The Strong National Museum of Play will induct Super Mario Kart and Mortal Kombat into its 2019 World Video Game Hall of Fame. The iconic titles join a long line of games recognized for their impact on both the gaming industry and the culture of play as a whole. Tetris, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros. are just a few of the previous inductees.
Based in Rochester, New York, the Strong Museum boasts a wealth of exhibits dedicated to the history of interactive media and the concept of play. Its collections include numerous pieces of rare video game hardware, over 37,000 games, and priceless archival collections. The museum established the World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015 to immortalize influential and popular games spanning multiple generations and platforms. Unlike some other Halls of Fame, anyone can nominate a game for the World Video Game Hall. However, a panel of scholars, journalists, and other esteemed video game figures determine the final selections. The 2018 class included the original Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VII.
Super Mario Kart raced to the Super Nintendo in 1992, and as announced by the Strong National Museum of Play, will now join the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Though it didn’t invent the kart racing subgenre, the game popularized it by combining the wildly popular Mario cast with entertaining track design and power-ups. Mario Kart has since become a tentpole franchise for Nintendo. A sequel has arrived on nearly every platform, and regularly ranks among the highest software sellers on any system. Nintendo currently has its first mobile entry in the series slated for this year, though it recently suffered a delay.
Mortal Kombat poured gas on the fighting genre’s rapidly spreading fire when it arrived in arcades in 1992, and is also now joining the hall. It’s impressive gameplay was almost completely eclipsed by its, at the time, unprecedented violence, further punctuated by the realistic digitized actors. These factors skyrocketed Mortal Kombat to mainstream popularity and infamy. Its signature gore even made it a target of a concerned U.S. government, and the game became one of the primary catalysts for the formation of the ESRB ratings system. Regardless, Mortal Kombat became a pop culture phenomenon in the 1990s, spawning two feature films, television shows, comics, and decades worth of sequels and spinoffs. The latest game, Mortal Kombat 11, launched to largely glowing reviews in April.
Other inductees into the 2019 class are Microsoft Solitaire and 1976 text adventure, Colossal Cave Adventure. The Strong Museum announced the class on May 2 and, for those who’d like to visit, has a permanent display for the honored games on its second floor. These four games managed to top a panel of 12 other finalists. Potential candidates included Centipede, Myst, Half-Life, and even Candy Crush Saga. It's doubtful anyone would argue the worthiness of the 2019 class. Super Mario Kart put kart racing on the map, and helped expand Mario’s popularity outside of platforming. Mortal Kombat managed to rival the behemoth that was Street Fighter during the 1990s fighting boom, and established one of the most recognizable series in video games. Perhaps most impressive is that both games still hold up remarkably well today.
Source: Strong National Museum of Play