World Video Game Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Inductees

It’s official! Ms. Pac-Man gobbled up the competition. Dance Dance Revolution hit the beat. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time completed the adventure. And Sid Meier’s Civilization made history. These four iconic games—which have influenced popular culture and the video game industry—today joined the World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong National Museum of Play. They emerged from a field of finalists that also included Assassin’s Creed, Candy Crush Saga, Minesweeper, NBA Jam, PaRappa the Rapper, Resident Evil, Rogue, and Words with Friends.

  • Ms. Pacman
    Capitalizing on the success of the iconic Pac-Man arcade game, Midway launched Ms. Pac-Man in 1981. The sequel featured more sophisticated mazes, smarter opponents, and new challenges. It also reimagined the title character as female to acknowledge the girls and women who loved playing the first game. With its wide appeal, Ms. Pac-Man sold 125,000 cabinets within five years of its release, making it one of the five best-selling arcade games of all time, behind previous inductees Pac-ManSpace Invaders, and Street Fighter II.

Says Julia Novakovic, senior archivist, “Ms. Pac-Man promoted and signaled the broadening of game play across the genders. There was nothing inherently gendered about early video games, but the coin-op industry certainly advertised them that way. By offering the first widely recognized female video game character, Ms. Pac-Man represented a turn in the cultural conversation about women’s place in the arcade as well as in society at large.”

  • Dance Dance Revolution

Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) took Japanese arcades by storm in 1998, challenging players to use their balance and dexterity to step to the beat of popular music. The fast-paced game spread quickly to arcades across the world, and Konami spun out a home version of the game on the Sony Playstation the following year. More than 100 versions of the game have been produced since 1998, and Dance Dance Revolution helped to pave the way for other iconic music games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

“As Dance Dance Revolution’s name implies, it truly provided a revolution for the music game scene,” says Lindsey Kurano, video game curator. “Music has been an integral part of human life since prehistoric times, so it comes as no surprise that DDR enjoyed a unique popularity that spanned ages, genders, and regions.”

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Released for the Nintendo 64 gaming console in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time defined what a 3D action video game could be, influencing countless games that followed. The game’s combination of storytelling, puzzle-solving, and combat earned Ocarina of Time multiple “Game of the Year” awards in 1998. The game sold more than 7.6 million copies worldwide, and it continues to be recognized by players and critics alike as one of the best video games ever made.

Says Andrew Borman, digital games curator, “Even today, developers throughout the world credit The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as influencing the way they create games. The game’s sprawling 3D world, fluid combat, complex puzzles, and time-shifting story combined to inspire a wonder in players that they have never forgotten.”

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization

Sid Meier’s Civilization became one of the most influential simulation and strategy games of all time after its release in 1991. Large in scope, the game invited players to develop their own empire over centuries of time, and the title launched a series of successor games including, in recent years, Civilization: Beyond Earth and Civilization VI.  With more than 50 million units sold, the popularity of the Civilization series disproves the common perception that it is always more fun to destroy than to create.

“The addictive nature of the game, which creator Sid Meier himself called the ‘one more turn’ quality, and its nearly unlimited choices that prevented repetitive gameplay, earned Civilization recognition from Computer Gaming World as the best video game of all time in 1996,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic games. “Altogether—and given the extraordinarily long periods of play the game afforded—players have engaged with the Civilization series for more than a billion hours.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story. Based on a press release.]

2022 World Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists

Which video games will make it into the World Video Game Hall of Fame this May? Can Minesweeper clear the field? Will Dance Dance Revolution hit the beat? Can Ms. Pac-Man gobble up the competition? Is NBA Jam a slam dunk? Will Assassin’s Creed battle to the end? Or can Sid Meier’s Civilization rise above the rest?

The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, has announced the 12 finalists for induction: 

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Candy Crush Saga
  • Dance Dance Revolution
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Minesweeper
  • Ms. Pac-Man
  • NBA Jam
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Resident Evil
  • Rogue
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization
  • Words with Friends

“This year’s 12 finalists showcase the range and depth of the video game world,” says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “There are true icons like Ms. Pacman, games that changes the industry like Rogue, and smartphone games that made gamers out of hundreds of millions of people, such as Candy Crush Saga and Words with Friends.”  

Fans may vote for their favorite finalists from March 17 to March 24 as part of a “Player’s Choice” ballot at worldvideogamehalloffame.org. The three games that receive the most public votes will form one ballot and will join the other ballots submitted by members of the International Selection Advisory Committee, which is made up of journalists and scholars familiar with the history of video games and their role in society. (The public, collectively, will have the weight of one judge.) The final inductees will be announced in a virtual ceremony by The Strong museum on Thursday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame recognizes electronic games that meet the following criteria: icon-status, the game is widely recognized and remembered; longevity, the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time; geographical reach, the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries; and influence, the game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 2/21/22 And The Scrolls That Mother Gives You Don’t Have Any Pixels At All

(1) WAVE FUNCTION. Jim Benford was interviewed in a double-segment of 60 Minutes about the “Havana Syndrome” that is sickening State Department staffers around the world. He was interviewed as an expert on microwaves and as the author of High Power Microwaves, a copy of which was shown on screen. He was asked if the syndrome could be caused by a microwave weapon. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript.

