In brief: The Strong National Museum of Play has announced its class of 2021 inductees into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Which games got snubbed and which will forever go down in history as one of the greatest? The results might surprise you.
The Museum back in March narrowed the field down to just a dozen finalists. Classics like Pole Position, Guitar Hero, Portal and Call of Duty all came close but in the end, there were only four spots and they went to Microsoft Flight Simulator, StarCraft, Animal Crossing and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Here's what Strong had to say about each title.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator: For nearly four decades, Microsoft Flight Simulator has provided millions of players endless hours of game play by providing highly realistic but intuitive recreations of real-life airplanes. Its simple premise and accessible content disguises the advanced programming that has made it so successful. Since its launch in 1982, the game has been regularly updated and remains the most popular, longest lasting, and most influential flying sim of all time.
- StarCraft: California-based developer Blizzard Entertainment took the real-time strategy genre to new heights in 1998 with the debut of StarCraft. The single-player mode of the immersive, science-fiction game proved popular, but the multiplayer mode, which included a ladder ranking system, turned it into the largest esports title of its day. StarCraft won multiple Game of the Year Awards, and generated its own lines of novels, graphic novels, licensed toys, clothing, and gaming accessories.
- Animal Crossing: Nintendo debuted the Animal Crossing game in 2001, offering players leisurely gameplay set in real time amid changing seasons. Players were invited to start a new life by moving into a colorful town filled with villagers, each with their own distinct personality. The game gave players the freedom to complete activities and collect objects as they liked, with each day holding the potential for new surprises and discoveries. Players responded to the mellow gameplay and quirky characters, kicking off a long-running series for Nintendo with numerous games. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the latest installment for the Nintendo Switch system, has been played by people around the world.
- Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Released by Brøderbund in 1985, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? spawned one of the best-selling "edutainment" franchises, combing education and entertainment. 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. The game, which launched several sequels, also inspired a hit show on American Public Broadcasting in the 1990s and an animated series on Netflix (2019-2021)---helping propel Carmen Sandiego and her world-traveling ways into the cultural zeitgeist.
What are your thoughts? Did the decision-makers get it right this time around? Personally, I'm still puzzled that classics like Half-Life, Myst and Super Metroid still aren't in the hall of fame but as I keep saying, there's always next year.