by: Elizabeth Balboa, Benzinga Staff Writer
Microsoft Corporation MSFT, a name generally associated with computer services, is earning due credit in the gaming industry. But in a surprising twist, the recognized venture stands distinct from the company’s renowned XBox line.
The National Museum of Play, also known as The Strong, announced a list of 12 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists Tuesday that includes the unexpected title of Microsoft’s Solitaire.
“That was an extremely important game in the sense that many people first learned how to use a computer mouse by playing solitaire,” Strong Assistant Director Jeremy Saucier told the New York Times. “Many people — the first time they had played a digital game was ‘Microsoft Solitaire.’"
The company could further cash in on two additional nominees, as it publishes both "Halo: Combat Evolved" and "Final Fantasy VII." Sony Corp (ADR) SNE is also poised to win with the "Final Fantasy" franchise.
Nearly half of this year’s finalists are products of companies on the Tokyo stock exchange, including Nintendo’s NTDOY "Donkey Kong," Wii Sports, "Pokemon Red and Green," and "Street Fighter II." The latter is also a venture of Capcom, which publishes nominee "Resident Evil."
"Pokemon Red and Green" is nominated for the third consecutive year, while "Street Fighter" and "Tomb Raider" celebrate second nominations.
Through the end of February, thousands of voters from more than 50 countries voted for the third class of inductees, and The Strong spent the last few weeks evaluating options.
Museum officials selected 12 candidates based on criteria of iconic stature, longevity, geographic reach and level of influence in pop culture and the gaming industry.
Winners will be announced May 4 and will join the ranks of "DOOM," "Grand Theft Auto III," "The Legend of Zelda," "The Oregon Trail," "Pac-Man," "Pong," "The Sims," "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Space Invaders," "Super Mario Bros.," "Tetris" and "World of Warcraft."
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