James Benford: I think the best explanation, the most plausible, is that it’s a high-power microwave weapon.

James Benford is a physicist and leading authority on microwaves. He was not part of the government studies, but he co-wrote the book on microwave transmission. These are portable microwave transmitters of the kind that could damage the tissues of the brain.

James Benford: There are many kinds, and they can go anywhere in size from a suitcase all the way up to a large tractor trailer unit. And the bigger the device, the longer the range. 

Scott Pelley: This would be able to transmit its microwave energy through the wall of a van, the wall of a home, something like that?

James Benford: Vans have windows, microwaves go through glass. They go through brick. They go through practically everything.

The technology, Benford told us, has been studied more than 50 years.

James Benford: It’s been developed widely in, perhaps, a dozen countries. The primary countries are the United States, Russia and China.

(2) VALE LOVECRAFT. From Joseph T. Major’s latest Alexiad I learned: “H. P. Lovecraft has stunned the world by announcing that this summer will see the end of his regular advice videos, ‘Ask Lovecraft’, on YouTube. How blasphemeously rugose and squamous! …Leeman Kessler, the real voice of Ask Lovecraft, has a second child and regular responsibilities as Mayor of Gambier, Ohio. After ten years, this additional activity has become more than he can handle. We will miss Ask Lovecraft.”

The latest video assures listeners things will wind down gradually —

And we’re not ending right away. Have no fear, we’re going to take things to the middle of the year so that we are right on our 10th anniversary. Until that time we will continue to answer your questions, dispense wisdom and offer up all the jackanapes you’ve come to expect.

(3) IT’S THE ECONOMY. Author Kyle Galindez asks “Why can’t Hollywood sci-fi and fantasy imagine alternatives to capitalism or feudalism?” at Salon.

… As a fantasy author myself, I’m intrigued as to how writers’ imagination hit a wall when imagining political alternatives. I am reminded of the oft-quoted remark from literary theorist Frederic Jameson, who quipped that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. Accordingly, the authors who are adept at imagining the end of capitalism are, more often than not, at the fringes….

(4) BY CROM, NOW THIS IS A MIGHTY ORGAN. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Found in my library’s sale pile, and purchased for a buck, because it didn’t occur to me to first check Hoopla, YouTube, etc:

Basil Poledouris’ soundtrack for the Conan The Barbarian movie, transcribed for organ, performed by Phillipp Pelster (on Amazon).

As opposed to the actual soundtrack: “Conan The Barbarian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” (via Hoopla).

Here’s one of several tracks, via YouTube:

Here it is being played on piano

And here’s a live orchestra performance (not just the organ):

By Crom’s Cavitous Teeth, I wouldst happily sell my copye for that dollar plus shipping (media mail even), elstwhyse I mayeth slip the foul thing back into the library’s for-sale box.

(5) MOCCA. The Society of Illustrators released the visuals for the 2022 MoCCA Arts Festival to be held April 2-3 in New York.

Featuring work by over 500 creators, the weekend will also include live lectures, panels, and artist signings! In one of the first independent comics festivals of the season, this year’s Fest will truly be a momentous occasion with many happy reunions for the community!

To help announce and promote this year’s Fest, the Society asked creator Yadi Liu, previous MoCCA Arts Fest exhibitor and Award of Excellence gallery artist, to create a colorful, celebratory image. Liu’s art will grace the cover of the Souvenir Journal and will feature prominently on all advertising and promotional materials, as well as a selection of merchandise available to purchase at the SI Booth. “Yadi’s art really captures our excitement for the return of the Fest. After several years of challenges and disappointments, we are so happy to welcome everyone back!” said Executive Director Anelle Miller.

In addition to Liu’s art, the Society has also asked several notable artists to create work for the show. Natalie Andrewson’s whimsical creatures will be displayed on the badges, and Patrick McDonnell’s quirky MUTTS characters will be featured as spot illustrations found throughout the Fest. These featured artists will be attending the Fest, and their schedules and table locations will be released as the date approaches. 

(6) BLACK HISTORY MONTH CONTINUES. The Horror Writers Association blog continues its “Black Heritage HWA interview series” –

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?

For sure in the 50 years that I’ve been writing I see changes. Per diversity: In the beginning there were so few Blacks (and others) in genre writing. Since then it has increased in horror and science fiction and fantasy, which is good. The birth of black publishers and self-publishing has created an outlet for Other authors to offer their work to readers, in addition to the traditional publishers. We need this expanding to include more Others to continue. There are many different kinds of stories to be told and and creators to be seen. A big part of making this happen is for the publishing field to increase awareness and be willing to work at including other voices and realize that decision makers need to include Others.

