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8/4/2004 Chip Sbrogna Cliff Hanger Champion congratulated by Walter Day, Referee The following story is Paraphrased: Twin Galaxies: Walter Day Story at: Twin Galaxies in the beginning... Walter Day started out with one arcade. Link The Arkansas Gazette, (February 20, 1983) Twin Galaxies' ascent into fame was steep. It was not yet one year old when LIFE magazine arrived to immortalize Ottumwa, IA, (its hometown) as the "video game capital of the world." This was just the beginning. Walter Day, born on May 14, 1949 in Fairfield, Iowa has come back to his roots back in Fairfield, Iowa, after a high school career in Southern California and a Oil Broker career in Texas, as well as a standup comedian stint and collector of thousands of year books, he decided to go into the lucrative arcade business. His goal has always been to record something of significance. It has been his lifetime achievement to find, record and mingle among the greats in the video game industry, of those who achieved the illusive business of the illusive high score number one spot on the leader board in chasing ghosts, centipede's and Asteroids. Finding the players and traveling the world to visit a glimpse of these high scores has been his dedicated life. Each score monitored, each score inputted onto Walter Day's laptop of high scores, to be updated onto the Twin Galaxies Scoreboard. Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard His attire is black and white, that of a referee, and his tone is mild and philosophical about his life's journey and how the quest has been sought and filled and now the last chapter is coming to ink. Truly a man with a love of life and of the games and people who he has amassed to help him with his quest, he is the only one who could be available to record high scores since 1981 with the concentration of a monk and the desire and attitude of a young man. This is his legacy, the Twin Galaxies High Score Board, and as the official Guinness Book conduit to legimate high scores which all started with one small arcade in Iowa. However, for the first three months of its existence, Twin Galaxies was just another arcade, enjoying quiet anonymity in a small sleepy Mid-western town. Twin Galaxies, however, was destined to become a major figure in the video game story with its high scoreboard, but it all started in Houston, TX. Walter Day makes good as an Oil Broker, Walter began as an oil broker in Texas in 1980 but it was to boring for him. He constantly felt an urgent need to find something more exciting. The oil industry was not the get rich oil trade that one would have hoped it to be. In Walter Day's office of Rofheart Oil was Jon Bloch, an old-time friend who had been his partner in a comedy routine which had been performed at a major hotel in the Catskills during the mid-'70s. Jon was one of America's greatest comedians, and kept Walter Day in good humor all the time, though boredom was setting in again. Eventually, Jon would become the partner of Twin Galaxies Arcade. Walter goes on the road for some excitement: Walter convinced a fellow oil man, Rodger D. Beaton, to join in a get-rich-quick idea in publishing a Who's Who directory on the petroleum oil industry. With this idea as a good concept, Rodger D. Beaton put up the money and the idea started to get off the ground, except for the secret passion of Rodger D. Beaton and his video games ambitions. Walter had heard of video games before, but had never spent money on those new fanagled things. Pong was the big game of the day when it was released in 1972 and finding it was very difficult. Rodger D. Beaton, however, had an ambition to be the best ever at Space Invaders. Iowa scores were pouring in. Tom Rhoades of Chariton, IA, gained notoriety at the Rabbit Hutch in Des Moines, IA, when he proved evidence that he was the first person in the nation to turn the score counter over at one million points on Defender in 1981. By May 1982, Walter Day had become more confident about our status as the "official" scorekeeper. It was in May that boilerplate slogans began to creep into his interviews. Walter started cautiously with statements like: "We are the official scorekeeper for the world of video game and pinball playing." The media loved it. They realized they were plugged into an important source of information and were very appreciative. Then I reeled out his all-time favorite punchline: "Twin Galaxies is the world's most famous arcade, right here in Iowa." Then came the Second Annual Video Game Festival at the Mall of America Link Top Video Game World Champions with Walter Day Dwayne Richard, Billy Mitchell, Todd Rogers, Walter Day "If you ever need to interview any of the world champions, you'll have to call a man named Walter Day in Ottumwa, IA, who is the official scorekeeper for video games. You'll have to call him because he's the only person in