PC classics Ultima, SimCity and Myst have been added to the World Video Game Hall of Fame

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Deep in my heart I know that Hall of Fame-type accolades are largely just a way of dressing up a way of marketing your awards show/museum/whatever, but I also like to occasionally cast away the cynic in me and imagine a world in which this industry’s most important games and creators are rightly recognised, celebrated and preserved rather than being locked away in the vault of billion-dollar companies and left to rot. Imagine!

Anyway, I’m particularly fond of the Hall of Fames curated by New York-based “museum of play” The Strong, partly because I think they tend to choose genuinely interesting picks from amongst video games, tabletop games and toys – and partly because I respect the fact they will induct things like “sand” (yes, just sand), sidewalk chalk, the stick and the humble cardboard box (for being the plaything of children, not for its appearances in Metal Gear Solid, alas) alongside commercial products like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Wii Sports and Tetris.

This year’s video game additions were whittled down from a list of a dozen finalists that also included Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Neopets, You Don’t Know Jack, Tokimeki Memorial, Metroid and Elite to ultimately induct five classics into the pantheon of influential games.

The winners included Atari arcade classic Asteroids and the original Resident Evil – as released first on the PlayStation – along with three undeniable giants of PC gaming: Myst, SimCity and Ultima. As if those need justification to be recognised for their contributions to gaming, The Strong nevertheless pointed out Myst’s groundbreaking world (and early use of CD-ROMs) alongside the fact it was the best-selling PC game of the entire nineties; SimCity’s place in popularising simulation, real-time strategy and city-building games (The Sims was inducted in 2016, for what it’s worth); and the first Ultima’s influence on other fantasy roleplaying games in the eighties, including Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, as well as the success of Richard Garriott’s own long-running series by itself.

The inductees will now appear in a permanent exhibition in The Strong’s physical museum in Rochester, NY, joining the more than 40 other video games added since the non-profit organisation’s World Video Game Hall of Fame started in 2015. If you’re wondering, other big PC names on the full list include the likes of Doom, World of Warcraft, Oregon Trail, Tomb Raider, Colossal Cave Adventure, Minecraft, Bejeweled, King’s Quest, StarCraft and even Microsoft Solitaire. All worthy additions, though now I can’t help but wonder what the video game equivalents of “sand” or “stick” are – suggestions welcome below.

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