Earlier today, the World Video Game Hall of Fame announced the finalists for induction into the body’s Class of 2018. There are quite a few significant titles on the list, making it a rather difficult decision. Some of the games have historical significance, while others have molded popular culture around them. Which game(s) do you think should be inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame this year?
I’m not positive what my entire ballot of three would consist of, but I do know that Spacewar! is definitely on it. Spacewar! is a 1962 multiplayer space shooter developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the PDP-1 computer system. While relatively unimpressive based on today’s standards, it took like wildfire back in the day. Spacewar! featured a dogfight between two player-controlled spaceships, each with limited fuel and rockets. Using these resources, players had to navigate around a star and destroy their opponent. Spacewar! also featured Newtonian physics and a hyperspace button which gave players some extra things to consider in terms of movement.
Spacewar! proved to be really popular, appearing on multiple computer installations, becoming the first known video game to do so. Because of this popularity, Spacewar! also became an incredibly influential title in the formation of the video game industry. The first commercially sold arcade game (Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney’s Computer Space) used Spacewar! as its basis. Asteroids wound up borrowing the hyperspace button. But moreso than the game itself, Spacewar! programmer Steve Russell said he was most proud of the amount of programmers who created their own games after playing it.
Sure, there are insanely popular games on the list of nominees. A lot of voters may be drawn to Call of Duty or Half-Life because of their modern popularity. But I believe that moreso than any other game on that list, Spacewar! is the most influential historically and thus deserves a spot among the inductees this year.