'Zelda', 'Grand Theft Auto' among 2016 World Video Game Hall of Fame inductees

Put your controllers down, time’s up: the 2016 inductees for the World Video Game Hall of Fame are: Space Invaders, The Oregon Trail, Grand Theft Auto III, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda and The Sims, according to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

The six games were selected from a list of 15 finalists which included Elite, Final Fantasy, John Madden Football, Minecraft, Nürburgring, Pokémon Red and Green, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Street Fighter II, and Tomb Raider.

“Through the world video game hall of fame, The Strong recognizes games of all types: arcade, console, computer, handheld and mobile that have enjoyed popularity over a sustain period and have exerted an influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general,” said John Paul Dyson, ‎a director at the museum, during the announcement.

A committee of journalists, scholars and video game history experts helped to choose the finalists.

Last year, the museum’s first inductees were Doom, Pac-Man, Pong, Tetris, Super Mario Bros. and World of Warcraft.

According to the Strong museum, here are brief descriptions of each 2016 inductee:

Space Invaders (1978)

Space Invaders conquered arcades and living rooms, catapulting video games into the mainstream. Designed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in Japan in 1978, Taito’s arcade video game challenged players to zap an ongoing onslaught of aliens. Players took control of a powerful laser cannon that they moved across the bottom of the screen and used to fire at five rows of advancing aliens and occasional flying saucers worth extra points. The game included a “high score” at the top of the screen, and this popular feature soon became a standard element of arcade games.”

The Oregon Trail (1971)

“As the longest-published, most successful educational game of all time, The Oregon Trail has blazed a path for the use of video games in learning. Three student teachers, Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger, created The Oregon Trail in 1971 to help Minnesota schoolchildren learn American History. First programmed on a primitive teletype printer, the game challenged students to assume the role of Western settlers crossing the continent on the way to the Pacific coast. Players had to choose which items to bring, how fast to travel, and what to do when food ran low or disease struck.”

Grand Theft Auto III (2001)

Grand Theft Auto III’s vast open world made it famous while its mature content made it infamous. It wasn’t the first 3-D “sandbox” game to allow players to freely interact with an open virtual world, or even the first game in its juggernaut franchise. But the 2001 game was the first of its kind to achieve massive mainstream popularity and widespread critical acclaim by appealing to millions of players who relished the freedom to push the boundaries of what their in-game characters could do in an open world.”

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Sonic the Hedgehog took the 16-bit gaming era by storm in 1991 with its lightning-fast game play and cool, hip title character, temporarily vaulting Sega ahead of Nintendo in the 1990s console wars. To develop a rival to Nintendo’s Mario, Sega hosted an in-house design contest that produced a new hedgehog mascot codenamed “Mr. Needlemouse.” Artists colored him cobalt blue and outfitted him in large red shoes that evoked allusions to boots warn by Michael Jackson and Santa Claus. Styled as an underdog with attitude, Sonic appealed to Generation X gamers.”

The Legend of Zelda (1986)

“Inspired by creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s childhood expeditions through woods and caves, The Legend of Zelda popularized non-linear, open-world exploration games and paved the way for some of the industry’s most famous role-playing and action-adventure games. Originally released in 1986 as a flagship game for the Famicom Disk System, Zelda no Densetsu: The Hyrule Fantasy — known worldwide as The Legend of Zelda —- became one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises. Zelda serves as a coming-of-age story for the protagonist Link, who must gather eight fragments of the legendary Triforce of Wisdom to rescue Princess Zelda from the clutches of the evil Ganon.”

The Sims (2000)

“The relationships and routines of everyday life became endless fun with The Sims. Whereas many video games explore themes of fantasy and adventure, The Sims found play possibilities in the small-scale worlds of household life. Designer Will Wright developed his fore-running city-planning simulator SimCity in 1989, but in The Sims, which debuted in 2000, he allowed players to explore intimate human relationships.”

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