Four new Video Game Hall of Fame inductees shaped the gaming industry and pop culture

Donkey Kong
(Internet Archive Photo / Donkey Kong)

The World Video Game Hall of Fame announced a new class of inductees on Thursday, and the titles are sure to strike a nostalgic chord with millions of gamers who have played them over multiple decades.

The Hall, located at The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y., has chosen “Donkey Kong,” “Halo: Combat Evolved,” “Pokémon Red” and “Green,” and “Street Fighter II.” In a news release, the museum said “all have significantly affected the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general.”

Here’s more about the new class, from the museum:

  • ‘Donkey Kong’: The game was released in 1981 and became Nintendo’s most profitable game to that point, selling an estimated 132,000 arcade cabinets. The game’s star, Mario, went on to became the one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world. “‘Donkey Kong’ is also about much more than one character. Its overarching narrative of love and its vibrant graphics brought the game to life in a way that few other games could in the early 1980s. It captured the hearts of a generation,” said Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games.
  • ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’: The legendary Microsoft game premiered with the release of the Xbox system in 2001, when more than 50 percent of consoles sold were packaged with the game. A science-fiction, first-person shooter game combined an intricate storyline, the game introduced memorable characters like Master Chief and a dynamic multi-player experience. The game sold more than six million copies and inspired a number of sequels and spin-offs, as well as novels, comic books, and action figures.
  • ‘Pokemon Red’ and ‘Green’: Last summer’s “Pokèmon Go” craze was no fluke. Pokémon created a multinational cultural phenomenon when it was released on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996 as “Pocket Monsters Aka (Red)” and “Midori (Green).” The game challenged players to collect 151 unique monsters, and Nintendo coined the ubiquitous catch-phrase, “Gotta catch ‘em all!” As of 2014, the Pokémon franchise has encompassed more than 260 million copies of its games, 21.5 billion trading cards, and numerous spinoffs including more than 800 television episodes and 17 movies.
  • ‘Street Fighter II’: Released by Capcom in 1991, Strong says the game helped to spark an arcade renaissance in the 1990s. “Street Fighter II” inspired numerous sequels and an entire genre of one-on-one fighting games. The company sold more than 60,000 original cabinets and a staggering 140,000 cabinets and game conversion kits of the company’s “Champion Edition,” making it one of the top-selling arcade games ever.

The four inductees emerged from a field of 12 finalists, according to the Hall of Fame, that also included “Final Fantasy VII,” “Microsoft Windows Solitaire,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Myst,” “Portal,” “Resident Evil,” “Tomb Raider,” and “Wii Sports”

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at was established in 2015 to recognize individual electronic games of all types — arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile — that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. The games are on permanent view on the Strong Museum’s second floor.