The list includes arcade trailblazers Pong and Space Invaders, smartphone favourites Angry Birds and Minecraft and an array of others for console and computer.
They are: Doom, FIFA soccer, the Legend of Zelda, the Oregon Trail, Pac-Man, Pokemon, the Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., Tetris and World of Warcraft.
Only a handful will make up the hall of fame's inaugural class, to be chosen by an international selection committee of journalists, scholars and other video game experts.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for June 4 inside The Strong museum in Rochester, which also houses the National Toy Hall of Fame.
"The 15 finalists for the World Video Game Hall of Fame span decades, gaming platforms and geographies," said Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong's International Center for the History of Electronic Games. "Whether it's the groundbreaking game Pong or a more recent viral sensation like Minecraft, all of these games have helped shape the way that people across the globe play and relate to one another."
To make it into the hall of fame, games must have icon status, prove to be more than a passing fad and leave a mark on other games or forms of entertainment, pop culture or society in general.
The Strong said it received thousands of nominations since February, when it announced creation of the video game hall to recognize the impact of electronic games through the years. Anyone can nominate a game online.
The Strong's electronic games centre has more than 55,000 video games and related artifacts in its collection, along with personal papers and corporate records that document the history of video games.