The finalists are: Centipede, Mortal Kombat, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Super Mario Kart, NBA 2K, Candy Crush, Colossal Cave Adventure, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, Myst, Sid Meier’s Civilisation and Super Smash Bros Melee.
An expert committee will choose which of the finalists will be inducted on May 2.
Gamers can weigh in with an online ballot until March 28.
The World Video Game Hall of Fame, housed at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, recognises individual electronic games of all types – arcade, console, computer, hand-held and mobile.
Those deemed worthy of the hall have left a mark on the video game industry or pop culture and been popular over time and across countries.
Last year, John Madden Football, Spacewar!, Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VII were honoured.
The Class of 2019 will be the fifth group to go into the hall since it was established in 2015.
Newzoo analysts estimated the video game market at nearly 140 billion dollars (£106 billion) in 2018, with more than 2.3 billion active gamers.
The numbers dwarf the 43.4 billion dollars (£33 billion) in revenue generated by the American film industry.
The 12 Hall of Fame finalists span decades, gaming platforms and countries of origin, but all have had an impact, said Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Centre for the History of Electronic Games.
“Whether it’s a true pioneer like Colossal Cave Adventure, a mobile gaming phenomenon like Candy Crush that’s been played by hundreds of millions, or a game like Mortal Kombat that pushed boundaries and changed the landscape of the gaming industry, they’re among the most influential games of all time,” Mr Dyson said.