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Ottumwa Stories: Video Game Capital of the World
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Ottumwa Stories: Video Game Capital of the World

Ottumwa is known as the Video Game Capital of the World. How did we get this unique distinction? Twin Galaxies, history’s most famous video game and pinball arcade, was founded in Ottumwa, IA by Walter Day in 1981. Twin Galaxies, began keeping official high scores and records for video gaming. They did this with a 16-by-18-foot International Scoreboard displaying names of the current record holders. Day definitely didn't take this lightly, each score had to come with a "letter or proof" from the manager of the arcade where the score was achieved. Ottumwa hosted the first North American Video Olympics in the fall of 1982 where top players gathered and the event was featured in a LIFE magazine. Twin Galaxies organized the first significant video-game championship, to crown a world champion.

AS the birthplace of organized competitive esports, Twin Galaxies created the Twin Galaxies International scoreboard that formulated the official rules for competitive esports and crowned the champions around the world of thousands of video games. In 1982, Mayor Jerry Parker and Governor Brandstad came to Ottumwa and proclaimed Ottumwa, the “Video Game Capital of the World”.

Twin Galaxies (the arcade) has since closed but Twin Galaxies lives on as the official organization that tracks video game world records, similar to the Guinness Book of World Records for video gaming achievement. Ottumwa holds a unique place in the golden age of video gaming. Since Twin Galaxies is no longer physically in Ottumwa, Old School Pinball and Arcade stepped up to the plate to keep this history alive.

Old School Pinball and Arcade is located in Quincy Place Mall at 1100 Quincy Ave, and they’re always putting on fun events and promotions. October 4-7, Old School is putting on the Galaxies of Gaming 2018 event. Come on out and celebrate Ottumwa’s history by participating in this fun event! There will be an International Video Game hall of Fame induction ceremony, Walter Day’s Trading Card ceremony, Video Game Capital of the World Museum, a Walk of Fame, and so much more! Come out and make history and memories with Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball and Arcade!

Image credit: Greater Ottumwa Convention & Visitors Bureau

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