The Strong National Museum of Play announced the 2021 class of inductees to the World Video Game Hall of Fame today.
Animal Crossing, Starcraft, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? beat out titles like Call of Duty, FarmVille, FIFA, Guitar Hero, and more to take their respective places in the Hall of Fame.
The World Video Game Hall of Fame was established in 2015 to recognize games — arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile — that have seen massive popularity over a long period of time and have been influential on the development of the video game industry, on pop culture or society at large.
Nominations each year are submitted by the public and winners are selected by the Strong National Museum of Play “are made on the advice of scholars, journalists, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society,” the museum said in a press release.
The Animal Crossing franchise has spanned Nintendo consoles since 2001. The most recent entry in the series, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, is the best selling in the franchise and was the second most sold game on the Nintendo Switch in 2020.
“The freedom of play in Animal Crossing gave the game wider gender and age appeal than many other video game titles of its time,” says Research Historian Racquel Gonzales. “The low stakes of Animal Crossing also allowed people to play at their own leisure without penalty. These elements may help explain why its latest installment proved such a huge hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, when everyone was searching for a little neighborly sociability.”
Blizzard’s hit real-time strategy franchise Starcraft launched in 1998 and become a powerhouse in competitive esports. Entries in the franchise not only was crowed Game of the Year multiple times but also transcended media genres and spawned novels, graphic novels, and more.
“StarCraft added a new twist to the strategy game formula while leading a revolution in multiplayer gaming,” says Andrew Borman, digital games curator. “It’s regarded as one of the best real-time strategy games of all time and significantly impacted many of the real-time strategy games that have followed in the past two decades.”
Microsoft Flight Simulator has soared into the hearts of millions since the early 1980’s, providing gamers with nearly four decades of regular updates for highly realistic aircraft recreations and advanced flight simulation programming.
“It’s hard to overestimate what a groundbreaking program Microsoft Flight Simulator was when it debuted in 1983,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant vice president for interpretation and electronic games. “For the first time, amateur and professional aviators could navigate the skies—without ever leaving home. And the joy of flight is universal, which is perhaps why Microsoft Flight Simulator has continued to captivate gamers for decades.”
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? spawned one of the best-selling “edutainment” franchises of all time when it first launched in 1985. The game series spawned several sequel game titles in addition to a hit American TV show in the 1990’s and more recently in an animated series on Netflix that debuted in 2019.
“Between the still-growing video game franchise (including a Google Earth tie-in) and the game’s recent run as a show on Netflix, Carmen Sandiego is as recognizable a character as ever. Is she an evil villain or a misunderstood genius? You’ll have to track her across the globe to find out!” Archivist Julia Novakovic said.
The four newly inducted games are on permanent display on the second floor of the museum, which is located in Rochester, New York.