Who are some African diaspora horror authors you recommend our audience check out?

The incredibly talented Chesya Burke is a writer who first came to my attention when I was putting together 60 Black Women in Horror. Valjeanne Jeffers and Crystal Connor are two writers who have impressed me with their short story work. I love L.A. Banks’ highly entertaining Vampire Huntress series. I love anthologies that give the reader a sampling of various African Diaspora horror writers, and Sycorax’s Daughers, edited by Linda Addison, Kinitra Brooks, and Susanna Morris and Dark Matter edited by Sheree Renee Thomas are two I recommend.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

I was drawn to horror because I needed it. I needed the distraction, the escape. The truth is, I was sort of an outcast and a latch-key kid until high school, where I would settle into just being awkward. I’m the quintessential late bloomer. With that, all that we now label ‘nerd stuff’ drew my attention and helped keep my little mind off some of the more challenging aspects of my life. Because of my strange interests, the other kids didn’t get me, and to be fair, I may have handled it badly. To give you a sense of how early my problems started, the first fight I ever had in school was over a Planet of The Apes action figure which I mistakenly brought to school only to have someone try to steal it. That was second grade.

As far as horror was concerned, everything I was exposed to became part of this rich fantasy world I developed in my head. At any given moment my imagination let me either hunt Dracula or be just like them. Naturally, this was balanced out with fantasies about being Batman or Spider-Man but as I approached my teens, these fantasies became an addiction. I think that’s possible; being addicted to your own imagination. And mine is a beast. It’s been fed some of the best horror books and movies. There’s also been a lot of cross pollination within genres, like drama and comedy. That’s why there are certain things I cannot stop doing, like inserting humor into some of my work, or creating these dialogues that could easily be inserted into a family drama, if not for the fact it’s a vampire and a werewolf having the argument.

(7) THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. The New York Times asked “How Marlon James, Novelist, Spends His Sundays”.

ON CALL When I come back here, I usually have to deal with people who don’t respect the sanctity of my Sunday, like the production team for this TV show I’m working on called “Get Millie Black,” a detective show set in the U.K. and Jamaica. It’s produced by HBO and hopefully will be out around this time in 2023. When you’re a writer, there’s no days off….

(8) WORLD VIDEO GAME HOF NOMINATIONS. You have until February 28 to submit a recommendation for the 2022 World Video Game Hall of Fame sponsored by The Strong National Museum of Play.

Do you have a favorite video game that deserves to join icons such as Pong, Pac-ManSuper Mario Bros., TetrisThe Legend of Zelda, and The Oregon Trail in The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame? Video game lovers everywhere are urged to submit nominations for induction onlineSubmissions for nominations must be made by Monday, February 28, 2022. Finalists will be announced in March, 2022, and inductees will be revealed at a special ceremony at The Strong museum on May 5, 2022.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong was established in 2015 to recognize individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that meet the following criteria: icon-status, the game is widely recognized and remembered; longevity, the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time; geographical reach, the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries; and influence, the game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general.

(9) WADE IN. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna writes about “Homer At the Bat,” a classic episode of The Simpsons that first aired in February 1992 and was one of the first episodes to feature multiple celebrities in one episode.  Cavna reports the episode is packed with baseball lore (if you know who Cap Anson was, this is a show for you) and he interviews Wade Boggs, who says at autograph shows “I feel like I’m at a Comic-Con” because he has as many fans asking him to sign stills from The Simpsons as he does photos of him in a Red Sox, Yankees, or Devil Rays uniform. “’Homer at the Bat’ at 30: The ‘Simpsons’ baseball episode that pushed the show’s boundaries”.

…As Major League Baseball endures a lockout and faces a possible delay to this season, it’s an apt occasion to remember another time when ballplayers and management didn’t see eye to eye. Enter Homer, Mr. Burns and themighty lineup of imported pro ringers.

“Homer at the Bat,” which featured the voices of nine active major leaguers andmade its debutFeb. 20, 1992,was more than a quirky one-off in celebrity stunt casting. The 17th episode of Season 3 emboldened the minds behind “The Simpsons” to push the boundaries of what an animated half-hour series could do and show.

And from a ratings standpoint, it was a bellwether for the surging show: “Homer at the Bat” marked the first time that a new “Simpsons” episode beat an original episode of “The Cosby Show,” long an NBC juggernaut; on that prime-time Thursday night, “Simpsons” softball also topped CBS’s Winter Olympics coverage from Albertville, France….

(10) MEMORY LANE.

1967 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Fifty-five years ago, Raquel Welch starred in One Million Years B.C. which was financed by Hammer Film Productions and Seven Arts. It was a remake of One Million B.C., a film made twenty-seven years earlier. The original film was also known as Cave Man, Man and His Mate and Tumak. That film was produced by Hal Roach and D. W. Griffith who I know you’ll recognize. 

