2021 Video Game Hall of Fame Nominees

The Strong Museum has released the list of nominees of games to be inducted into the National Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame. This year, 12 nominees from the early 1970s through to some of the most influential and successful titles of all time will be immortalized in the Hall of Fame for 2021.


What is the Strong Museum Hall of Fame?

Based in Rochester New York, the Strong National Museum aims to recognize the important role that gaming and play has had on the development of our society, as a whole. According to The Strong Museum’s official website, the organization’s mission statement is:

The Strong explores play and the ways in which it encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history.

To this end, it aims to preserve the history and educate masses with regard to books, documents, toys, dolls, card and board games, video games, and other elements that have contributed to the history of games and playing. The aim is to highlight and inform the current and future generations of what role playing contributes to the cultural, intellectual, and social development of civilization.

The Strong National Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame was established in accordance with the organization’s mission statement. Beginning in 2015, the Strong National Museum has held the induction of new entries to the roster annually.

In 2020, the Hall of Fame inducted Bejeweled, Centipede, King’s Quest, and Minecraft.

Which Games Will Be Included in The Hall of Fame?

This year, The Strong National Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame nominees are as follows:

  • Animal Crossing (2001, Nintendo)
  • Call of Duty (2003, Activision)
  • Farmville (2009, Zynga)
  • FIFA International Soccer (1993, Electronic Arts)
  • Guitar Hero (2005, Harmonix)
  • Mattel Football (1977, Mattel Electronics)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (1982, Microsoft)
  • Pole Position (1982, Atari)
  • Portal (2007, Valve)
  • Starcraft (1997, Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Tron (1982, Midway)
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (1995, Brøderbund)

This is an interesting list of choices for the Hall of Fame, as it presents a wide array of genres and platforms.

Mattel Football is the only stand-alone handheld electronic game, but it helped usher in the mobile gaming sector. Without Mattel Football, we would not have the Gameboy or the current crop of Android/iOS mobile games today.

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Zynga's Farmville was one of the most successful Flash games of all time, thanks to Facebook.

Farmville is interesting, as this is a Flash game, but Adobe has abandoned support for Flash earlier in 2021. However, it was one of the most popular games of all time during its run, having millions of users on Facebook alone. The current iteration of Farmville can now be found on the Google Play and Apple Play stores.

Cinematic First Person Shooters evolved thanks to 2003's Call of Duty.

Call of Duty brought the cinematic first person shooter. Although first person shooters like Quake, Rainbow Six, and Battlefield have their fair contributions, the Call of Duty series has had the most success. Its most recent version, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War recently became one of the top selling games of all time in the North American market.

Starcraft evolved the real time strategy (RTS) genre into a global phenomenon. Even today, the first Starcraft game is being competitively played. Despite the sequel's massive success, it would not be as influential as the original. The multiplayer and LAN elements of Starcraft would eventually lead to the eSports competitions of the modern era.

Real Time Strategy games reached its peak through 1997's Starcraft.

And the only Nintendo entry on the list of nominees is the first Animal Crossing. The combination of roleplaying, open world exploration, and social interaction has propelled the series to unexpected heights. The Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons has hit 31.8 million sales (as of February 2021).

Open-ended gaming and social interaction would be quite different without Nintendo's Animal Crossing.

Vote for the People’s Choice

Only three of the 12 nominees will be given the honor of joining the Strong National Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame. These three will be joining previous Hall of Fame awardees such as Super Mario Bros., DOOM, Pac-Man, Final Fantasy 7, Grand Theft Auto 3, John Madden Football, Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Bros., The Sims, Tetris, The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, and others that have won since 2015.

Do you want one of the games in the nominees list to make it to the Hall of Fame? The Strong Museum has provided a means for fans to vote for a People’s Choice. The ballot can be found at The Strong National Museum’s official site. Three of the games that receive the most public votes will be submitted to the International Selection Advisory Committee. These will then be included in determining the final ballot tally for the games inducted.

The final choices for the National Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on May 6, 2021

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.