It might have taken some time for video games to gain some legitimacy, but as the medium has refined itself through the decades, it's easily proven itself as a form of entertainment and storytelling that's on the same level of television, film, or music. With there being various hall of fames and institutions to commemorate achievements in those art forms, video games have largely been overlooked in that regard.
Thankfully, in 2015 this wrong was rectified and an official Video Game Hall of Fame was put together. Each year, the hall of fame considers four factors: icon status, longevity, geographical reach, and influence in the inclusion of their selections. While pivotal games like Super Mario Kart, World of Warcraft, and DOOM have made the cut, there are a number of games that remain overlooked. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Video Game Hall Of Fame Snubs That Make Zero Sense.
20 Metal Gear Solid
The Metal Gear series might have started as a weird top-down action title, but it wasn’t until Hideo Kojima took the universe over to the PlayStation with Metal Gear Solid that things really started to click in. Kojima didn’t just create one memorable title for the console, but a whole series that has spanned the many PlayStations to follow. Not only has the franchise turned into one of the most successful in all of gaming, but the series’ protagonist (most of the time,) Solid Snake, remains an iconic hero that cannot be ignored.
19 Resident Evil
Resident Evil has been nominated in the past for the Video Game Hall of Fame, but this feels like a title that will inevitably have to make the cut. Not only have the Resident Evil titles become some of the most popular in the entire industry, but they greatly helped popularize the survival horror genre and led to a slew of clones. With no other survival horror games represented in the hall of fame, this is the game that deserves that honor. The Resident Evil series has morphed and featured all sorts of spin-offs and deviations, yet it still remains wildly popular.
18 Super Mario 64
The original Super Mario Bros. is inducted in the Video Game Hall of Fame, but hopefully they’re not proposing that that’s the sole game from the Mario franchise that deserves inclusion. Arguably, most Mario titles stand to be in the hall of fame, but Super Mario 64 is a pivotal title in particular. It pushed the series into the realm of 3D for the first time, completely nailed the transition, and inspired a whole bunch of similar 3D platformers in its wake.
17 GoldenEye 007
To some extent it might make sense to leave off “licensed” video games from the hall of fame, especially when video game tie-ins for movies are usually such disasters. GoldenEye 007 is one of the rare exceptions where it’s not only an amazing game, but one of the best first-person shooters and multiplayer games on the Nintendo 64, if not that entire generation of gaming. GoldenEye 007’s multiplayer experience was an iconic moment in gaming, not unlike Super Mario Kart’s multiplayer, so it deserves recognition. Plus, its AI system for its enemies would go on to influence other games, like Half-Life.
Speaking of Half-Life, this is another game that largely defined its generation and helped shape all of the first-person shooters that followed. There’s a reason that decades later, Half-Life is still in the collective consciousness and people still harp on rumors of a Half-Life 3 happening. The game was nominated in the past, so clearly it’s on the hall of fame’s radar, but it deserves to make it through.
15 The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Much like in the case of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64, the various Zelda games all follow a similar formula but end up wildly different across the course of their development. The original Legend of Zelda is in the hall of fame and while that game started it all, it’s probably fair to say that the Nintendo 64’s Ocarina of Time was the more defining experience. It’s a game that was experienced by more people, features more accessible gameplay, and has received updates and remasters over the years, proving its continual relevance.
14 Gears Of War
This is perhaps the most debatable of the entries on here and while some may not view the Gears of War series as fundamental games and as much of a breakthrough for the Xbox as the Halo series, it’s hard to deny their popularity. The series was able to last and evolve through four games that featured impressive shooter elements as well as co-operative gameplay. The fact that a Gears of War 5 is also on its way out also shows that this game is still relevant and hasn’t been passed over.
For the longest time, there was such a schism between PC and console gaming where computer games provided a decidedly different experience. Internet gaming was an advent of PC gaming far before it was the norm for consoles and titles like Diablo to embrace that experience in a way that opened up gaming. This hack-and-slash dungeon crawling experience was a major boon for Blizzard Entertainment and even now the series has survived and remained an important part of the industry.
12 Super Smash Bros. Melee
It’s crazy to think that the original Super Smash Bros. almost wasn’t localized to America because it was thought to be too niche or weird of a title. Not only did audiences connect with this franchise mash-up fighter, but it’s become one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises and an absolute console-seller. The GameCube’s entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee, largely stepped things up from the original and is still considered to be the best version of the game to some people. Smash Bros. is still going strong and while it was nominated in the past, it’s currently in the dark.
11 House Of The Dead
Sega’s House of the Dead games may not be as deep as the Resident Evil games, but they remain a popular franchise that's survived and endured over the years. More importantly, they’re a strong example of arcade titles being able to successfully migrate over to consoles. The Sega Saturn’s port of House of the Dead was so perfect that it opened up the light gun market for consoles and showed that arcade games could come to the home market.