 It was directed by Don Chaffey from the screenplay by Michael Carreras which in turn was based off the screenplay for the first film written by Mickell Novack, George Baker and Joseph Frickert. 

The primary cast was Raquel Welch as Loana and John Richardson as Tumak with rest of the cast being Percy Herbert as Sakana, Robert Brown as Akhoba, Martine Beswick as Nupondi  and Jean Wladon as Ahot. 

Ray Harryhausen animated all of the dinosaur attacks using stop-motion animation techniques, and also coordinated all of the live action creatures used from turtles to crickets and iguanas. 

So what was the reception for it? Most critics liked it. The Monthly Film Bulletin said that while it was “Very easy to dismiss the film as a silly spectacle; but Hammer production finesse is much in evidence and Don Chaffey has done a competent job of direction. And it is all hugely enjoyable.” And TV Guide said “While far from being one of Harryhausen’s best films (the quality of which had little to do with his abilities), the movie has superb effects that are worth a look for his fans.”

It cost just two point five million to make and made four point five million, a solid profit at the time.

Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a really poor thirty-six percent rating which I admit surprised me.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 21, 1912 Peter Schuyler Miller. He wrote pulp fiction starting in the Thirties, and is generally considered one of the more popular writers of the period. His work appeared in such magazines as Amazing StoriesAstoundingThe Magazine of Fantasy and Science FictionMarvel TalesSuper Science Stories, and Weird Tales to name but a few of the publications he appeared in. He began book reviewing beginning initially for Astounding Science Fiction and later for its successor, Analog. The 1963 Worldcon presented him with a special committee award for book reviewing. He had but two novels, Genus Homo, written with L. Sprague de Camp, and Alicia in Blunderland. (Died 1974.)
  • Born February 21, 1914 H.L. Gold. Editor of Galaxy from 1951 to 1960 and If from 1959 to 1961. Before that, from 1939-41 he was an assistant editor on Captain FutureStartling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. He also was a writer working for DC in the early Forties on BatmanBoy Commandos, Superboy, Superman and Wonder Woman. In the Thirties, he wrote two novels, A Matter of Form and None But Lucifer, the latter with L. Sprague de Camp. And he wrote a double handful of short fiction. Philcon II awarded him, along with John W. Campbell, Jr. for Astounding Science Fiction, the Hugo for Best Professional Editor for his work on Galaxy. (Died 1996.)
  • Born February 21, 1935 Richard A. Lupoff. His career started off with Xero, a Hugo winning fanzine he edited with his wife Pat and Bhob Stewart.  A veritable who’s who of writers were published there. He also was a reviewer for Algol. To say he was prolific as a professional writer is an understatement as he’s known to have written at least fifty works, plus short fiction, and some non-fiction as well. I’m fond of Sacred Locomotive Flies and The Universal Holmes but your tolerance for his humor may vary. The usual digital suspects stock him deeply at quite reasonable prices. (Died 2020.)
  • Born February 21, 1937 Gary Lockwood, 85. Best remembered for his roles as astronaut Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey and as Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell in the Trek episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. He’s also in The Magic Sword as Sir George which Mystery Science Theatre admitted was pretty good, a rare admission for them. He’s got a number of genre of one-offs including the Earth II pilot, Mission ImpossibleNight GallerySix Million Dollar Man and MacGyver.
  • Born February 21, 1946 Anthony Daniels, 76. Obviously best known for playing C-3PO in the Star Wars film series. To my knowledge, he’s the only actor to have appeared in all of the productions in the series, no matter what they are. He has scant other genre creds but they are being in I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle as a Priest, voicing C-3PO in The Lego Movie and the same in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Did you know that Season 4, Episode 17 of The Muppet Show is listed as “The Stars of Star Wars” and C-3PO apparently appears on it? 
  • Born February 21, 1946 Alan Rickman. I’ll single him out for his role in the beloved Galaxy Quest as Dr. Lazarus but he’s got an extensive acting resume in our community. Of course he played Professor Severus Snape in the Potter franchise, and his first genre role was in the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff of Nottingham. He voiced Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a role worthy of an Academy Award. Voicing Absolem in Alice Through the Looking Glass was his final role. (Died 2016.)
  • Born February 21, 1950 Larry Drake. I know him best as the over the top Robert G. Durant in the Darkman franchise. His other genre roles are largely in series one offs such as several appearances on Tales from the Crypt, an appearance on The Outer Limits and even an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. (Died 2016.)
  • Born February 21, 1961 David D. Levine, 61. Winner of the Hugo Award at L.A. Con IV for the Best Short Story for his story “Tk’tk’tk” which you hear thisaway. He has the Adventures of Arabella Ashby series which currently is four novels strong. To date, he has had one collection titled Space Magic.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro with Batman and Robin – took me a moment to get it!
  • It’s The Argyle Sweater, but this one would be just as at home in Bizarro or The Far Side.
  • Dinosaur Comics’ creator tells the audience, “What this comic assumes is that the ninth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, knows who Spider-Man is. I believe this to be an extremely fair assumption.”
  • Tom Gauld in the Guardian:

(13) EASTER EGGS. Each week Dan Piraro, the creator of the Bizarro newspaper comic, posts his Sunday comic, then a short essay. In “Pie Eyed” he explains all the extras in yesterday’s comic. There are plenty!

