I don’t know about you guys but back when I was a teenager, Donkey Kong dominated my afternoons after a long hard slog at school. If I could schmooze my mother I was allowed to play it in the mornings too. Not a bad way to prime your brain for a day of learning. Well that’s debatable. Donkey Kong plus another three classic titles made their way into the World Video Game Hall of Fame recently as they were announced as fresh inductees at The Strong National Museum. These games bring the memories flooding back as I played each of them for countless hours. Serving as a distraction from real life perhaps, but there’s no denying the amount of joy (and frustration at times) that can come from these great games, even to this day.
The newest of the bunch to be delighted with the honor is “Halo: Combat Evolved” which if you remember was the first in the forever famous Halo franchise exclusively released on the first generation Xbox. The game was the first and main title used to try and propel the then brand new console to market going up against the Playstation brand that had dominated the space for years up to that point. Some saw it as a risky gamble touting a first person shooter of all things as the reason to buy the console. Up to that point first person shooter games were seen as only highly enjoyable games to be played on a PC with the use of a mouse on your right hand and keyboard on the left.
Even though the market was very skeptical the game was an unbelievable success and managed to convert many hardcore PC diehard’s into trying the game and loving it. It has proven that consoles, with their handheld controllers, can be just as effective as a PC. Even though the game and Xbox console hit the market more than 15 years ago now that takes nothing away from how fun the game is to play to this day. Did anyone else have parties involving many friends and brothers as a teen bringing over their Xbox’s and setting them up on four different TV’s to play a massive 16 player multiplayer battle? I sure did, and they were some of the funnest times you could have as a kid.
Another hugely famous title to be inducted into this esteemed list is “Street Fighter II” which was majorly popular on both arcade machines and Super Nintendo consoles with its button bashing prowess. It is reported that over six million copies of the game were sold and is one of the highest selling arcade games ever. The Street Fighter brand basically created a whole new genre of gaming with the head to head fighting and hoards of people standing around at arcades watching others battle it out for the win. Many tournaments were held for the game at arcades across the globe as its popularity constantly grew in the 1990’s.
Now who could forget Pokemon? And specifically the Red and Green titles that launched the cartoon franchise into worldwide glory. In the US market they were actually called Pokemon Red and Blue. Why the difference in name for Americans? Your guess is as good as mine. Apparently we like the color blue more than green. When the Pokemon games came out in 1996 on the handheld gadget called a Gameboy (who could forget these?) it was devoured by every little gremlin that could get their hands on it. Selling more than 30 million copies of the game it makes middle aged men ooze with nostalgia.
I know that Pokemon Go is all the rage these days but there’s something about that itty bitty GameBoy screen that just makes you smile. Pikachu would certainly not be such a concrete figure in mainstream gaming culture if it weren’t for these two pioneering titles that brought joy to everyone who was lucky enough to play them. This reminds me, I need to go and pick me up a second hand GameBoy on Ebay and source out a couple copies of these bad boys!
There’s no denying each of these inductees is worthy of such an honor. I would happily play each of these titles in a heartbeat if I could just get my hands on them for less than thousands of dollars. It pays to have geeky friends that hoard these types of classics. Hey Barry, I’m coming over!