10 NiGHTS Into Dreams
The Sega Saturn remains a bit of an outlier in the realm of video game consoles, but if there’s any one title to represent Sega’s underappreciated console, it’s Yuji Naka’s NiGHTS Into Dreams. NiGHTS offers up a unique take on the platformer genre that almost mixes it with a flight game in way that’s still yet to really be replicated. The result is something highly special that almost feels emblematic of the Saturn as a whole. They even made a new “3D controller” to better cater to NiGHTS’ gameplay.
Another standout title from the PC generation of gaming, Myst is one of the strongest puzzle games to come around. It offers an immersive experience that became the standard for the genre for a long time and influenced a whole bunch of other games that attempted to replicate its exploratory atmosphere. Myst has been nominated for the Video Game Hall of Fame in the past, so it’s been seen in some respect, but it’s a title that needs to be included for the genre.
8 Donkey Kong Country
The original Donkey Kong is in the Video Game Hall of Fame and it’s influential and important in its own right, but the Super Nintendo offering, Donkey Kong Country, has arguably made an impact on just as many people. Rare’s exceptional platformer became the gold standard for the genre and showed what was possible on the Super Nintendo’s hardware. Additionally, it’s a great example of taking an old video game character and injecting life into the franchise in a new way. It’s one of the first real video game reboots, and it’s a major triumph at that.
Minecraft may be the most recent title on this list, but it’s also a game that’s been nominated several times over for Video Game Hall of Fame induction. Minecraft’s significance comes down to its simplicity and it’s clear that gamers just love to create. Minecraft ostensibly turns the players into the developers and the trend of more creation-type games like Super Mario Maker and Dragon Quest Builders are absolutely a result of Minecraft’s success and migration to as many platforms as possible.
Portal is almost too smart for its own good. It’s a brilliant example of how to take a bare bones concept and pull it off with precise execution that’s painfully well done. It’s not just some of the most creative, rewarding gameplay that you’ll encounter, but the story is also incredibly well done and deeply humorous. Portal has been nominated for the hall of fame in the past, but the fact that it was looked over feels like an oversight. There have only been two games in the series, but it’s still something that’s regularly referenced.
5 Super Metroid
The original Metroid was nominated for the Video Game Hall of Fame and passed over, but it feels like nominating Super Metroid might have been the better play. Metroid is all sorts of influential, but it’s also a deeply difficult Nintendo game that expects a lot out of the gamer. Super Metroid is a much more modernized experience that basically improves upon everything in the original and still delivers a challenging game that’s full of secrets. Super Metroid is perhaps the best game in the series and Samus Aran deserves representation in the hall of fame.
4 King’s Quest
Sierra’s King’s Quest for the PC was pivotal in the adventure game genre. Seen as deeply difficult at the time due to the typing command interface and obtuse puzzles, King's Quest represents a major corner of gaming. I’d argue that LucasArts’ The Secret of Monkey Island is a better game than King’s Quest, but King’s Quest truly got the ball rolling and if it wasn’t for it, there perhaps would be no Monkey Island series. Even though point-and-click adventure titles cooled off for a few decades, they’ve come back in a big way and the game that largely started the trend is deserved its due.
3 Dragon’s Lair
Dragon’s Lair is probably the worst game that’s on this list, but when taking in consideration the Video Game Hall of Fame’s four factors for inclusivity, Dragon’s Lair more than qualifies. This may be seen as more of a cartoon or movie than a game itself, but it was this factor that made the game stand out so much. It looked like no other video game and hinted at what the industry might look like in the future. While the technology present in Dragon’s Lair wouldn't catch on, the fact that the game has still seen modern ports on the Switch shows there’s still an audience for a game that was the talk of the ‘80s.
2 Dance Dance Revolution
This may seem like a silly inclusion at first, but Dance Dance Revolution represents a major movement in the gaming industry. Titles like this or Guitar Hero showed that music and gaming could work together in a very special way. While originally just an arcade fascination, Dance Dance Revolution soon invaded the console market and even led to special versions of the title, like a Mario-based version. Someone may view Dance Dance Revolution as less of a video game than say, Final Fantasy, but if it can bring a whole new audience into the medium then that’s a beautiful thing.
Centipede may not be the most exciting game on here, but the Video Game Hall of Fame has rewarded a number of retro titles to the point that it’s clear that these old games are important to the institution. Centipede has been nominated in the past while other games like Space Invaders and Pong were included instead. Centipede is a title that has stuck around after all of this time and it certainly feels as relevant as the other games that are included.
These are some of the biggest omissions when it comes to important, influential video games that deserve some attention, but there are even more groundbreaking titles out there. Sound off over your favorites in the comments below!
Sources: IGN.com, Polygon.com, Destructoid.com