Video Game Hall of Fame adds ‘Halo: Combat Evolved,’ 3 more

  • May. 4, 2017 12:30 a.m.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Attention Halo Nation, “Halo: Combat Evolved” is in the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

The science fiction shooter game that enthralled a legion of fans after its 2001 launch with the Xbox system is one of four games to be inducted into the hall Thursday. “Donkey Kong,” ”Pokemon Red and Green” and “Street Fighter II” round out the young hall’s third class of honorees.

All will be on permanent display at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, where the hall of fame was established in 2015 to recognize an industry that the Entertainment Software Association said generated $30.4 billion in revenue in the U.S. last year.

“Until ‘Halo’s’ launch, the most successful shooters required a personal computer and the precision offered by a high-quality mouse,” said Strong Associate Curator Shannon Symonds. “‘Halo’ proved a console could be just as effective, if not better, than a PC.”

More than half of the Microsoft Xbox consoles initially sold included the launch game and players gave it high marks for its intricate storyline, characters like Master Chief and multi-player capability. The self-described “Halo Nation” of fans that emerged bought up 6 million copies, along with sequels, spinoffs, books and action figures.

An international committee of video game scholars and journalists chose the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s class of 2017 from among 12 finalists that also included: “Final Fantasy VII,” ”Microsoft Windows Solitaire,” ”Mortal Kombat,” ”Myst,” ”Portal,” ”Resident Evil,” ”Tomb Raider” and “Wii Sports.”

Inductees were chosen based on their longevity and impact on the video game industry and pop culture. Nominations of arcade, computer, console, hand-held and mobile games came in from more than 100 countries, The Strong said.

Twenty years before “Halo,” fellow inductee “Donkey Kong” was a star of arcades and at the time of its 1981 release, Nintendo’s most profitable game to date. Even more notable than its sale of an estimated 132,000 arcade cabinets is the game’s launch of the plumber character Mario, who led the spinoff “Super Mario Bros.” into the hall of fame’s inaugural class.

Another Nintendo entry, “Pokemon Red and Green,” was released on the Game Boy in 1996 as “Pocket Monsters.” With the catchphrase “Gotta catch ‘em all!” players were challenged to collect 151 unique monsters, which soon migrated to 21.5 billion trading cards, 800 television episodes and 17 movies.

“‘Pokemon Red and Green’ launched a franchise that has taken the world by storm, vaulting many of its characters, such as Pikachu, into popular, mainstream culture,” Symonds said.

Capcom’s “Street Fighter II” is credited with helping to spark an arcade renaissance in the 1990s, The Strong said.

The game “allowed for head-to-head battles between human opponents, instantly attracting spectators and generating fierce tournament play in arcades across the world,” said Jeremy Saucier, assistant director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games.

Nominations for the World Video Game Hall of Fame’s class of 2018 are open.

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