The 2020 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists have officially been announced! 12 video games have made the cut to the final round, with likely less than half making it as inductees after voting concludes in the near future. The World Video Game Hall of Fame, if you're not familiar, is part of The Strong Museum of Play, and has been inducting various video games since 2015. Previous inductees include the likes of DOOM, Tetris, and The Oregon Trail.
Specifically, The Strong announced that the following video games are finalists for potential induction into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, with winners set to be announced at a later date: Bejeweled, Centipede, Frogger, GoldenEye 007, Guitar Hero, King’s Quest, Minecraft, NBA Jame, Nokia Snake, Super Smash Brothers Melee, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Over the past couple years, only four video games have been inducted each year, so if history is any indication, there are some tough choices ahead.
"These 12 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists all significantly influenced the development of video games or popular culture," Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games, said as part of the announcement of the finalists. "Together, these games help tell the story of the gaming industry and its influence on society. Nokia Snake proved that mobile devices could be gaming platforms, and Bejeweled took that idea to new heights. Centipede was a hit in the early arcade, and Frogger jumped out of the arcade to become a pop culture icon. King’s Quest changed the adventure genre of games forever, and a game like Uncharted 2 pushed the boundaries of video game storytelling and art."
This year's inductees will be decided based on 30 total ballots, with one of those being one folks can vote on online right here. According to The Strong, the other 29 ballots come from members of the International Selection Advisory Committee. Last year, Colossal Cave Adventure, Microsoft Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Kart joined the World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Read on to see how The Strong describes the various finalists for this year!
"Initially created as a web-based Flash game in 2001, Bejeweled popularized the 'match three' puzzle game and became one of the most iconic mobile games in history," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "It inspired many other mobile games using the same mechanics, and the game’s developer estimated in 2013 that it had been downloaded more than 500 million times."
"When it debuted in 1981, Atari’s Centipede challenged players to blast an insect as it zigzagged across the screen in challenging patterns and at various speeds," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "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."
"Released first by Konami as an arcade game, Frogger challenged players to navigate a frog through oncoming traffic and over a river, combining simple mechanics with increasingly difficult gameplay," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "Licensed by Sega/Gremlin for release in the United States in 1981, Frogger found even more success being ported to home console systems."
"The Nintendo 64’s GoldenEye 007 stormed into living rooms in 1997 and proved that the first-person shooter game could succeed on the home console," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "Based on Ian Fleming’s iconic British superspy James Bond, the game dropped players into a rich world with immersive gameplay and an in-depth storyline. While the single-player mode was popular, its four-player, split-screen mode helped to make it the third best-selling game for the Nintendo 64 and proved an inspiration for other console shooter games that followed, including Microsoft’s Halo franchise."
"Launched in 2005, Harmonix’s Guitar Hero challenged players to unleash their inner rock star by following on-screen notes and strumming to the beat of popular music on a plastic guitar," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "Its wide appeal, licensed music, and social gameplay spawned other similar titles, including the popular Rock Band. Activision, which acquired the game’s rights, released versions of Guitar Hero for nearly every platform, including home consoles, computers, and handheld and mobile devices."
"Designed by Sierra On-Line cofounder Roberta Williams, King’s Quest (1984) introduced players to the fantastical world of Daventry," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "The fairytale setting, unique visuals, and irreverent humor helped to make the game a hit on personal computers and popularized the graphic adventure genre."
"With its endless play possibilities, Minecraft has become a global phenomenon since its introduction in 2009," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "Players in a worldwide, online community make their own creations using sets of pixilated blocks that they mine and use to build elaborate structures. The game offers nearly unlimited opportunities for creativity."
"Midway Games’ NBA Jam mixed gravity-defying slam dunks, frenetic game play, over-the-top commentary, and a roster of real National Basketball Ball Association (NBA) stars," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "Released first to the arcade in 1993, it earned operators $1 billion in revenue in its first year and became one of the most important sports arcade games of all time."
"In 1997, Finnish tech company Nokia released a game to play on its mobile phones with a simple concept—move a snake around gobbling up pixelated food," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "It was aptly named Snake. While not the first mobile game ever created, it was the first to demonstrate that mobile phones could be significant gaming machines."
Super Smash Bros. Melee
"Super Smash Bros. Melee appeared in 2001 and its appealing characters, tight control, and polished gameplay enabled Nintendo to sell more than seven million copies, making it the best-selling game for the GameCube console," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "The game’s popularity worldwide among both casual fans and the fighting-game community has helped Melee’s popularity endure even as multiple sequels have appeared."
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
"Released by Naughty Dog in 2009, Uncharted 2 was a sequel to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, a rollicking adventure and treasure-hunting game," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "The sequel set a new standard for adventure games with slick storytelling, lush graphics, and compelling characters."
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
"Released by Brøderbund in 1995, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? spawned one of the best-selling 'edutainment' franchises, combining education and entertainment," the museum's official description of the finalist reads in part. "Designed for the first generation of graphic-enabled personal computers, the title made learning world geography fun for millions of students as they searched for the whereabouts of the mysterious Carmen Sandiego."