The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York hosts The World Video Game Hall Of Fame. Unlike its Rock & Roll-related counterpart, The World Video Game Hall Of Fame has only existed since 2015, and only began nominating candidates in 2016. They have a lot of catching up to do.
They’re getting there, though. Last year six games were inducted into the Hall of Fame: Grand Theft Auto 3, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog and Space Invaders. Before that, the first-ever inductees were Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Doom and World of Warcraft.
This year four more join their ranks: Final Fantasy VII, John Madden Football, Tomb Raider and Spacewar!. If you’ve never heard of that last one, many historians consider it to be the first computer video game ever created, back in 1962 by geeks at MIT with time on their hands.
The reasons for the other three are obvious. FFVII brought RPGs into the mainstream, cemented Square as a big-boy publisher and played a major role in the market shift from Nintendo to Playstation in the late 90s. Tomb Raider played a similar role for Sony’s gray console, while also introducing third-person 3D adventure games to the masses. As for Madden Football, plenty of sports games had come before it, but Madden set the formula that continues to this day: annual releases with marginal improvements. (With Internet patches and updates there’s no need to do this anymore, frankly.)
If you ever visit the Strong Museum, you can check out the Video Game Hall of Fame on its second floor. Kudos to these guys for picking the quirky trapezoidal PC Tomb Raider box.