Way out in San Francisco, CA there's a little place called the Metreon that houses the relatively new Walk Of Game, video gaming's answer to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Last year the Walk inducted the first developers and game characters, honoring such people as Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, and Link. Now the nominations for the 2006 honors have been revealed and I have to wonder just how many of these nominated characters truly deserve the honor.
Game and character nominations include Castlevania, Civilization, Donkey Kong, Doom, EverQuest, Final Fantasy, Fox McCloud (Star Fox), Frogger, Grand Theft Auto, Half-Life, Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Madden NFL, Mortal Kombat, Myst, Pac-Man, Pitfall Harry (Pitfall), Pong, Quake, Resident Evil, Samus Aran (Metroid), Space Invaders, StarCraft, Street Fighter II, Tetris, and The Sims.
I feel that it is important for the Walk to maintain some level of integrity and not honor games and characters that are merely flashes in the pan or have just not been around long enough to prove timeless. Mario and Sonic have been with us for what seems like forever, plus they've appeared in more games than their peers. I question Master Chief's place on the Walk just because he's too new of a character. I don't care how many copies of Halo and Halo 2 that he's sold. Will people still care about him in five years? Ten?
Then there's this year's list of nominations. There are a few worthy characters and games on the list: Castlevania, Doom, Final Fantasy, and so on. These are games that either kickstarted something amazing or have enough staying power to continually wow audiences. Then there's Pitfall Harry. What is he doing on this list? What has he done for us lately? The same goes for Frogger and Space Invaders. Yes, they brought in tons of quarters back in the day, but where are they now? When is the last time anyone talked about them? And as much as I love Samus Aran and Fox McCloud, it's also a little too soon for them to be honored (then again, if Master Chief is a legitimate honoree, then maybe they are past due for some recognition). It's also not the time for Lara Croft; characters known only for their digital boobies should not stand with icons such as Mario and Sonic.
So just who would I choose for honors on the Walk of Game? Donkey Kong (the gorilla, not the game), Mega Man, Super Mario Kart, and Rare's Goldeneye 007. Donkey Kong and Mega Man have long since paid their gaming dues, and many gamers today still sing the praises of the original Mario Kart and the best game featuring James Bond. Anything introduced in the current gaming generation is too new to deserve honors, as are characters that have appeared in only five major games or less. Honorees on the Walk Of Game should represent the best the world of video games has to offer both in terms of gameplay and heroes. Raising Pitfall Harry up on the same pedestal as Mario cheapens the entire concept of honoring gaming's stars.