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5 classic titles that deserve to be in the Video Game Hall of Fame

You'll probably be more surprised these games aren't in the Hall of Fame already!

Last week, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time finally entered into Strong Museum’s Video Game Hall of Fame. While it may surprise some that this influential N64 title just entered, it’s worth noting that the Video Game Hall of Fame is still young. Strong National Museum of Play only just began the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015. Since its inception, Strong Museum inducted a total of 36 games.

In other words, there’s a surprising amount of games that should already be inducted but aren’t. While obvious picks like Super Mario Bros., Pac-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog are already in, there’s plenty other classics yet to make the cut. Today, we’re going to look at five classic games that deserve to be in the Video Game Hall of Fame!

Resident Evil

Without a doubt, Resident Evil defined the survival horror genre in video games. The original 1996 PlayStation game not only spawned a series of sequels, films and books, but it planted the seed for all horror games that came after. From 1999’s Silent Hill to more recent horror games like Outlast, survival horror has RE to thank.

With its lasting impact and influence, Resident Evil is an obvious choice for the Hall of Fame. In fact, it already came close to entering. Before this year’s selections were finalized, Capcom’s horror masterpiece was one of the 2022 finalists.

She’s making sure she doesn’t become a Jill sandwich

However, it’s not just the future games it would inspire that makes Resident Evil so great. The horrifically amazing game design of the original title alone makes it a worthy contender. The fixed camera angles that always make things feel off kilter and the constant dread of what lurks behind every corner give players an endless feeling of uneasiness that still holds up to this day. Pair the suspenseful and tense action with interesting, brain-teasing puzzles, and you have the recipe for not just one of the greatest horror games of all time, but also one of the best games in general.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Although news headlines about Activision have been less than favorable lately, there’s no denying the impact the Call of Duty series has had on modern gaming. While it’s fair to state that COD fell off over the years due to over-saturation and a lack of innovation, there’s no denying it was once at the top of the food chain. And you can largely attribute the franchise’s success to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Multiplayer

While Call of Duty had games come before it, Modern Warfare is the title where the franchise truly adopted its identity. Not only was it the first M-rated game in the series, it was the first to step aside from World War II as its setting. In addition, it laid the foundation for the series’ addictive multiplayer and made Call of Duty one of the most dominant online games on the market.

Some of the features first introduced in Modern Warfare include an experience-based progression system, perks, custom classes and kill streaks. Although players expect and may even take these multiplayer features for granted nowadays, COD 4 introduced them and raised the bar for all first-person shooters going forward. With over 17.3 million lifetime units sold, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare cemented its legacy as both an individual game and a launching point for the whole series to become a global phenomenon. If that’s not Video Game Hall of Fame worthy, I don’t know what is.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Although it wasn’t the first Smash Bros. game, Super Smash Bros. Melee was certainly the most influential. Even as Nintendo expands the series with new games that have even larger rosters, Melee remains relevant. Part of its cultural significance is how Melee helped flip the fighting game genre on its head to create what is now referred to as the platform fighter.

Melee tournament at EVO

Unlike fighting games that came before, Super Smash Bros. Melee doesn’t feature highly complicated combos that rely on specific button combinations. Instead, it limits character move-sets while emphasizing party play. And while the original Smash Bros. certainly had this focus as well, Melee amplified those ideas to new heights.

This time around, we had a larger cast of Nintendo icons to play as, as well as larger scale maps. Stage hazards, moving maps and even maps that change periodically, like the Pokémon Stadium, truly helped take this game to the next level. With tight yet simple controls, weapons for players to utilize and addictive cartoonish action, Super Smash Bros. Melee redefined what it means to be a fighting game.

WWF SmackDown!

If you read my stories often, you’ll know I’m a wrestling nerd. Therefore, it’s obligatory I include a wrestling game on the list. But you may ask yourself why this one?

The graphics have improved just a tad between then and now.

While WWF SmackDown! is not nearly as refined or cherished as its N64 counterpart No Mercy, this wrestling game arguably had a bigger influential impact. That’s because SmackDown! started the mainline series of WWF/WWE games. Without this humble beginning, we wouldn’t have classic hits like SmackDown Shut Your Mouth and SmackDown Here Comes the Pain.

In addition, the SmackDown series would see evolutions such as the rebranding to SmackDown Vs. Raw. Later, the franchise name would change again to simply WWE and then to WWE 2K. To feel this game’s legacy, just pop in WWE 2K22. While the franchise changed a lot over the years, you can still trace its evolution back to this 1999 PlayStation game. And for that, it deserves a seat in the Video Game Hall of Fame.

Metal Gear Solid

For many years, the obvious solution to get through any action game involved charging through levels guns blazing. Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece Metal Gear Solid, however, completely scrapped that notion. Instead, players faced the all-new challenge to make it through the game without causing attention. In other words, Metal Gear Solid set the bar for all stealth titles to follow.

Sneaky Snake

Stealth gameplay isn’t the only impressive feat of this game, however. MGS also stands out as the first video game to ever truly blur the boundaries between games and movies. Lengthy cinematic cutscenes with stellar music and great voice acting made Metal Gear Solid something new to gaming.

Kojima’s masterful game design not only went on to inspire stealth mechanics for games to come, but completely changed the way people viewed gaming as a medium. Because MGS towed the line between game and movie so delicately, it inspired developers to this very day to strive a cinematic balance in gameplay.

Nominate your favorite titles to the Video Game Hall of Fame today!

Although these five games aren’t in yet, you can already nominate them for next year. On Strong Museum’s website, they state that they are already accepting nominations for 2023. The organization describes their selection process:

Anyone may nominate a game to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in society.

Strong National Museum of Play

Do you think these five games should be in the Video Game Hall of Fame? What other games deserve a spot? As always, share your thoughts in the comments!

Sam Fronsman

A writer with a love for video games, both new and old. A collector of games, CDs and DVDs. Can sometimes be found behind a camera or playing guitar. The X-Men games for SEGA Genesis will always hold great memories.
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