the world who can lead you to the champions." Walter Day - Referee ANOTHER of Walter Day's projects is collecting the high school yearbooks of famous people. In an effort not to miss anyone who becomes famous in the future, he’s trying to collect every high school yearbook published in the United States. Link Walter Day is the world’s only electronic games referee. [Link] He runs the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard—the “official scoreboard for the world of video game and pinball playing.” As the founder of organized video game playing, Day has judged contests and high scores submitted by arcades as far away as South Africa, Australia, Ireland and Japan. He has written the official rule book for video game and pinball playing sponsors two major contests every year to allow new players to enter the Official Video Game and Pinball Book of World Records. Is the authority that establishes the rules and standardized tournament settings on each game! Settles all arguments by telling you what the current high score is on almost any game and who you have to beat to become the new world champion! Organizes video game and pinball playing into a sport, with a tradition of contests, statistics, world records and star players! Coordinates an international schedule of tournaments that players can compete in to gain entrance into this record book! Brings credit to thousands of youth around the world who know they are the best! Walter Day - 1982 Scoreboard The actual scoreboard was at Walter Day's Twin Arcade in Kirksville, MO - and known as the Center of the Video Universe. Walt Day, established himself and the Twin Galaxies Entertainment Centers in Kirksville and Ottumwa, Iowa, as the official national scoreboard for video games as the first person to record video game high scores nation wide. His research and verification of high video game scores was the beginning to the widely recognized national scoreboard. Defender started it all, by Walt finding out if his player was indeed the best in the world, he found that there was no scoreboard to go to so this began the keeping of records for the industry. The video game hall of fame was also to be located at the Kirksville location, however, in the end it came to be that the Ottumwa, Iowa arcade became the name that everyone knew as the arcade that represented on Life Magazine. Walter Day - Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard - The Beginning Walter Day - World Famous Ice Cream Big Johnnie and Uncle Walter's All-American Brand Ice Cream The Ice Cream that Made the World Famous February 1982 - Blip Magazine interviews Walt "Walter" Day Baseball has its batting average, its RBI's and its earned-run averages. Football has statistics for running, passing, kicking and just about anything else that happens on the field. Even TV is ruled by ratings numbers. Statistics are as American as apple pie and pizza. And now statistics have burst upon the video game scene. There's a man in Ottuma, Iowa, who keeps tabs - almost minute by minute - on high scorers at arcade games all over the country. His name is Walt Day, and he's the director of the Twin Galaxies Official International Scoreboard. Walt makes his living by selling ice cream and making change at the Twin Galaxies Entertainment Center while he's doing this, he handles phone calls from all over the U.S. The Ask Walt the highest score ever recorded for QIX, and he'll rattle off the number 359,556. That was chalked up by Ben Goldenberg. He did it at the Silver Bowl Arcade in Berkeley, California, on May 5, 1982. Other record scores that Walt has verified include: February 1982 Game Score Alpine Ski 174,000 Bosconian 185,000 Centipede 4,421,232 Donkey Kong 398,000 Kickman 4,642,920 Missile Command 60,220,510 Mousetrap 30,314,000 Ms. Pac-Man 130,300 Omega Race 600,700 Pac-Man 5,579,350 Space Invaders 150,880 Stargate 15,926,075 Tempest 828,453 "Defender score: 15,936,100 points" If you want to report a record, or just to find out the latest high score for a particular game, call Walt Day at (515) 684-6421. If it's a normal day, expect a busy signal. The day I telephoned him I was one of forty or fifty callers. So keep trying. "Qix score: 359,556 points" Day's statistics are reported in newspapers and on television and radio. They also appear in several video game magazines. "But by the time the magazines are published," he says, "the scores are out of date. "For example, the September issue of JoyStik reported the high score for Defender to be 33,013,200. Well, by the time the magazine hit the newsstands, that record had been broken four or five times. It's over 50,000,000 now." Remember Steve Juraszek? He was the young man hailed by Time magazine for setting the all-time Defender record - 15,936,100 points. According to Walt, that isn't much of an achievement any more. "Juraszek," he says, "is now somewhere between fiftieth and Sixtieth