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The World Video Game Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2018. The winners include Spacewar, John Madden Football, Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy VII.

The four inductees span multiple decades, countries of origin, and gaming platforms, but all have significantly affected the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general.

They emerged from a field of 12 finalists that also included Asteroids, Call of Duty, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, King’s Quest, Metroid, Minecraft, and Ms. Pac-Man.

Spacewar! came out in 1962, well before Pong popularized video games in the 1970s. Spacewar! is a space combat Steve Russell while he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As one of the first video games, it influenced the entire industry.


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Eidos’ Tomb Raider introduced the iconic character Lara Croft, and it augured the era of 3D graphics in commercial video games when it came out in 1996. John Madden Football debuted in 1988 with memorable coach Madden as personality. It went on to sell more than 120 million copies and it is still a huge part of Electronic Arts’ annual releases today.

And Square’s Final Fantasy VII debuted in 1997. Its deep story and role-playing game mechanics made it a favorite among fans for years to come. The game was one of the most ambitious of its time and it cemented Sony’s PlayStation as a long-lasting game platform.

I was one of the judges this year, and I voted for Call of Duty, Minecraft, and Tomb Raider. One out of three isn’t bad. There are about 30 judges each year. The awards are given out by the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York.

The criteria for the selection are as follows:

  1. Icon-status: the game is widely recognized and remembered.
  2. Longevity: the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time.
  3. Geographical reach: the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries.
  4. Influence: The game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general. A game may be inducted on the basis of this criterion without necessarily having met all of the first three.

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