“Pac-Man” gobbled up the honor.
“Tetris” thought it stacked up very nicely.
“Super Mario” celebrated with a magic mushroom.
They’re all inaugural inductees into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, at Strong Museum, in Rochester, New York. And they’re all games I’ve spent many hours playing.
They join “Doom,” “Pong” and “World of Warcraft” as the starter six in that strange little club.
I’m part of the generation that saw the whole arc of video games, from the relatively simple yet addictive premise of bouncing a ball back and forth in “Pong” all the way to the full body motion needed on some Xbox games.
We’ve seen these games bring out traits we didn’t know we had. We learned how competitive we could be with ourselves, as we fought for a high score against a computerized opponent. We learned how creatively we could solve problems. Sometimes they unveiled a violent side to us.
The world has passed some of them by, as higher resolution graphics and more complicated scenarios took over. The original “World of Warcraft,” inducted as the first true multiplayer game on a worldwide scope, is a bit dated.
The classics can stay relevant. My children loved “Pac-Man” when they first tried it a few months ago. The Mario Brothers remain a powerhouse name in gaming, attracting kids and adults.
“Tetris” might be the most enduring game of the batch, as it’s impossible to ever master. It does make you quite efficient loading up a car for vacation, though.
These games stand the test of time because they’re not completely reliant on whiz-bang graphics or some topical tie-in to make them popular. They’re reliant on our ability to solve problems.
I’m not going to pretend these games are going to make you a better person, but there’s something about them that at least makes you think that might be a possibility. It taps into something we consider a good, American trait. Then it makes you want to better that trait.
Plus it’s fun. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s what makes you a hall of famer.