…Anyway, I’m fascinated by background jokes and hidden images. I’m saying all this because the Sunday cartoon above is a prime example of my obsession. There are so many background gags in this one it almost overwhelms the main joke. I’m aware of that but I can’t stop myself.

I’ve included Bunny’s Pie Repair as a business in the background of cartoons on city streets a bunch of times, but I think this one is the most elaborate version I’ve done. Here’s an enlargement for your convenience….

(14) ARCHIE’S NOTES. Bob Byrne turns another calendar page at West 35th Street: “Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 37” at Black Gate.

So, in 2020, as the Pandemic settled in like an unwanted relative who just came for a week and is still tying up the bathroom, I did a series of posts for the FB Page of the Nero Wolfe fan club, The Wolfe Pack. I speculated on what Stay at Home would be like for Archie, living in the Brownstone with Nero Wolfe, Fritz Brenner, and Theodore Horstmann. I have already re-posted days one through thirty-six. Here is thirty seven (April 27). It helps if you read the series in order, so I’ve included links to the earlier entries.

Day Thirty Seven – 2020 Stay at Home

I was looking through some old notebooks today and came across this gem from a case I never finished writing up. There have been times when I think Inspector Cramer really did want to lock me up forever, and this was one of them…

(15) ONCE AND FUTURE AILUROPHILES. Mark Twain House & Museum will host a free virtual event “A Cat’s Tale: Dr. Paul Koudounaris and Baba the Cat on the History of Cats in America” on Thursday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Register here.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is delighted to welcome fellow feline enthusiast, historian, and author Paul Koudounaris – a man who might just love cats as much as Mark Twain did.

Paul will discuss the history of America’s felines and their oft neglected contributions. Presented with a slideshow of historical images, the talk will take the audience on a wild and harrowing journey to reclaim the prodigious achievements of some of our nation’s greatest cats. Learn about cats in wartime and their role in the Wild West. Hear the extraordinary stories of cats like Clementine Jones, who traveled 1600 miles to find her family in a home and city she had never before been in. Or Pooli, a World War II US Navy cat who is the most decorated military animal in American history. Or Kiddo the flying cat, the world’s first celebrity feline. Or the amazing Colonel, the greatest (and highest ranking!) cat in US Army history.

(16) KEEP CALM.

Twitter would not give me the blue check, so I can assure everyone that standards are being upheld.

(17) COULD IT BE…CTHULHU? “Galaxy’s Centre Hosts Hundreds Of Strange Tendrils” reports Nature.

The Galaxy’s population of mysterious filaments that emit bright radio waves is at least ten times larger than scientists realised

Radio astronomer Farhad Yusef-Zadeh co-discovered the first of these filaments in the 1980s.  The structures consist of electrons travelling at nearly the speed of light, on trajectories that spiral around magnetic-field lines. Now, Yusef-Zadeh, who is based at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and his collaborators have used MeerKAT, an array of 64 antennas in South Africa’s Northern Cape region, to take a series of 20 shots of the Milky Way’s central region, an effort that took some 200 hours.

The resulting composite image reveals a number of striking features, including expanding shock waves generated by supernovae, or exploding stars, and almost 1,000 filaments. The filaments’ spectral features suggest that their origin is not related to supernovae.

One possible explanation is that they originated from past cycles of activity of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the Galaxy’s centre. Mysteriously, some of the filaments seem to be clustered together and evenly spaced, like the teeth of a comb.

(18) WALLY FUNK AND INGENUITY AWARDED. The National Air and Space Museum’s 2022 Michael Collins Trophy has been awarded to Wally Funk and the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Team.

Wally Funk will receive the 2022 Michael Collins Trophy for Lifetime Achievement. Funk embodies the adage of “never give up on your dreams.” Since her first flying lesson in 1948 at age 9 and enrollment in flight school at 16, Funk knew that she wanted to fly, despite societal biases against women in aviation. After earning multiple certificates and ratings, she set her sights even higher in the sky—space. She was one of the top-performing participants in the Lovelace Woman in Space Program and dedicated decades of her life to flight instruction and safety, having logged over 19,600 hours of flight time, while never abandoning her dream of going to space. In 2021, that dream came true when she launched on the first crewed suborbital mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule.