on the all-time Defender list." Walt recently supervised the construction of a huge electronic scoreboard that keeps an up-to-the-minute account of all scoring records. There wasn't much room for the board at Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottuma. So it was set up at another Twin Galaxies, in Kirksville, Missouri. But Walt considers the Ottumwa arcade to be the international high-score headquarters. "It's hard to believe," he says, "that Ottuma, Iowa, could become the video game capital of the world. But that's exactly what has happened. How did Ottuma become the video game capital? How did Walt get to be a dean of high scores? It began a couple of years ago. "One day," Walt explains, "I was working behind the counter at Twin Galaxies. Someone playing Defender ran up a high score of about 24,000,000 points. We thought it might be an all-time record, so we started calling up other arcades to ask. But no one seemed to know if it was the high mark. "So we decided to call it the official record until we heard otherwise. We did the same thing for other games. The next thing we knew, people were calling to report other records, or to find out the record score for a particular game. We were on our way to becoming a national institution." Shortly after that, something else started happening. People started coming from every part of the country just to play the games at Twin Galaxies. "We're like the Yankee Stadium of video game arcades," Walt says. "People want to be able to say that they've visited here." Where are the best video arcade players in America? According to Walt's figures, they're in North Carolina or in California. "Those two states have the most record holders," he Says. How about the greatest single scoring achievement? As far as Walt is concerned, that distinction belongs to a handful of determined Robotron players. Robotron is a sci-fi nightmare where the screen blazes with action. Sinistar robots have wiped out all of humanity except for you, your parents, and your kid brother. You must destroy the robots before they get your family. It takes hours of practice to Train your mind to deal with the weird creatures you must face in the game. "Recently," Walt says, "I've had reports from three or four different players who have scores over a million points in Robotron. That means they had to play the game for 27 or 28 hours! Can you imagine playing a game like Robotron for that long? You'd be like a wet dishrag!" For his own enjoyment Walt prefers much gentler games. Make Trax is one of his favorites. In that game, you're a paint brush painting a maze while two fish are chasing you. Walt himself holds the Make Trax scoring record - a whopping 1,508,310. "I admire kids who do well playing a particular game," Walt says. "Mastering a game takes a lot more than just good eye-hand coordination. Understanding is just as important. It takes a good, alert mind to beat a video game. "And practice," Walt adds. "Lots and lots of practice." -----------------
Promoter wants Ottumwa to go for the video game gold Picture: Walter Day, Donn Nauert, Steve Harris and Eric Gater Walter Day Twin Galaxies Article Large Link The Ottumwa Courier, Thursday, December 5, 1985 Promoter wants Ottumwa to go for the video game gold by Judy Krieger, Courier staff writer Walter Day's back to reclaim Ottumwa's fame as "Video Game Capital of he World." The Twin Galaxies video-game arcade at 226 E. Main has reopened, and Day, its former owner, is planning he fourth annual video Game World Championship in Ottumwa for early January. Although Twin Galaxies closed in March 1984, Day says that world title, "the concept of which resided in Ottumwa, continued in seed form while we were gone." Day says he plans to invest "more time, energy and money in realizing the dream" of a national video game team. And part of that dream, Day says, is keeping the video game capital in Ottumwa. "It should be in an all-American city," be says. "Not Los Angeles or New York City. We believe that this time, with a greater financial base, the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard can survive in spite of the fact that Ottumwa is experiencing ups and downs." The international scoreboard, an idea started by Day, lists the record video game scores from throughout the United States and Canada. In its heyday, Day's Twin Galaxies and the international scoreboard attracted national attention. Crews from ABC television's "That's Incredible" filmed the North American Video Game Olympics and parade here in January 1983. And the arcade was featured in Life magazine and such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. In 1984, at the same time video arcades were losing popularity nation-wide, Day closed the Ottumwa arcade after experiencing financial losses. But he said then that he had hopes of reopening in the future. That time has come. Twin Galaxies has been open for