Video Game Golden Age
History Of Twin Galaxies and the Golden Age

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B e g i n n i n g   Of   T w i n   G a l a x i e s
Beginning - Golden Age January 18, 1982

Steve Juraszek, 15, Crowned Defender Champ of the World by Time Magazine (1982)

Twin Galaxies Arcade was the Official Location of the Score Keeper of Video Game High Scores and without Walter Day's passion for keeping high scores, there would be no Video Game Guinness World Records and no way to know who was best in the world. The Golden Age of Video Game Arcades began on January 18, 1982 when John Skow of Time magazine wrote an article which crowned Steve Juraszek of Mount Prospect, Illinois, the first superstar of the video game age by achieving the record of 15,963,100 points on Defender in 16 hours and 34 minutes on one quarter, 16 hours. He was the first player to receive worldwide recognition. This imortalized Twin Galaxies in Ottumwa, IA as the Video Game Capital of the World.

W a l t e r   D a y

Walter Day - Guinness Official Referee

     The Video Game High Score Board was the brain child of Walter Day who knew that if he could make the world believe that he had the only official score board that video game high scores would be taken seriously and everyone would clamor to be recognized on that score board. He proclaimed to every organization, AGMA, ACME, AMOA, Time Magazine, Life Magazine, Replay Magazine, Playmeter Magazine, Atari, Midway, etc. that he had the official score board and because he was the first who cared to put in the work they gladly gave him the job. From 1981 to 1986 he was the official score keeper and ran many contests that were well received by the media which gave him and his high score players fame and adoration as being the best in the world.

P u b l i c i t y

Twin Galaxies Ottawa, Illinois - Video Game Capital of the World

     In order for Walter Day to be taken seriously he first figured out a way to make his video game arcade the best known in the world. If he could proof that Fame would come to all those players who came to his Ottawa arcade, Twin Galaxies, the self proclaimed Video Game Capital of the World, then he could become an instant success.

C o m p e t i t i o n

Video Game Heroes

     Walter Day needed to create Heroes and did this by introducing contests like the North Carolina versus California Playoff, The U.S. National Video Game Team, The State Teams Tournament, That's Incredible with Tim Collum Ms Pac-Man Champ, The Electronic Circus with Conga the Gorilla who played Congo Bongo, The (Annual) Video Game Masters Tournament, The Iron Man 100 hour Contest and the (Annual) Coronation Day Contest.

James Vollandt, Longest time on one quarter 67 1/2 hours

James Vollandt

The winner of the 1985 Canada Iron Man Contst was James Vollandt, playing Joust for 67 1/2 hours on one quarter. These contests were all set up to see who was the best of the best. Everybody wanted the coveted title of Player of The Year as well as Video Game Master. The Masters Tournament is the famous high-score contest which was carried in the 1984-87 editions of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Steve Harris, (EGM)

The (Electronics Gaming Magazine EGM) run by Steve Harris had constantly referred linked the top players to the name U.S. National Video Game Team.

The Inspirastion for this team started with the LIFE photo session and became an obsession by the time “That’s Incredible” was aired. But the beginning was with The Electronic Circus.

Billy Mitchell, Steve Harris, Tim McVey, Jay Kim and Ben Gold were the first team members to be inducted. They would represent the State, and then the United States.
They were the best of the best and anybody could challenge these players.

     High Scores were published in the Guinness Book of World Records and in many magazines. Anybody who could beat these top gun players would be proclaimed the best and be put on the official high score board and would be received favorably by the media and by the millions of fans who were amazed that someone could master the video game. Players were becoming overnight heroes. This in turn made Walter Day famous for his Tournaments and High Score Board-(TGTS). He was known as Mr. Video Game.

T w i n   G a l a x i e s   I n t e r g a l a t i c   S c o r e B o a r d   (TGTS)

First International Scoreboard Contest

     The first Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard contest was on April 9, 1982. Twenty four players went head to head to compete on the game Defender in twenty-four different cities. Rick Smith from Mission Viejo, CA won with a record score of 33,013,200. This contest had helped cement the status of Twin Galaxies as being the Official Record Keeper.

