Back in March, the nominees for induction into The Strong's World Video Game Hall of Fame were unveiled. Now, the inductees have been officially announced. In a press release, the National Museum of Play stated that Final Fantasy VII and the first Tomb Raider have been formally inducted. Joining those two games are also Spacewar!, one of the earliest video games, and the sports-defining game John Madden Football.
Final Fantasy VII originally released in 1997. While there were other Final Fantasy games prior to it, VII arguably made the franchise into a major part of poplar culture. The press relate notes a statement from curator Shannon Symonds: “Final Fantasy VII is widely acclaimed as the game that broke Japanese role-playing games into mainstream popularity across the globe,” Indeed, FF VII's impact is still being felt today. The game's protagonist, Cloud Strife, is the only Final Fantasy character to be featured in Super Smash Bros. There was a CGI movie sequel, and the game is even getting a massive, multi-part remake on the PlayStation 4.
Meanwhile, Tomb Raider's inclusion is of little surprise. Though the franchise's protagonist, Lara Croft, was not the first female video game protagonist (Samus Aran and Ms. Pac-Man predate her), she may be the most iconic. Symonds notes in the press release, "The Guinness World Records cites Lara Croft as the ‘most recognized female video game character’ of all time," The Tomb Raider franchise has continued to this day, and has only gotten bigger. There was a 2001 film adaptation starring Angelina Jolie, and a more recent film starring Alicia Vikander, which was based on the rebooted game series. Tomb Raider continues to put an emphasis on delivering a quality action-adventure.
Spacewar! and John Madden Football are not surprising inductees either. Although Spacewar! isn't well known today, the game deserves to be included because of how influential it was. The press release features a statement from the Vice President and Director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games, John-Paul Dyson: “Spacewar! was not a commercial game but it helped to launch the multi-billion-dollar video game industry,” “It also spurred computer users of all types to think about creative new uses for computers and helped turn the computer into the most powerful plaything ever created.” The press release also notes that Spacewar! inspired Nolan Bushnell's (founder of Atari) Computer Space, which was the first mass-market arcade game.
The impact of 1990's John Madden Football is still being felt today. The press release features a statement from Jeremy Saucier, The Strong’s assistant vice president for interpretation and electronic games: “John Madden Football’s action-oriented game play has changed the way we play and consume sports video games—and even the way actual sports games are broadcast,” Every year a new Madden game is released, showing that the Madden name will always be the best in football on consoles.
A few of the nominees included Asteroids, Metroid, and Half-Life. Time will tell if they are inducted next year. In the meantime, fans of this year's inductees can celebrate that their favorite games have achieved an even higher status than before.