Today, Donkey Kong finally gets its due.
The arcade classic is one of four fresh arrivals at the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The full list of new inductees includes Donkey Kong, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pokémon Red and Green, and Street Fighter II.
A note for confused Pokémon fans: Pokémon Red and Green is the original title of the game you may know better as Pokémon Red and Blue — which was the title used outside of Japan. Notably, this is the first Pokémon game.
The four winners — Red and Green is counted as one — emerge as the winners from a list of 12 nominees. The "losers" — Final Fantasy VII, Wii Sports, Windows Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, Portal, Resident Evil, Myst, and Tomb Raider — all still have a real shot to be inducted with future Hall of Fame classes.
The World Video Game Hall of Fame is part of The Strong | National Museum of Play, located in Rochester, NY. This newly announced set of titles is the museum’s third class of inductees.
The new entrants join an illustrious list of gaming favorites pulled from every era: Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, Grand Theft Auto III, The Sims, Doom, Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Space Invaders, Tetris, and World of Warcraft.
Here’s what representatives of The Strong have to say about each of the 2017 inductees.
"Without Donkey Kong there would be no Super Mario Bros., a member of the inaugural class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame," said Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. "But Donkey Kong is also about much more than one character. Its overarching narrative of love and its vibrant graphics brought the game to life in a way that few other games could in the early 1980s. It captured the hearts of a generation.”
Halo: Combat Evolved
"Until Halo’s launch, the most successful shooters required a personal computer and the precision offered by a high-quality mouse," said The Strong Associate Curator Shannon Symonds. "Halo proved a console could be just as effective, if not better, than a PC. It also boasted one of the strongest multiplayer experiences of its time and created a legion of hardcore fans that refer to themselves as the ‘Halo Nation.’”
Pokémon Red and Green
"Pokémon 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. "Nearly two decades after its inception and with the introduction of Pokemon Go, ‘Poké-mania’ shows little sign of fading."
Street Fighter II
"Street Fighter II 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. "This communal style of game play reinvigorated the arcade industry in the 1990s and helped give birth to a generation of fighting games."