Twin Galaxies - First International Arcade
     Because people were calling from all over the world to report their high scores to Walter Day, he coined the term, "Twin Galaxies is the world's most famous arcade." The offical scoreboard was the only connection to all of the world champions.

Life Magazine 1982 outside of Twin Galaxies Arcade, Iowa

1982 Life Magazine Link


Sam Blackburn, NC; Jeff Brandt, Bloomington, IL, world-class on Donkey Kong Jr. (DKJ); Matt Brass, MT, also world-class on DKJ; Leo Daniels, NC, wr holder on Asteroids and Tempest, world-class on Asteroids Deluxe, and Reactor; Kent Farries, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, another world-class DKJ player; Eric Ginner, Mountain View, CA, wr holder on Moon Patrol, world-class on Dig Dug, Robotron, Tempest, and Centipede; Ben Gold, Dallas, TX, wr holder on Stargate; Mike Lepkosky, Houston, TX, wr holder on Ms. Pac-man; Billy Mitchell, Hollywood, Florida, wr holder on Centipede, world class on Donkey Kong; Doug Nelson, CA; Darren Olson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, world class on Centipede; Mark Robichek, Mountain View, CA, wr holder on Frogger and Tutankham, world class on Moon Patrol; Steve Sanders, Clinton, MO, wr on Donkey Kong, Ned Troide, Palm Harbor, FL, wr holder on Defender; Todd Walker, San Jose, CA, wr holder on Joust and Joel West, NC.

Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell - Starting Centipede, with Ben Gold (1982)

Replay Magazine February 1984 Photo of Top Players in the World

Replay Magazine (1984)
In back, from left to right: Riccardo Albini (arms folded on chest), Tom Gault, Q*Bert Champ, Steve Harris, founder of Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine (EGM), Billy Mitchell, co-Player of the Year; Tim Collum, co-player-of-the Year and winner of "ABC-TV's "That's Incredible Ms. Pac-Man Contest (October 11, 1982); Chris Emery, Winnipeg, Canada; Tim McVey, first person to score 1 billion points on a game; Steve Sanders, Super Pac-Man champ; Chris Ayra, Ms. Pac-Man champ; Steve Burnett (in tie), pinball champ; Roger Sharpe, editor of Video Games Magazine; and Robert Chavez, manufacturer of Video Maniac Sports Wear.

Take a look at the following article of 1984:

The Role of Italy in Video Game History During the "Golden Age of Video Game Arcades"      

Apparently there were a disproportionate number of high scores coming from California and North Carolina. It was unusual because the two had equaled all of the other states combined high scores. The scores were coming from Light Years Amusement in Wilmington, NC. and Phil's Family Fun Center, a first-class promoter in Lakewood, CA was ready to compete against North Carolina. This competition was the first in which the players suspected other players were lying about their scores. This meant that stringent rules had to be written up for competitive video game playing so that cheating would be thwarted.

Think Tank Arrives

     Spencer Oueren, Tom Asaki and Don Williams were the Bozeman Think Tank. It was their job to find fraud in other players high score applications. In order to get a score accepted onto the scoreboard you were questioned by these three masters regarding your marathon skills. If you didn't know the intimate details of the higher levels of play then you were a fraud. New rules were made when finding flaws whle judging marathons. Players world trade off with their friends or use tricks which made it very easy to beat a game.

Legitimate Scores

     Marathons were no longer supported because the games have to be watched at all times by witnesses that have to be trusted to stay awake and be honest. High scores needed to be photographed in order to show proof that the score can be accomplished along with valid referee witness signatures.

     You would have to answer to the think tank and they knew if you were lying because they had master skills as well. Scores could also be challenged within the first year of the high score and you would have to proof your skills again, at least to 80% of your high score total. Finally, if not in an actual tournament, you must submit a video tape of the entire game and the dip switch setting in order to show the legitimate score.

S e c o n d   A n n u a l   C o r o n a t i o n   D a y   -  G o l d e n   A g e

January 12-13, 1985 - 2nd Annual Coronation Day/
3rd Annual Inventational Player of the Year Contest

The best of the best to Los Angeles CA from all over the world to challenge the local players at Captain Video's Arcade in West Los Angeles 10672 W Pico Blvd - Los Angeles, (310)-837-419.

