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Ms Pac-Man game enters history books with Hall of Fame honour

AP, May 10, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Ms Pac-Man has joined Pac-Man in the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The game blazed a trail for female video game characters as well as girl gamers when it was released over 40 years ago. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images media_cameraMs Pac-Man has joined Pac-Man in the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The game blazed a trail for female video game characters as well as girl gamers when it was released over 40 years ago. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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More than 40 years after blazing a trail for female video game characters, Ms Pac-Man was inducted* Thursday into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, along with Dance Dance Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Sid Meier’s Civilization.

The Hall of Fame considers electronic games of all types each year — arcade, console, computer, handheld and mobile. Inductees are recognised for their popularity and influence on the video game industry or pop culture over time.

media_cameraThe Hall of Fame recognises games for their popularity and influence on pop culture over time, so it is no surprise that Pac-Man was included in the inaugural Class of 2015. Ms Pac-Man has now been included as well. Picture: file

The Ms Pac-Man arcade game was released in 1981 as the follow-up to Pac-Man, which entered the hall in the inaugural* Class of 2015. The Pac-Man sequel reimagined the main character to acknowledge the original game’s female fans, according to the hall. After selling 125,000 cabinets within the first five years, it became one of the best-selling arcade games of all time.

There was nothing inherently* gendered* about early video games, said senior Hall of Fame archivist* Julia Novakovic.

But “by offering the first widely recognised female video game character, Ms Pac-Man represented a turn in the cultural conversation about women’s place in the arcade, as well as in society at large,” she said.

media_cameraToday girl gamers are nothing new, but when video games were first invented, none of the characters were female and it was seen as a subculture dominated by male players. Ms Pac-Man was the first widely recognised female video game character and she has just been recognised with a nod by the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Picture: file image

The Class of 2022 is the eighth class to be inducted since the World Video Game Hall of Fame was established at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution, first seen in arcades in Japan in 1998, was recognised for helping to pave the way for other music-centred games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The fast-paced game put players on a dance floor with a screen in front to direct their moves.

“Music has been an integral part of human life since prehistoric times, so it comes as no surprise that DDR enjoyed a unique popularity that spanned ages, genders, and regions,” said video game curator* Lindsey Kurano.

A home version of the game followed on the Sony PlayStation in 1999.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, also first released in 1998, came out for the Nintendo 64 gaming console and defined what a 3D action video game could be, Hall of Fame officials said. The award-winning game sold more than 7.6 million copies worldwide and continues to be hailed by some players and critics as one of the best video games ever made.

media_cameraThis 2007 cartridge holding The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time may not look like much, but the 1997 game is hailed as one of the most influential video games ever made. Picture: file image

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, also first released in 1998, came out for the Nintendo 64 gaming console and defined what a 3D action video game could be, Hall of Fame officials said. The award-winning game sold more than 7.6 million copies worldwide and continues to be hailed by some players and critics as one of the best video games ever made.

“Even today, developers throughout the world credit The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as influencing the way they create games,” digital games curator Andrew Borman said. “The game’s sprawling 3D world, fluid combat, complex puzzles and time-shifting story combined to inspire a wonder in players that they have never forgotten.”

Little girl playing video games media_cameraAnyone can nominate a game for inclusion in the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Picture: file image

Sid Meier’s Civilization, released in 1991, was recognised as an influential simulation and strategy game. The game previously earned recognition in 1996 from Computer Gaming World as the best video game of all time.

“Altogether — and given the extraordinarily long periods of play the game afforded — players have engaged with the Civilization series for more than a billion hours,” said the museum’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games director Jon-Paul Dyson.

Anyone can nominate a game for the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of journalists, scholars and others with knowledge of the history of video games and their role in society.

GLOSSARY

  • inducted: to bestow an office or title or place with a formal ceremony
  • inaugural: the first one or the first time
  • inherently: natural or essential to the nature or quality or something
  • gendered: decided or limited by gender
  • archivist: someone who organises and preserves materials in a collection or archive
  • curator: person who decides and collects the content in a gallery or museum

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What year was Ms Pac-Man released?
  2. How many Ms Pac-Man cabinets sold in the first five years?
  3. Where is the World Video Game Hall of Fame?
  4. How many copies of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sold worldwide?
  5. Which game was recognised by Computer Gaming World as the best video game of all time?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Nominate a video game
Choose a game that you’d like to nominate for the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Anyone is allowed to nominate but you need to write a paragraph explaining why it deserves to be in there. The Hall of Fame considers electronic games of all types each year — arcade, console, computer, handheld and mobile. So the game you nominate can be any of these game types.

Game name:

How it works:

Why it deserves to be in the World Video Game Hall of Fame:

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Digital Technologies; Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Do you think the gender of its characters matters to a video game’s success? Argue why or why not and give some examples.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Digital Technologies; Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Imaginative dialogue
Imagine you were there during the event being discussed in the article, or for the interview.

Create a conversation between two characters from the article – you may need or want to include yourself as one of the characters. Don’t forget to try to use facts and details from the article to help make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Go through your writing and highlight any punctuation you have used in green. Make sure you carefully check the punctuation used for the dialogue and ensure you have opened and closed the speaking in the correct places.

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