MiMi Aung and the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Team will receive the 2022 Michael Collins Trophy for Current Achievement. In April 2021, a small robotic helicopter achieved the first powered flight on another planet. Delivered to the surface of Mars by the rover Perseverance, Ingenuity was a technology demonstration aboard the Mars 2020 mission and successfully proved that flight was possible on the Red Planet. It is also now serving as a helpful tool to aid rover exploration of Mars. Ingenuity completed increasingly challenging flights and scouted areas for the Perseverance rover’s upcoming treks. Ingenuity’s “Wright brothers moment” captured the attention of the public back on planet Earth and inspired everyone to imagine what could be next in planetary exploration.

Congratulations to these two worthy recipients! They will be honored at an event at the end of March. The event is sponsored by Atlas Air Worldwide, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, Jacobs, Leidos, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Pratt & Whitney, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Thales.

(19) FLAME ON. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter is coming in May and has a kid “who can unleash a nuclear explosion simply by using the powers of her mind.”  Gosh wow!

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. This video, which dropped yesterday, has Ryan George playing an apprentice ghost who’s having a hard time learning not to haunt people: “Ghosts Are Bad At Revenge”.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]

World Video Game Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2021 Inductees

It’s official! Animal Crossing crossed the finish line. Microsoft Flight Simulator buzzed past the competition. StarCraft battled to victory. And Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? found its way into the history book. These four iconic games today joined the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

  • Animal Crossing

Nintendo debuted the Animal Crossing game in 2001, offering players leisurely gameplay set in real time amid changing seasons. Players were invited to start a new life by moving into a colorful town filled with villagers, each with their own distinct personality. The game gave players the freedom to complete activities and collect objects as they liked, with each day holding the potential for new surprises and discoveries. Players responded to the mellow gameplay and quirky characters, kicking off a long-running series for Nintendo with numerous games. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the latest installment for the Nintendo Switch system, has been played by people around the world.

“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.”

Full article: “Animal Crossing”

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator

For nearly four decades, Microsoft Flight Simulator has provided millions of players endless hours of game play by providing highly realistic but intuitive recreations of real-life airplanes. Its simple premise and accessible content disguises the advanced programming that has made it so successful. Since its launch in 1982, the game has been regularly updated and remains the most popular, longest lasting, and most influential flying sim of all time.

“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.”

Full article: “Microsoft Flight Simulator”

  • StarCraft

California-based developer Blizzard Entertainment took the real-time strategy genre to new heights in 1998 with the debut of StarCraft. The single-player mode of the immersive, science-fiction game proved popular, but the multiplayer mode, which included a ladder ranking system, turned it into the largest esports title of its day. StarCraft won multiple Game of the Year Awards, and generated its own lines of novels, graphic novels, licensed toys, clothing, and gaming accessors.

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.”

Full article: “StarCraft”

  • Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? 

Released by Brøderbund in 1985, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? spawned one of the best-selling “edutainment” franchises, combing education and entertainment. Designed for the first generation of graphic-enabled personal computers, the title made learning world geography fun for millions of students as they searched for the whereabouts of the mysterious Carmen Sandiego. The game, which launched several sequels, also inspired a hit show on American Public Broadcasting in the 1990s and an animated series on Netflix (2019-2021)—helping propel Carmen Sandiego and her world-traveling ways into the cultural zeitgeist.

Says Archivist Julia Novakovic, “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!”

Full article: “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”

[Based on a press release.]

World Video Game Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Finalists

Which video games will make it into the World Video Game Hall of Fame this May? Can Carmen Sandiego find the way? Will Call of Duty battle to victory?

The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, has announced 12 finalists for induction in 2021: Animal Crossing, Call of Duty, FarmVille, FIFA International Soccer, Guitar Hero, Mattel Football, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Pole Position, Portal, StarCraft, Tron, and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

The World Video Game Hall of Fame recognizes electronic games that meet the following criteria: icon-status — the game is widely recognized and remembered; longevity — the game is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over time; geographical reach — the game meets the above criteria across international boundaries; and influence — the game has exerted significant influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society in general.

Fans may vote for their favorite finalists from March 18 to March 25 as part of a “Player’s Choice” ballot at worldvideogamehalloffame.org. The three games that receive the most public votes will form one ballot and will join the other ballots submitted by members of the International Selection Advisory Committee, which is made up of journalists and scholars familiar with the history of video games and their role in society. (The public, collectively, will have the weight of one judge.) The final inductees will be announced in a virtual ceremony by The Strong museum on Thursday, May 6, at 10:30 a.m.

The shortlist follows the jump.