Creating the North American Video Game Challenge

Mr. Mike McClelland and Mr. Gary Gullette opened Captain Video Games, a coin-operated video game arcade, in Los Angeles. California in April of 1981 and was the best known video game arcade in Los Angeles. They needed competition to keep the Arcade Industry active and alive with interest.

The North American Video Game Challenge contest would prove to be one of Twin Galaxies' greatest achievements. This was as big as the That's Incredible Contest two years earlier. The competition was very serious because the players were pitted against each other instead of just against their own high score attempts.

Media coverage included USA Today, Nationally syndicated ABC's Entertainment Tonight,and many other local stations. The contests four games included: SNK's Mad Crasher, Exidy's Cheyenne Gun, Data Easts' Karate Champ, and Atari's Return of the Jedi.

C.A. Robinson & Co. the legendary distributor of video games and pinballs in Los Angeles sponsored the event.

In the end, the Local Californian's held back their legendary competitors and won the competition. The winners in order: Phil Britt of Riverside, CA., Mike Sullivan of Riverside, Ca in second, and Jeff Peters of Etiwanda, CA was in third. Phil Britt was named 1985 Player-of-the-Year. He had beaten everybody who was considered the best. final standings at Captain Video: Phil Britt, Riverside, CA, 80.0%, Mike Sullivan, Riverside, CA, 73.6. Jeff Peters, Etiwanda, CA, 72%

Photo Below: Captain Video's Arcade in West Los Angeles January 12-13, 1985

January 12-13, 1985 3rd Annual Inventational Player of the Year Contest Winners/ Player Of The Year:
Phil Britt

Photo Left to Right:

Mike Sullivan, Jeff Peters, Phil Britt, Jack Gale, Donn Neuart

Article: January 1985 North American Video Game Challenge

Jeff Peters (1986)

Jeff Peters, 1986 United States National Video Game Team
Other Members of this 1986 Team: Steve Harris and Perry Rodgers

T h i r d   A n n u a l   M a s t e r s   T o u r n a m e n t

Third Annual Masters Tournament - June 28, 1985

     On June 28, 1985 Paul Dean of Riverside, CA had beaten Phil Britt on Spy Hunter in the June 28-30, 1985 Third Annual Masters Tournament in Upland California.

     Phil Britt's 1984 score was beaten by ten times the amount and Paul Dean's score still stands today 19 years later. This score was published in the Guinness Book of World Records 1986 and 1987 Edition.

     Phil Britt has a lot to lose by allowing my score to go through because he was crowned the best in the world January 13th of 1985 and here he had been beaten just seven months later in the same year. Of course he still has many other high scores which still stand without competition. His most notable high score is in Paperboy, a 1984 arcade game by Atari Games.

Paperboy, by Atari Games
The players take the role of a paperboy who delivers newspapers along a suburban street on his bicycle Developer Atari Games Publisher Atari Games Designer John Salwitz, Dave Ralston, Russel Dawe Release date 1984

Phil Britt, a Champion: Note: I hold Phil Britt in the Highest Regard because he was my Teacher and friend and without his skill in teaching me Spy Hunter in Riverside, CA., I would never have been published.

     If my high score is deleted and no longer published it will be based on the fact that the High Score Board refuses to interview all of the referee's and highly regarded players that were present at the time of my high score. Jeff Peters of Etiwanda, Ca. and Phil Britt both Guinness Players, knows and watched my abilities on many occasions including the 3rd Annual Masters Tournament on June 28, 1985. All of the below Guinness Players also know my Masters abilities and have seen my master level play for several years as we were all a pack who would challenge other groups of players.

Great Players from Riverside, CA: Dave Dean, Mappy High Score Mike Quarles, Crystal Castle High Score Mike Sullivan, Karate Champ High Score Phil Britt, PaperBoy High Score Paul Dean, Spy Hunter High Score

On May 18, 2004 My Spy Hunter High Score was reinstated in the Twin Galaxies High Score Data Base and I was told my score will make the 2nd Edition of the Twin Galaxies Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records in the year 2004.