two weeks, following seven months of planning. It is now owned by Bill Mitchell of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Donn Nauert, 20, of Austin, Texas, is managing the arcade, assisted by Steve Harris, 19, of Kansas City, Mo. Both are on the official advisory board for the January contest and members of the U.S. National Video Game Team. Brent Walker, 19, of Austin is the arcade's operations manager, and Eric "Wide Tom" Gater, 19, an Oskaloosa High School graduate who is now a student at Indian Hills Community College is director of entertainment. All the arcade's employees now live in Ottumwa. Twin Galaxies has 32 video and five pinball games. More games will be added along with food snacks and drinks. Arcade hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; and 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday. Day, 36, is living in Fairfield, where he does research and writing for an Iowa City company. He also is an assistant editor for the Guinness Book of World Records and Guinness Book of Sports Records. "These guys have put a lot of ideas into this, too," he says, referring to the arcade's new managers. Since he closed Twin Galaxies, Day says he lived in North Carolina and Florida promoting video game contests. International scoreboard figures in the interim, he adds, were kept by Harris in Kansas City. "The video game industry and public continued to recognize Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard," Day says. "Everybody," he adds "is pleased to be back. The national body of video game players is pleased, too. This is their world anchor." Day also kept up his contests during his absence. Following the first competition covered by television in Ottumwa in 1983, the next year's contest took place simultaneously in eight major U.S. Last year's contest was in Los Angeles and was featured on "Entertainment Tonight" television show. Day's 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament last June was held in nearly 30 cities and raised money for CARE, the African Relief Fund, with half of the players' $5 entry fee going to that source. His first annual Video Game Challenge last May was a benefit for the American Red Cross. "We'd like to make Ottumwa the base for a lot of national benefits for charities," Day says, "Video games are excellent fund-raising tools." Day says he's only in charge of promotions now and "making Twin Galaxies famous" once again. And, once again, he's full of ideas. The 1986 North American Video Game Challenge is scheduled Jan. 4-6 at the Twin Galaxies. He's invited hundreds of players form several countries to "face off" on 12 different games. The winner will be submitted to the 1987 editions of the Guinness records book. "It's a wide-open contest," open to the public, he says, adding the contest is recognized by Guinness as the only competition which crowns an international "player-of-the-year." Also going on at the same time will be a four-player foosball contest. The record to beat is 54 3/4 hours of play set in Victoria. British Columbia last June. Twin Galaxies also is in charge of finding he best football forward and the best goalie of the year for the Guinness books. Next spring, Day says he'll invite about 50 players to compete on the video game of their choice. Each player must keep the game going by just using one quarter, And if a player lasts 100 hours, he says, the player will win $10,000 from a California insurance company. The winner of the Twin Galaxies Iron Man Contest in Victoria, British Columbia last July racked up 67 ˝ hours, he adds. Day says the official Video Game Hall of Fame will be at Twin Galaxies and recognized by Guinness and the video game industry. "I'm not here to make money," he says, adding that if that were so, the arcade would be in a big city. All Day wants to do, he says, is "have some fun and do something good for the town." ---------------- 1986 Guinness Book of World Records Contest Large Link Computer Entertainment - June 1985 High Scores For Hunger Few have done more for the arcade game industry than Walter Day, the diminutive and determined top dog at the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard. Despite declining arcade revenues, Day's organization is sponsoring yet another high-score shootout (the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament) from June 28-30, But Day has more than world records on his mind this time around: world hunger will be addressed when players take their turns on several games (Cinematronics' Cerberus, SNK's Hal 21 and Exidy's Cheyenne). Funds raised during these competitions will go directly to CARE's Campaign for Africa. While scoring points for Ethiopia and other starving African nations should prove to be sufficient motivation on this weekend, players will have the added incentive of winning free arcade games and the distinction of being listed in the 1986 Guinness Book of World Records. Eighty-five different records will be up for grabs at contest sites all over the country. For more information on the tournament, call: (816) 436-5785. Twin Galaxies also recently announced its "Achievement Award" winners for 1984. They are: Nintendo's Punch-Out (best video game), Cinematronics' Space Ace (best laserdisc game), Atari's I. Robot (most innovative game and best visually enhanced game), Bally's Spy Hunter (best audio enhanced game), Atari was named the "manufacturer of the year." The 1986 Guinness Book of World Records has requested the results of this tournament for publication. 