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World Video Game Hall Of Fame To Announce Inductees

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Later this morning, gamers around the world will put down their wireless controllers and Hot Pockets and pay close attention to the announcement out of Rochester, N.Y. That's the home of the World Video Game Hall of Fame. And today, we learn which games will join "Pac-Man," "Tetris" and "World Of Warcraft" for this honor.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Yes, there really is a Video Game Hall of Fame. And the staff has narrowed it down to 12 nominees. Here's Jon-Paul Dyson, director of the hall.

JON-PAUL DYSON: So we choose games based on four criteria - icon status, longevity, geographical reach and influence.

MARTIN: And what could fit those descriptions better than...

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "DONKEY KONG")

MARTIN: ..."Donkey Kong," where for some reason a moustachioed plumber has to climb ladders and dodge fireballs on his way to saving a damsel from the clutches of a mighty ape.

DYSON: "Donkey Kong" made Nintendo's fortune here in the United States when it came out 1981. And it also introduced perhaps the most iconic video game character of all time, Mario.

MARTIN: That's even before we knew he had a brother.

INSKEEP: Now, for one you might not have considered for the Hall of Fame, Microsoft Windows "Solitaire."

DYSON: Ubiquitous game. Everyone who had a PC had it on there. And for many people, it was the way they learned how to use a mouse.

INSKEEP: You know, I never thought of it that way, but I guess that's true.

MARTIN: Here's another nominee that turned a few stomachs when it first came out in 1992.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As narrator) Mortal Kombat.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As narrator) Test your might.

MARTIN: "Mortal Kombat" was the most brutal fighting game of its day. When a vanquished combatant was about to fall, the game encouraged the player to...

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As narrator) Finish him.

MARTIN: ...And that usually meant a very, very bloody dispatch.

DYSON: It became the centerpiece of congressional hearings in 1993 over violence in videogames.

MARTIN: And that, in part, led to the establishment of the ratings system that video game makers still use today.

INSKEEP: Let's mention some other nominated games - "Final Fantasy VII," "Halo," "Myst" "Pokemon Red" and "Green," "Portal," "Resident Evil," "Street Fighter II," "Tomb Raider" and "Wii Sports."

MARTIN: Jon-Paul Dyson and the World Video Game Hall of Fame staff will winnow that field down to no more than six inductees later this morning.

INSKEEP: How can you get it down to six?

MARTIN: It's tough. It's tough work.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "MORTAL KOMBAT")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: Test your might. Test your might. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.