Continue reading

2020 World Video Game Hall
of Fame Inductees

Four games have been added to The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2020: 

  • Bejeweled
  • Centipede
  • King’s Quest
  • Minecraft

Announced June 28, they emerged from a field of 12 finalists that also included Frogger, GoldenEye 007, Guitar Hero, NBA Jam, Nokia Snake, Super Smash Brothers Melee, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

About Bejeweled: Initially created as a web-based Flash game in 2001, Bejeweled popularized the “match three” puzzle game and became one of the most iconic mobile games in history. It inspired many other mobile games using the same mechanics, and the game’s developer estimated in 2013 that it had been downloaded more than 500 million times. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly called Bejeweled “the Gone with the Wind of the casual-game world—the most commercially successful and influential puzzle program in the genre’s short history.”

 “Players from around the world have devoted tens of billions of hours to playing Bejeweled and the games that it inspired,” says Curator Shannon Symonds. “Now, Bejeweled and its successor puzzle games seem commonplace—a regular part of all our lives—and it’s that reach, influence, and icon status that make Bejeweled so deserving of being the very first mobile game added to the World Video Game Hall of Fame.”         

About Centipede: When it debuted in 1981, Atari’s Centipede challenged players to blast an insect as it zigzagged across the screen in challenging patterns and at various speeds. Ed Logg led a team that included Dona Bailey, one of the only female programmers in the 1980s arcade video game industry, to develop a game that helped attract more female players. It was an immediate success and became synonymous with the golden age of the arcade, though it also found later life in re-releases on home consoles, portable game systems, mobile game apps, and even as a board game. It also spawned multiple clones—from Bug Attack to War of the Bugs—and a sequel, Millipede. 

Centipede appeals to a wide demographic and is often cited as a game that helped attract more women to the arcade in the early 1980s,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant vice president for electronic games and interpretation. “But it’s also one of the best-selling arcade games of that era and its fast-paced, bug-blasting gameplay is as challenging and satisfying to play today as it was decades ago.”

About King’s Quest: Designed by Sierra On-Line cofounder Roberta Williams, King’s Quest (1984) introduced players to the fantastical world of Daventry. The fairytale setting, unique visuals, and irreverent humor helped to make the game a hit on personal computers and popularized the graphic adventure genre. Sierra On-Line, led by Ken and Roberta Williams, produced seven sequels, and the game influenced dozens of adventure games that followed, establishing Roberta Williams as one of the most significant game designers of the 1980s and 1990s.

“It’s difficult to overstate King’s Quest’s influence on adventure games. More than any other game of its type, King’s Quest established or reinforced many of the conventions of the adventure games that followed it,” says Archivist Julia Novakovic. “Many games still today can trace their lineage back to King’s Quest.”

About Minecraft: With its endless play possibilities, Minecraft has become a global phenomenon since its introduction in 2009. Players in a worldwide, online community make their own creations using sets of pixilated blocks that they mine and use to build elaborate structures. The game offers nearly unlimited opportunities for creativity. As of 2019, the game had sold more than 176 million copies across all platforms, with more copies sold for consoles than for personal computers.

Says Digital Games Curator Andrew Borman, “The success of Minecraft speaks to the maturing of video games as a cultural touchstone. No longer do game creators need to be obsessed about having the most realistic looking graphics. Minecraft features a retro simplicity that hearkens back to fondly remembered days of 8-bit computers. Minecraft came of age at a time when indie gaming had emerged to give individual developers a greater say in the games they developed, and no game is a better representative of this movement than this bestselling hit creation.”


Nominations came from the public. (People are invited to make recommendations for next year’s class here). The finalists were selected on the advice of journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong 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 and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general.

[Based on a press release.]

2020 World Video Game Hall of Fame Finalists

The Strong National Museum of Play announced the 2020 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists on March 19: 

  • Bejeweled
  • Centipede
  • Frogger
  • GoldenEye 007
  • Guitar Hero
  • King’s Quest
  • Minecraft
  • NBA Jam
  • Nokia Snake
  • Super Smash Brothers Melee
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Nominations came from the public. (People are invited to make recommendations for next year’s class here).

Fans may vote for their favorite finalists from March 19 to April 2 as part of a “Player’s Choice” ballot“. The three games that receive the most public votes will form one ballot and will join the 29 other ballots submitted by members of the International Selection Advisory Committee, which is made up of journalists and scholars familiar with the history of video games and their role in society. (The public, collectively, will have the weight of one judge.) The final inductees will be announced during a special ceremony at The Strong museum at a date to be determined. 

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong 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 and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general. 

Images and descriptions of all 12 finalists follow the jump.

Continue reading

2019 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees

Four games were added to The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2019: Colossal Cave Adventure, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Kart.

Announced May 2, they emerged from a field of 12 finalists that also included Candy Crush Saga, Centipede, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, Myst, NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Nominations came from the public. (People are invited to make recommendations for next year’s class here). The finalists were selected on the advice of journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society.