The Reinstatement letter is at the folling link:
Walter Day - Record Keeper

T h e   E n d   O f   T h e   G o l d e n   A g e

Home Entertainment Systems Stifle Arcades

End of Golden Age - January 5, 1986

    The golden age of video game arcades has just about completely dried up because everyone is staying home and playing their home games. Walter Day's arcade had closed down on March 6, 1984 and the shake out was unraveling even further after that time.

    The boom year of 1982 had 425,000 coin-op arcades running but one year later there were only 250,000 left. This number kept going in a downward spiral as more kids were getting their brand new home enterainment units. January 5, 1986 was a time when players were not turning out any more and so the scoreboard was no longer needed.

Changing Times

     When Asteroids was introduced in 1979 the player had the opportunity to show off to his friends his high score abilities by putting his initials on the final screen if he had won. This was a time for celebration and for social bonding. The Arcades were packed and everyone was happy to meet there new found video game friends to compete with and share ideas about everything from video games to World War III.

     Then came the Home Entertainment System. It gradually took over the public's interest and people went back into their homes never to come out to the arcade again. They went from being very extraverted and social in the arcades to being introverted and unwilling to leave the house until they had mastered the game they had brought home. The kids got fatter and more anti-social and now we live in an obese age in which the kids don't go to a local arcade to exchange their ideas any more. Life has changed as we know it and I do not believe that we will ever go back to those golden years of video game arcade hang-outs.

   H i g h   S c o r e s   L u c k   O r   S k i l l

Can A High Score Be Faked or Stumbled on to?

     A high score cannot be gotten without intimate knowledge about the game.

Every situation leads to a problem which must be solved and can only be solved at a masters level of understanding. This is how the cheats and lyres are weeded out. They cannot answer the questions of the other master players because they don't have the knowledge to recite the pattern in order to complete an advanced stage of play. A great player never forgets what he has learned because he has practiced it literally thousands of times.

G u i n n e s s    B o o k

In 1987 Guinness Book Stops Publishing Video Game High Scores

     Because so many people were playing games and were interested in beating these games, the [Guinness Book of World Records] published these high scores. Unfortunately, the craze of video games wore out and the Guinness Book of World Records DISCONTINUED publishing High Scores after 1987.

     My 1985 Spy Hunter high score is the last ever published in the Guinness Book of World Records. This history basically revisits the past craze and special time when people would get together in Video Game Arcades and share ideas about how to beat the latest video game.

C u r r e n t    N e w s

Current News - Year 2004

     Now in 2004, Twin Galaxies Score Board is publishing a second edition of the "Twin Galaxies Official Video Game & Pinball Book Of World Records." They are considering taking my 1985 Spy Hunter High Score out of print simply because nobody has reproduced my score and that my score simply seems impossible because it is ten times higher than any other high score even after 19 years of attempts by the best players in the world.

     There have been bogus scores that have been published in the Guinness Book of World Records but when investigated, these scores were thrown out because there were no credible witnesses who could come forward. My Guinness World Record was made at the 1985 3rd Annual Masters Tournament in front of Phil Britt, previous Spy Hunter World Record Holder 1984, and of course he would have stopped my game if he thought it was bogus because it was his score that I was beating. He wouldn't want his score to be taken down unless he found that someone was able to get a higher score.

A Master Video Game Player only has one thing in mind... Perfection in all things. I hope you enjoy this site. Paul Dean

[Guinness Book History] [My Biography] [Questions/Answers] [Masters Tournament Article]

[Golden Years Index]

[Coin-Op World Records]

Click At Desired Graphic Text For Each Introduction

Biography Commentary Questions

Click On Below Graphic Text For Spy Hunter Introduction

Tournament and Guinness Book Results From 1983-2004

Click On Below Graphic Text For All Video High Scores thru 2004

The Golden Era

Click On Below Graphic Text For Material On The Golden Years Of Video Games 1980's

Click the Below Graphic Text to read my Conversations With Walter Day

June 9, 2004 Walter Day states, "No Replay Necessary" for Paul Dean

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