Wizardry, warfare, Wii on ballot for World Video Game Hall of Fame

This undated photo shows the 12 finalists being considered for induction into the World Video Game Hall of Fame in May. They are: 'Age of Empires', 'Angry Birds', 'Barbie Fashion Designer', 'Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare', 'Computer Space', 'FIFA International Soccer', 'GoldenEye 007', 'The Last of Us', 'NBA 2K', 'Quake', 'Wii Sports' and 'Wizardry'. — The Strong Museum via AP

ROCHESTER: Wizardry, warfare and Wii are on the ballot as the World Video Game Hall of Fame narrows down its contenders for the class of 2023.

The Hall of Fame on Wednesday announced 12 finalists that are being considered for induction in May. The games for consideration include Age of Empires, Angry Birds, Barbie Fashion Designer, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Computer Space, FIFA International Soccer, GoldenEye 007, The Last of Us, NBA 2K, Quake, Wii Sports and Wizardry.

A panel of experts and the public will vote on the winners.

"It’s always difficult to narrow the World Video Game Hall of Fame nominations down to just 12 finalists because there are so many games that have had an enormous influence on popular culture or the video game industry itself," said Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of the The Strong's International Center for the History of Electronic Games in Rochester, where the hall is based.

"This year’s finalists are some heavy-hitters,” he said.

The Hall of Fame recognises arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile games whose popularity has been far-reaching and influenced other games or society at large.

Finalist FIFA International Soccer is the most popular sports game franchise of all time, according to the hall, and is a worldwide best-seller with updates every year from publisher Electronic Arts. And then there's Rovio’s Angry Birds, with two billion downloads, which is nominated for turning millions of smartphone users into gamers.

The 1996 Barbie Fashion Designer game broke with the pattern of the industry marketing to male players; Wii Sports became a hit among older adults; and Nutting Associate’s coin-operated Computer Space from 1971 proved video games could exist outside of computer labs as the first commercial video game, according to the hall.

The post-apocalyptic The Last of Us, released by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2013, is now a hit TV show for HBO.

Anyone can nominate a game for the hall. Thousands of nominations came in for consideration for this year's class, The Strong museum said.

Fan voting is underway online through March 22 as part of what's called the "Player’s Choice” ballot. The three games that receive the most public votes will form one ballot that will be counted alongside ballots submitted by members of an international committee of experts.

The winners will be inducted in a virtual ceremony on May 4. – AP

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