“Mortal Kombat,” the blood-and-guts arcade game that triggered Congressional hearings and age-level game ratings, was inducted Thursday into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, along with “Colossal Cave Adventure,” ”Super Mario Kart,” and the ubiquitous “Solitaire” game built into Microsoft Windows.
The 2019 inductees were honored for their impacts on video gaming and pop culture, and their popularity over time and across countries.
“Mortal Kombat” quickly raised alarms when it launched in 1992, with critics taking aim at a feature giving players the gory choice of whether to kill by decapitating an opponent or ripping out their heart.
“Instead of enriching a child’s mind, these games teach a child to enjoy inflicting torture,” Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut, said in 1993 when opening a congressional hearing on video game violence that featured scenes from the game. Amid a national conversation about the impact of video violence on kids, the industry established the Entertainment Software Rating Board in 1994 to assign parent-friendly age ratings to games.
“Beyond its controversial content and role in triggering debate about the role of violent video games in society, ‘Mortal Kombat’s’ compelling gameplay, iconic characters and many sequels have kept players coming back again and again,” Digital Games Curator Andrew Borman said in a news release.
“Mortal Kombat 11” launched last week.
The World Video Game Hall of Fame is housed at The Strong museum in Rochester and recognizes individual electronic games of all types — arcade, console, computer, hand-held and mobile.
While anyone can nominate a game, the 4-year-old hall chooses inductees with input from journalists, scholars and others with video game expertise.
“Microsoft Solitaire” was honored for helping fuel the growth of today’s popular casual gaming market. Since debuting in 1991 on Windows 3.0, the electronic version of the centuries-old card game has been installed on more than 1 billion computers around the world, according to The Strong.
“The game proved that sometimes analog games can be even more popular in the digital world and demonstrated that a market existed for games that appeal to people of all types,” said Jeremy Saucier, assistant vice president for electronic games and interpretation.
“Super Mario Kart” was released in 1992 and put the popular Super Mario Bros. characters into go-karts.
“It invited friends, family and gaming fans of all ages along for an unforgettable ride that has made it the longest-running racing series in gaming history,” said Julia Novakovic, an archivist at The Strong.
The 1974 “Colossal Cave Adventure” was recognized for laying the foundation for a genre of fantasy and adventure games, despite having no graphics and relying on players typing rudimentary computer commands like “get lamp.”
World Video Game Hall of Fame officials said they fielded thousands of nominations for the Class of 2019 from more than 100 countries and narrowed the finalists to a field of 12. The others in the running were: “Candy Crush Saga,” ”Centipede,” ”Dance Dance Revolution,” ”Half-Life,” ”Myst,” ”NBA 2K,” ”Sid Meier’s Civilization” and “Super Smash Bros. Melee.”