Ottumwa Crowned as Video Game Capital of the World

By: Josh Jensen

A lot of us like to play video games from Call of Duty to Super Mario. We are always playing to achieve a higher level and a better performance. We often take for granted, that gaming once required you to drive to a local arcade with a stack of quarters in hand.  No one would have ever guessed that a small video arcade known as Twin Galaxies, located in Ottumwa, Iowa, was once declared the videogame capital of the world.

How did Ottumwa become the capital of video games? The arcade owner, Walter Day, in the early 1980’s, began keeping track of official high scores. He urged gamers to phone in their scores and the news spread.  As the popularity of video games was increasing, Twin Galaxies held the First North American Video Olympics in 1982. The best of the best gathered and battled it out to be declared world champion. The picture above is from that event. ABC filmed the olympics and then broadcasted the event later in 1983.  The arcade has since closed but the records live on. They now have moved to the Internet where world wide records are still being kept. Many people agree that Ottumwa has a spot in the golden age of gaming. With the recent release of  Wreck-It Ralph, the new hit Disney movie about a video game villain, more attention has been given to the Twin Galaxies official electronic game scoreboard and how it first started.When you go home and play your video games, remember this story and how gaming became so popular.