The World Video Game Hall of Fame today honored four more inductees, three of them landmark works of home computer gaming, and one of them a staple of the office.
That would be 1990’s Microsoft Solitaire, a pack-in with the Windows 3.0 operating system that “became ubiquitous around the world.” In today’s announcement, The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, noted that the game “has been distributed on over a billion computers,” and has seen “35 billion games per year in over 200 markets.” The Strong’s Jeremy Saucier correctly observed that Microsoft Solitaire “helped pave the way for the growth of the casual gaming market that remains so popular today.”
Two of the other three inductees are a little more familiar: Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Kart. Both games debuted in 1992. Mortal Kombat was cited as much for its visuals and unique fighting styles as for its over-the-top violence, which led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board 25 years ago. “Beyond its controversial content and role in triggering debate about the role of violent video games in society, Mortal Kombat’s compelling gameplay, iconic characters, and many sequels have kept players coming back again and again,” said Andrew Borman, The Strong’s digital games curator.
Super Mario Kart was lauded for popularizing the kart-racing subgenre, as well as starting the longest-running racing franchise in video games history, with aggregate sales north of 100 million units. “Super Mario Kart truly excelled as a social game that appealed to players of all skill levels, especially with its engaging multi-player settings,” archivist Julia Novakovic said.
The fourth inductee may be a little less known, but in its time was very influential, particularly over a primordial genre of adventure games. Colossal Cave Adventure was a 1976 text adventure that paved the way for titles like Adventureland and Zork. The Strong noted that all of these were important to the launch of the commercial computer game industry.
“The best games fire the imagination,” said Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “Anyone who first timed a command like ‘get lamp’ into Colossal Cave Adventure could see the power of electronic games to create magical worlds of the imagination.”
Games inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame are placed on permanent display on the second floor of The Strong. The Hall of Fame was established in 2015; last year it honored Final Fantasy 7, John Madden Football, Spacewar!, and Tomb Raider.