Upon looking at the list of 2020 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists, I realized out of the 12 I’ve only played half.
Candidates for the Class of 2020 are Bejeweled, Centipede, Frogger, GoldenEye 007, Guitar Hero, King’s Quest, Minecraft, NBA Jam, Nokia Snake, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Super Smash Brothers Melee was among the finalists last year as well as Centipede, and I have to say, I will be miffed if Super Smash Brothers Melee gets snubbed for a second year in a row.
In the past I’ve talked about how the game was a central part of my childhood, spending countless hours indoors honing my skills and daring any to challenge me if they dare. Pushing, striving, to be the best of our little neighborhood circle but only brushing against the coveted title as I wrestled for it with my childhood friend.
That isn’t to say I didn’t have good memories with other games on the list.
I never owned Guitar Hero, but I had friends who did. While I didn’t get to play it as much, I do recall there were times in the cast parties after my high school’s musicals where the instruments were dragged out for people to play.
Eventually the owners would always be goaded into playing Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce, the hardest song to play in the game. Some who didn’t own the game even decided to try their hand at it. Call it hubris, but there was something thrilling about seeing how well you fared against something seemingly so insurmountable.
When it came to Frogger and Nokia Snake, I don’t really have much memories of them beyond playing them in long car rides, struggling to see the screen before backlighting was a thing when the sky got dark.
I would hope for some car to begin following us with its brights on (which I would later go on to learn was the worst) so I could hold my Game Boy up or time the gameplay to the flashes of street lamps. That being said, I usually only played those games when I was in the middle of a rage quit of one of my more complex games. There was nothing more frustrating walking out of Mt. Moon in Pokemon Yellow, half dead, only to run into your rival who was waiting there to fight before you could go heal.
I actually don’t remember playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? that much, though I absolutely love the newest Netflix adaptation. I was so excited when I learned it was being remade, and even more so when it was revealed Carmen was re-branded into a Robin Hood-esque rogue who was racing to protect national treasures from the evil V.I.L.E. Call me predictable, but I love dashing rogues with a heart of gold. Which, coincidentally, is what I play in my Dungeons and Dragons game on Sunday afternoons. Though I’m not sure if she’s so much as dashing as a lovable walking disaster.
The other games I don’t really have as much of a relationship with, though I do have to say I enjoyed watching a livestream of Overly Sarcastic Productions on YouTube doing their own Journey to the West in Minecraft. The creativity which I have seen people put in that game astounds me even now.
There are a lot of good games on that list, but I’ll be honest. The ones I want to become inductees are Super Smash Brothers Melee, Minecraft and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Each of the 12 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists had a significant influence on the development of video games or popular culture, says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games.
“Together, these games help tell the story of the gaming industry and its influence on society,” Dyson says. “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.”
The inductees will be announced at The Strong museum on a date to be determined.
Mallory Diefenbach is a staff writer at The Daily News. She writes about video gaming in her occasional column, Gamer Gal.