ROCHESTER, New York (Associated Press) – More than 40 years after beginning the path of female characters in video games, Ms. Pac-Man was inducted Thursday into the World Video Games Hall of Fame, along with Dance Dance Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina From the time and civilization of Sid Meier.
The Hall of Fame considers electronic games of all kinds every year – arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile. Recruits are known for their popularity and their influence on the video game industry or popular culture over time.
The Ms. Pac-Man arcade game was released in 1981 as a follow-up to Midway’s Pac-Man, which entered Hall as part of the opening chapter in 2015. The Pac-Man series reimagined the main character for the recognition of female fans of the original game, according to Hall. After selling 125,000 cabinets during the first five years, it became one of the best-selling arcade games of all time.
There was nothing inherently gendered in early video games, said Julia Novakovic, chief archivist at Hall. But “by introducing the first widely recognized female video game character,” she said, “Ms. Pac-Man represented a turning point in the cultural conversation about the place of women in the arcade, as well as in society at large.”
The 2022 class was chosen from a pool of finalists that also included Assassin’s Creed, Candy Crush Saga, Minesweeper, NBA Jam, PaRappa the Rapper, Resident Evil, Rogue and Words with Friends. It is the eighth category to be inducted since the creation of the World Video Game Hall of Fame at the National Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
Konami’s Dance Revolution, first seen in arcades in Japan in 1998, has been recognized for helping pave the way for other music-focused games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The fast-paced game puts players on a dance floor with a screen in front of them to direct their movements.
“Music has been an integral part of human life since prehistoric times, so it comes as no surprise that DDR has enjoyed a unique popularity that spans across ages, races, and regions,” said video game coordinator Lindsey Curano.
A home version of the game was followed on Sony PlayStation in 1999.
Hall of Fame officials said The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, also first released in 1998, appeared for the Nintendo 64 console and defined what a 3D action video game could be. The award-winning game has sold more than 7.6 million copies worldwide and is still appreciated by some players and critics as one of the best video games of all time.
“Even today, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is credited by developers around the world as an influence on the way games are created,” said Andrew Borman, Curator of Digital Games. “The game’s sprawling 3D world, fluid combat, complex puzzles and time-changing story all combined to inspire a marvel in players that they never forgot.”
Sid Meier’s Civilization, released in 1991, has been recognized as an influential simulation and strategy game. The game, which invited players to develop their own empires, launched a series of subsequent games, including the latest Civilization: Beyond Earth and Civilization VI.
“The addictive nature of the game, which its creator Sid Meier himself called the quality of ‘one more turn,’, and its nearly limitless options that kept repeat gameplay, earned civilization recognition from Computer Gaming World as the best video game of all time in 1996,” said John Paul Dyson, Director of the Strong International Center for Electronic Game History. “Altogether – given the extremely long playing periods given to the game – players have been engaged in Civilization for over a billion hours.”
Anyone can nominate a game for the World Video Games Hall of Fame. The final selection is made on the advice of journalists, scientists, and others with knowledge of the history and role of video games in society.