Video games have been around for decades, and this week, a few of them got their due. Rochester, New York’s World Video Game Hall of Fame welcomed its first inductees. Experts carved the list from 15 down to just six entries:
- Super Mario Bros
- World of Warcraft
Not a bad list. But at 614Now, we wanted to know what a local expert on such matters would think. So, we asked Kyle Hofmeister, General Manager of 16-Bit Bar+Arcade.
- Donkey Kong – possibly the best classic arcade style game ever made, introduces us to genre juggernauts Mario and Donkey Kong, characters who would go on to absurdly successful full franchises over decades. Special shout out to Daisy, the damsel in distress of the game, who is quite distinct from Princess Peach, saving whom is the goal of almost all of Mario’s subsequent quests. Gameplay is famously difficult, requiring an absurd amount of calculation and precision to beat the first few levels, and machine-like consistency to get to the game’s later stages.
- Ms. Pacman – anyone that argues the original Pac-Man is better than his better half has respectfully lost my trust. Do you just prefer slower, clunkier, less-finished versions of all your games? The worth of this one goes without saying much more, and the original stalwarts of arcade gaming still hear this machine’s bleeps and bloops in their sleep.
- Asteroids – One of the first games ever to grace an arcade still remains the standard for space-based video game physics. It’s a classic zero-gravity battle between thrusters and inertia. The perfectly immersive game-play rendered in the impossible-to-replicate vector graphics result in the feeling that you are truly, hopelessly floating through space in your tiny triangular spaceship, trying desperately to avoid fiery, silent death. Pew, pew, pew!!
- The Legend of Zelda – Rotating from the original vidya game birthplace at the arcade, to it’s current haven at players’ homes, the original Legend of Zelda for the NES represents a “Copernican Revolution” in the medium. Consuming quarters is no longer a factor in video game design, and now you can play at your own leisure, evaluate your strategy in the comfort of your own home, and even SAVE YOUR PROGRESS. This lead to larger environments, more immersive stories, and a real sense of exploration. As Link, the protagonist who finds himself the only hope for the troubled land of Hyrule, you must explore every nook and cranny of a hostile environment to procure stronger and stronger tools, or face immediate death by wandering into the wrong area unprepared.
- Super Mario 64 – Probably my most controversial pick of the list, but I’ll fight for it. This was the first game to do a 3-dimensional environment properly. It took staples and motifs from the platform gaming genre and executed them perfectly in a new dimension of gameplay space. Mario’s movement has been tweaked and tuned to master his new 3D environment. The stage-design is incredibly imaginative: using a castle full of secrets rooms and paintings as the overworld and accessing stages by jumping into these unique paintings is as magical as it is functional. And at heart it retains the original sense of challenge and adventure that we have all come to know and love from a Mario title.