April 5, 2004

New articles to mull over at the water cooler

by Andrew Stern · , 12:01 am

GameCritics.com’s “Caught in the Web” column reviews Gonzalo Frasca’s Kabul Kaboom!, Sept 12 and Gonzalo and Ian Bogost’s Howard Dean for Iowa Game. And Ian is this month’s Ivory Tower columnist with an essay titled “The Muse of the Video Game,” about academia-industry collaboration and why game developers should be as familiar with the humanities as they are with pixel shaders.

2 Responses to “New articles to mull over at the water cooler”

  1. Ian Bogost Says:

    Thanks, Andrew. FYI for the GTxA readers who may not be WCG regulars (how could it be!?), about month ago I posted a few brief comments on the GameCritics.com review and a few other reviews of the Howard Dean for Iowa Game.

    We touched on these same points in our Serious Games Summit case study, and we’ll be writing on it formally later this spring/summer.

  2. Walter Day Says:

    Grand theft Auto will be a feature game at this facility

    News Release

    Boise to be Video Game Capital of the World

    May 4, 2004 – Today, Twin Galaxies’ plans to make a video game contest stadium in Boise were revealed on the front page of the Idaho Statesman, Idaho’s premier newspaper.

    A link leading to the Idaho Statesman new story can be found here:


    In addition to the facts published in the Statesman news article, Walter Day, Twin Galaxies founder, adds these points to the news story:

    Day says: “Not only is the Boise facility intended to be the olympic center of video game competition – like Athens, Greece was to athletic excellence thousands of years ago, but it will also maintain a complete historical museum of video game history, similar to the role played by Cooperstown for the baseball industry.

    The Video Game & Pinball Museum will stock between 20,000 and 40,000 different titles for visitors to play, featuring ongoing promotions on classic games as well as on today’s hottest PC and console games like Battlefield 1942, Halo, Counterstrike and Unreal Tournament. It will be a hands-on facility and visitors will be invited to attempt to break current world records on any game and win a listing in the next edition of Twin Galaxies’ Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records, the industry’s official record book.

    “An historical resource of this magnitude has never been attempted before,” explains Day. “Usually, when a game has run its marketing cycle, both the manufacturer and public abandon the game and it becomes just a forgotten memory.”

    “However, Twin Galaxies will be the only place in the world that keeps the memory of all these forgotten games alive, offering contests and promotions on not just today’s X-Box live and PS2, but also on the original arcade Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, Atari 2600, Sega Saturn and N-64.”

    For more information, contact:

    Walter Day




    Here is the story appearing in today’s Idaho Statesman.

    Idaho Statesman, May 4, 2004

    Boise? World’s video game capital?

    Iowa firm may build gaming stadium, museum

    Eric Nelson

    Special to

    The Idaho Statesman | Edition Date: 05-04-2004

    Athens is known for the Olympic Games and Cooperstown is known for the Baseball Hall of Fame. But Boise?

    Move over potatoes, Boise may soon be known as the video game capital of the world.

    Twin Galaxies, a company that has held championship video game tournaments, kept player rankings and tracked video game world records since the days of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, wants to establish its headquarters in Boise, said Walter Day, founder and chief scorekeeper of Iowa-based Twin Galaxies.

    The company’s time frame “is ASAP,” Day said. It’s working on financing with shareholders, and if everything goes according to plan Twin Galaxies could be building a 12,000-square-foot “stadium” in early September to house a historical gaming museum, weekly competitions and the annual video game world championships. The company said it could hire as many as 50 people if it moves from Iowa to Boise.

    “We’ll build a stadium, we’ll post statistics and results from video game players throughout the whole world,” said Day. “Almost every weekend we’ll have something big and every few weekends we’ll bring a competition of national caliber to Boise. This will bring thousands of people to Idaho.”

    Day’s optimism, however, should not be mistaken for a sure thing, city representatives said. Twin Galaxies has not contacted the city’s economic development council or the Chamber of Commerce, said Shirl Boyce, vice president of economic development for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

    Local gaming facilities, such as Game World arcade, family entertainment center Pojo’s, and Pie nightclub have struggled to draw large crowds to video game competitions.

    “To pull off what they’re trying to do would be very difficult,” Game World manager Vince Dick said. “Competitions don’t usually draw as many people as they once did, especially with the way home game systems have taken off.”

    But, Julia Roether, a spokeswoman for the video game company Nintendo, said Twin Galaxies is well-known in the video game industry and has the ability to draw competitors and spectators to Boise.

    Twin Galaxies has held more than 90 competitions over the past five years at a variety of locations – Las Vegas, New Hampshire and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., to name a few – drawing from 100 to 100,000 spectators, according to media reports.

    “Right now there’s no unification in the gaming industry,” said Bill Cserjes, Twin Galaxies’ chief operations officer. “But our plan is to put the headquarters of a $24 billion industry in Boise and unite the industry.”

    Cserjes moved to Boise several years ago. He said he’s now researching possible locations for Twin Galaxies headquarters, although the company hasn’t made any formal land inquires. Among the sites Twin Galaxies is considering: The old Costco building at 8109 W. Franklin Road and land on the western outskirts of the city, Cserjes said.

    “If they do start holding worldwide competitions in Boise, I can’t think of any negatives to the industry,” said Gary Wood, co-owner of Pojo’s in Boise. “If anything, I think (Twin Galaxies) could really help the video game world gain awareness, get people talking about video games again.”

    Courtesy photo

    Billy Mitchell, a world-famous video game player, is pictured in 1999 in Tokyo with Masaya Nakamura, the father of Pac-Man. Mitchell is known for scoring Pac-Man’s first perfect game. Mitchell is the type of person that competitions and other video game events would attract, say officials.

    About Twin Galaxies

    In 1981, Twin Galaxies founder Walter Day visited more than 100 arcades across the county and recorded the high scores he found on each game. Within a year, he opened his own arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa, and continued to keep a growing database of high score statistics, which he made available to the public.

    According to the company’s Web site, Day gained recognition from high-profile game manufacturers such as Atari, Nintendo and Universal.

    Twin Galaxies continued to rank top players and Day was picked to edit scores for the 1984-1986 editions of the U.S. Guinness Book of World Records. Twin Galaxies also produced the first official rule book for playing electronic games and established the rules and settings for each game, according its Web site.

    Twin Galaxies is currently run by a handful of its shareholders. The company expects to start up in Boise and hire about 50 people locally. Promotions, sponsorships, membership, competition entry fees, investors and book sales will help finance the Boise project, Day said.

    The company tracks the scores for about 10,000 games such as Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Crazy Taxi, Star Wars, Tony Hawk, Men in Black, Super Mario Bros and Grand Theft Auto.

    Day’s book, the Official Video Game and Pinball Book of World Records, is 984 pages with 12,416 scores from players in 31 countries. Day plans to release an updated version in the fall.

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