not going to end well. So shoot! Shoot ‘til your shooting finger can shoot no more!

But you know the setup. Space Invaders is among the most iconic games ever made, alongside the likes of Mario, Pac-Man and the equally ancient Asteroids. Even if you aren’t decrepit enough to have played the original, you’ll know the pixellated aliens anywhere.

This one was such a hit because it nailed everything that early arcade games were about. Simple, instinctive gameplay. The ol’ classic ‘easy to pick up and hard to master’ idea. It was also very addictive, and ate many, many quarters in its time. Not to mention the highscore factor.

Space Invaders
is one of those icons of gaming that is still going in some form or another. It’s been ported to all manner of systems, given spangly modern remakes and re-releases, the full works. More than that, it has been an inspiration to later generations of games and has permeated pop culture. Children who weren’t born for decades after the game’s release now wear it on t-shirts, and that’s got to say something.