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Voting is underway to decide which video games will be selected for hall of fame

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Every year since 2015, the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y., looks to honor pioneering games in their World Video Game Hall of Fame. Past inductees have included the legendary Pac-Man.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Ooh, I remember that, and of course also remember Microsoft Solitaire.

MARTIN: This year's edition has 12 nominees, including Metroid, SimCity, and Neopets. Remember those electronic pet things you had to keep alive?

INSKEEP: No. But go on.

MARTIN: Public voting is underway to decide which four will be selected in May.

INSKEEP: Jon-Paul Dyson is a video game historian at the museum and says nominees need to meet four criteria.

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JON-PAUL DYSON: One is longevity - has the game lasted a while? Second is geographical reach - is it played across boundaries? The third is icon status. People know this game. And lastly and most importantly is influence. Sometimes there's a game that's not as well known, but it's very influential in the history of gaming.

MARTIN: The games are mostly an original concept or a unique twist on a genre like this year's nominee, Asteroids.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELECTRONIC BEEPING)

INSKEEP: Oh, I remember this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELECTRONIC BEEPING)

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DYSON: There were space shooter games before then. Space Invaders was before that. But this is a free-flowing game. In some way goes back to an early game Spacewar! which some people consider the first video game, but it was a new twist on this popular space theme.

INSKEEP: I killed a lot of time after school doing that one. Now the original Guitar Hero...

MARTIN: I like Guitar Hero.

INSKEEP: Oh, do you really?

MARTIN: I do.

INSKEEP: Oh, I can't wait. We're going to play this later. But anyway, it's another nominee, which Dyson says brought a lot of people into gaming.

(SOUNDBITE OF WAVEGROUP SONG, "INFECTED")

DYSON: You're at a party, someone has it set up, you're willing to make a fool of yourself, fail pretty badly.

INSKEEP: Unless you're Michel Martin. Then you succeed.

MARTIN: You can definitely shred.

INSKEEP: OK. Guitar Hero is an example of a game that can be played with something other than a traditional controller.

DYSON: And I think you develop a new appreciation for the music as you listen to it and try to literally play along with it.

MARTIN: Other nominees include 1999's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, which Dyson says really captured skateboarding culture and made it more accessible, and Resident Evil, pioneer of the survival horror genre and the first game of its kind to be nominated.

INSKEEP: The Strong Museum of Play - crazy multicolored building in Rochester, N.Y., is taking votes via their website until March 21. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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