Do we like museums? Not really, but we make a special exception for The Strong – based in New York, they are the US’s national museum of play – www.museumofplay.org.
I’m not going to spoil the surprise but there are some absolute crackers in there (link at the foot of the article). We sent Adrian to chat to Jon-Paul Dyson who is the Director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, to find out how this exhibit came about:
What made the museum decide to launch the World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015?
While there are a number of award and recognition programs, there is none such as this, focusing solely on individual game titles across platforms and their impact over time and across international borders. Additionally, the museum’s experience with the National Toy Hall of Fame provides both a proven model for such a hall of fame and evidence that it can advance understanding and appreciation of the impact of video games on culture and society
Roughly how many people across the globe voted in the first ever World Video Game Hall of Fame?
We had more than 3,200 nominations from more than 60 countries
Once all the votes were in, how exactly did you manage to select the top six games?
Our selection process is very similar to the longstanding process we have for our National Toy Hall of Fame. Anyone is free to nominate a game and we’re accepting nominations for the class of 2016 through March 31st, 2016 at our website here: http://www.worldvideogamehalloffame.org/nominate.
For the class of 2015, an internal committee at The Strong looked at the nominations the public provided and chose a list of 15 finalists that met the criteria of icon-status, geographical reach, longevity, and influence.
We then sent the list of finalists to our International Selection Advisory Committee (you can find a list of the members of that committee here as part of our press kit: http://www.museumofplay.org/press/kits/world-video-game-hall-fame-inductees) and that committee provided input to select the inductees.
I assume it was not an easy decision to only pick 6 games – how long did the final decision making process take?
This year the whole process from announcing the World Video Game Hall of Fame to announcing the inductees took several months.
They are all video classics and have helped shape the gaming industry – what is your personal favourite out of these six great titles?
I’d say DOOM is probably the game that I loved the most when I first played it, though an arcade version of Tetris ate many of my quarters and a lot of my time when I needed a break from writing my PhD Dissertation!
On your website you state you have over 55,000 video game related materials – how long has it taken to build up such an impressive collection?
The Strong has been open to the public since 1982 and has the world’s largest, most comprehensive collection of playthings such as toys, dolls, and games. About nine years ago in recognition of the transformative effect video games were having on the way people play, learn, and interact with one another we began collecting games and established our International Center for the History of Electronic Games in 2009 when our collection grew past 10,000 games.
How does your fine museum get a hold of video game items?
Donations are a key part of how we develop our collection, but we do also purchase items as well with a limited pool of collections acquisition money we have.
What are the rarest video games you have displayed at The Strong?
We have many rare games. Out of our collection of more than 200 arcade and pinball games a couple of arcade games that come to mind are the prototypes for Asteroids and Maze Invaders (an unreleased game from Atari that we acquired as part of the acquisition of Atari’s coin-op divisions).
Out of the finalists, which title do you personally think had the biggest overall influence on the video game industry?
I think perhaps DOOM has had the biggest effect in terms of how games are made, modded, and distributed. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of DOOM when you think how it pioneered the use of a game engine, digital distribution through shareware, multiplayer contests, openness to modding, etc.
If you were stuck on a desert island and you had access to a TV a console and one video game and you had to choose from the finalists?
Probably Tetris – I’m a sucker for puzzle games. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll give you a different answer.
What games do you believe could be the running for next year’s World Video Game Hall of Fame?
A lot of great games were finalists but didn’t make the final selection.
The Legend of Zelda has certainly gotten a lot of love in comment section around the internet. In terms of games that didn’t make the list of finalists there are so many. I’ve noticed in the UK a lot of campaigning for Elite.
What is your favourite video game of all time?
The first game I ever played was a version of Zork on a PDP-11 minicomputer called Dungeon. That game opened incredible worlds to me and will always be a personal favorite. Age of Empires: Expansion of Rome was another all-time favorite that I wasted way too many hours playing.
Check out the hall of fame here.