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament June 28-30, 1985 Contest includes Competition on 85 different arcade games CARE Twin Galaxies Campaign For Africa These three manufacturers have selected the following games (or game systsms) in the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament to raise money for Ethopia and the drought stricken nations of Africa through CARE, the international relief and development agency Cinematronics, Inc. Cerberus Data East USA, Inc. Kung-Fu Master Exidy, Inc. Cheyenne Each of the highest scoring contestants during the contest on any of the three games or systems above will win a free copy of that game. This offer void where prohibited by law. Contact your local contest site to make a donation For information on the contest contact: Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard "The Official Scoreboard for the World of Video Game and Pinball Playing" 1701 NE 65th St. Kansas City, Missouri 64118 (816) 436-5785 Directory: Alaska Space Station 2636 Spenard Road Anchorage, Alaska 99503 907-277-4037 Canada Johnny Zee's Family Fun Center c/o 724 Porter Road Victoria, B.C. Canada, V9A 5W6 604-721-2243 Colorado Celebrity Sports Center 888 South Colorado Blvd. Denver, Colorado 80222 303-757-3321 Illinois Video Wizard 204 Roosevelt Road Villa Park, Illinois 60181 312-833-8280 Kansas The Grand Prix 2919 West 13th Wichita, KS 67203 316-943-2871 Oklahoma Games people Play 7802 East 49th Street Tulsa, Oklahoma 74145 918-664-88244 Washington Arnold's on the Avenue 3947 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105 206-633-2181 Plus 18 other sites --------------------------- 1985 TG Video Game 3rd Annual Masters Tournament 1985 TG Video Game 3rd Annual Masters Tournament - Large Link The 1986 Guinness Book of World Records Has requested the results of this tournament for publication 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release Contact: Care (Nate Adams 212 686-3110) Twin Galaxies (Walter Day (515)472-4624) Selection of the following family amusement center as an official contest site for the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament and CARE Fund Raiser: Fun Factory c/o Francis Scott Key Mall 5500 Buckeystown Pike Frederick, MD 21701 ATTN: Joe Wolf Care, the international relief and development agency and the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard are pleased to announce the selection of the above mentioned family arcade as the official contest site for the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament and Care Fund Raiser. One of only 25 hand-picked sites in North America, this arcade will be the only contest site in the area at which contestants can compete for listings in the Guinness Book of World Records. To raise money for Care's Campaign for Africa, players will be donating $2.50 each to CARE and special pre-selected contest games will be used to raise pledges from the loca l area. Three video games: Cheyenne Gun (Exidy, Inc.), Kung-Fu Master (Data East USA, Inc), and Cerberus (Cinematronics, Inc.) have been offered by the respective video game manufacturers as the primary fund raising games and the prizes for the highest scores in the nation during the event. Appearing in Guinness for the 3rd consecutive year, the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament features high-score competition on the 90 most popular videos of all time. Each year, individual arcades are selected as the "regional head quarters" for the competition and all players must travel to these selected arcades to compete in front of qualified judges. Special game playing rules and game settings have been devised for the competition by the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard and are the only "tournament settings" recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. Scheduled for the weekend of June 28-30, 1985, this tournament expects to bring donations for CARE from the entire video game and coin-operated amusement industry, Potential donors are welcome to contact Nate Adams, at CARE, for more information. Computer Entertainment The official magazine of the 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament Twin Galaxies - Video Game Capital of the World
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