Gaming Hall of Fame: our favourite retro games

This year’s World Video Game Hall of Fame honours have been revealed. We take a look at some of the classic games to make the list…

11 May 2016



Credit: Associated Press

How well do you remember your favourite video game of years gone by? Now a museum in New York wants to rejig our memory with its list of the most iconic retro games.

The Strong Museum of Play’s annual World Video Game Hall of Fame honours the PC, arcade and console games that still stand the test of time.

An expert panel of journalists, scholars and industry figures selected the games based on their popularity and influence they had on the video game industry as a whole.

So did your favourite make the list? Here we take a look at the chosen games…


Space Invaders

The iconic Japanese arcade alien shooter dates all the way back to 1978, and sparked the craze for arcade games. The aim of the game was to defeat approaching aliens by shooting a laser gun at them, and it became so popular that a console version for Atari was released a couple of years later. Want to relive other classic Atari games on your PC?

Why was it chosen? Although it may not seem it by today’s standards, at the time Space Invaders was actually renowned for its impressive graphics and innovative gameplay. It was also the first shooter to really become popular.


The Legend of Zelda

Nintendo favourite and first in the Zelda series, this action-adventure game took players into the fantasy world of Hyrule. Playing as the character Link, it was down to you to explore the mysterious surrounding forest and uncover clues as you attempt to save Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon.

Why was it chosen? The Legend of Zelda sold over 6.5m copies (souce: Museum of Play), earning its place as ‘one of the most iconic titles of the 1980s’ according to the museum’s associate curator Shannon Symonds.

Not just for 80s gamers, millions have gone on to play the many sequels, remakes and spin-off games released by Nintendo in the years that followed.


Sonic the Hedgehog

If you ever played the Sega game from the 90s, you’ll recognise the super-speedy blue cartoon hedgehog. Here you raced round different levels, collecting rings for health and rescuing animals from the clutches of evil robots – ending in a battle with Dr. Robotnik, Sonic’s arch nemesis.

Why was it chosen? With over 20 games and spin-offs, its own TV show and comic book, it’s fair to say Sonic has left its mark on gamers around the world.

It’s also Sega’s best-selling video game of all time – the franchise has had around 350m sales or downloads in its lifetime (source: The Strong Museum of Play).


The Oregon Trail

Perhaps a more unlikely addition to the list, this educational game was first created by teachers in America as an interactive history lesson. It taught school children about the real-life journey made by Western settlers as they travelled to the Pacific coast.

Why was it chosen? The Oregon Trail was pretty pioneering at the time. It was released in the 70s when access to computers was still pretty limited, and proved that games could be used for educational purposes as well as for fun. Something we still see today, with the likes of micro:bit being used to teach school children how to code.


The Sims

The life simulator game where you could create your own family, move them into a house and then control their every move. By choosing your Sim’s career, friendships and relationships, it was your call as to whether they’d live a life of luxury or pure misery.

Why was it chosen? As the best-selling PC game franchise of all time, The Sims was popular with kids and adults around the world. It brought us a totally unique type of gameplay – giving players free-reign over a family of their making.


Grand Theft Auto III

Proving video games aren’t just for kids, Rockstar’s 3-D open-world game sparked its fair share of controversy when it was released – as critics complained it was too violent for mainstream use. That didn’t stop 14.5m of us buying copies by 2008, though (source: The Strong Museum of Play). In it, players entered a dark world of organised crime in the fictional Liberty City.

Why was it chosen? GTA gave players the freedom to explore and play as they pleased – a style that influenced a lot of games that followed.

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