Final Fantasy 7, John Madden Football, Tomb Raider and Spacewar! are this year’s entries to the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
The titles join the 15 previous entrants since the hall was created in 2015. It’s administered and housed in The Strong, a Rochester, New York facility that describes itself as the national museum of play. The four titles were chosen by a panel of games history experts, journalists and scholars from a longlist of public nominations.
Spacewar! is perhaps a surprise choice given it was never commercially released, but it’s certainly got historical merit. It was created at MIT in 1962 and is believed to be the first video game that was distributed to other computers rather than solely played on the machine upon which its code was written. It involves two ships in an aerial dogfight with the twist that it is set near a star’s gravity well and thus the ships are constantly moving. It was a direct influence on later commercial arcade and home console games, most notably Asteroids.
Detailing the other inductees, the hall cited several historical elements of the Madden series including having the game treat each player as an individual, affecting the broadcast style of real football, and creating the genre of the annual sports game franchise (though some gamers might question that as a positive.)
In the Tomb Raider induction the hall cited the game’s appeal to hardcore and casual gamers alike, noting Lara Croft as arguably the most famous female video game character while acknowledging controversy over her early physical appearance.
Final Fantasy VII earned praise for marrying technical achievements with storyline and for bringing Japanese-style RPGs to international mainstream audiences.
The titles already in the Hall are:
- Donkey Kong (inducted in 2017)
- DOOM (2015)
- GTA III (2016)
- Halo: Combat Evolved (2017)
- Oregon Trail (2016)
- Legend of Zelda (2016)
- Pac-Man (2015)
- Pokemon Red and Green (2017)
- Pong (2015)
- The Sims (2016)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2016)
- Space Invaders (2016)
- Street Fighter II (2017)
- Super Mario Bros. (2015)
- Tetris (2015)
- World of Warcraft (2015)