  • Colossal Cave Adventure

Text-based Colossal Cave Adventure debuted in 1976 and conjured up an immersive, interactive fantasy world despite the limits of primitive computer technology. While the game had no graphics and relied on players typing written commands, it still offered a fully-realized realm to explore, with treasures to find and puzzles to solve. It laid the foundation for an entire genre of fantasy and adventure games, and it directly inspired other pioneering titles, such as Adventureland and Zork, which helped launch the commercial computer game industry. “The best games fire the imagination,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “Anyone who first typed a command like ‘get lamp’ into Colossal Cave Adventure could see the power of electronic games to create magical worlds of the imagination.”         

  • Microsoft Solitaire

Based on a centuries-old card game, Microsoft Solitaire debuted in 1990 on the Windows 3.0 computing platform and became ubiquitous around the world.  Since then, Microsoft Solitaire has been distributed on over a billion computers and is now played 35 billion games per year in over 200 markets around the world and is localized into 65 languages. “The game proved that sometimes analog games can be even more popular in the digital world and demonstrated that a market existed for games that appeal to people of all types,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant vice president for electronic games and interpretation. “In many ways, it helped pave the way for the growth of the casual gaming market that remains so popular today.”

  • Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat brought cutting-edge graphics and unique fighting styles to the arcade when it launched in 1992. The game’s over-the-top depictions of violence also spurred international debate, including Congressional hearings in the United States that spurred the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in 1994, and provided that games weren’t just for kids. By pushing the boundaries in terms of content and what players could do with their in-game characters, Mortal Kombat spawned an entire franchise—including games, music albums, action figures, a theatrical stage show, and Hollywood movies. Says Digital Games Curator Andrew Borman, “Beyond its controversial content and role in triggering debate about the role of violent video games in society, Mortal Kombat’s compelling gameplay, iconic characters, and many sequels have kept players coming back again and again.”

  • Super Mario Kart

Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart combined the thrill of racing games with the beloved characters of its Super Mario Bros. franchise. Released in 1992, the game built on previous racing games and popularized the go-kart subgenre. Super Mario Kart has sold millions of copies on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and generated a dozen other titles across consoles, handhelds, and arcade games that have sold more than 100 million units. “Super Mario Kart truly excelled as a social game that appealed to players of all skill levels, especially with its engaging multi-player settings,” says Julia Novakovic, archivist. “It invited friends, family, and gaming fans of all ages along for an unforgettable ride that has made it the longest-running racing series in gaming history.”

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong 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 and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general. 

2017 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees

The World Video Game Hall of Fame gained four new inductees on May 4:

  • Donkey Kong: Released in 1981, Donkey Kong helped to launch the career of legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and became Nintendo’s most profitable game to that point, selling an estimated 132,000 arcade cabinets. Donkey Kong also introduced the world to the plucky plumber Mario—who became the star of numerous other games and one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world. “Without Donkey Kong there would be no Super Mario Bros., a member of the inaugural class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “But 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.”
  • Halo: Combat Evolved: When Microsoft released its Xbox system in 2001, more than 50 percent of the consoles sold with the launch game Halo: Combat Evolved. The science-fiction, first-person shooter games combined an intricate storyline, 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. Says The Strong’s Associate Curator Shannon Symonds, “Until Halo’s launch, the most successful shooters required a personal computer and the precision offered by a high-quality mouse. Halo proved a console could be just as effective, if not better, than a PC. It also boasted one of the strongest multiplayer experiences of its time and created a legion of hardcore fans that refer to themselves as the ‘Halo Nation.’”
  • Pokemon Red and Green: 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. Says Symonds, “Pokémon Red and Green launched a franchise that has taken the world by storm, vaulting many of its characters, such as Pikachu, into popular, mainstream culture. Nearly two decades after its inception and with the introduction of Pokemon Go, ‘Poké-mania’ shows little sign of fading.”
  • Street Fighter II: Released by Capcom in 1991, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior helped to spark an arcade renaissance in the 1990s. The game inspired numerous sequels and an entire genre of one-on-one fighting games. Capcom 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. “Street Fighter II allowed for head-to-head battles between human opponents, instantly attracting spectators and generating fierce tournament play in arcades across the world,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “This communal style of game play reinvigorated the arcade industry in the 1990s and helped give birth to a generation of fighting games.”

The entire list of 2017 finalists included:

  • Pokemon Red and Green (1996)
  • Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991)
  • Tomb Raider (1996)
  • Donkey Kong (1981)
  • Final Fantasy VII (1997)
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
  • Microsoft Solitaire (1991)
  • Mortal Kombat (1992)
  • Myst (1993)
  • Portal (2007)
  • Resident Evil (1996)
  • Wii Sports (2006)

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong 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 and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general.

Its video games history timeline reaches back to 1940:

For the Westinghouse display at the World’s Fair, Edward U. Condon designs a computer that plays the traditional game Nim in which players try to avoid picking up the last matchstick. Tens of thousands of people play it, and the computer winds at least 90% of the games.

The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter for the story.]