The 26,000-person city of Ottumwa, Iowa claims to be the “Video Game Capital of the World” and is making a big push to become the location of the video game hall of fame.
The proposed venue will showcase 35 years of video game history, host world-record contests and, city leaders hope, put Ottumwa on the map.
The southeast Iowa city of 26,000 is best known as actor Tom Arnold’s hometown.
“We have produced some great folks like Tom Arnold, but the more we can do to brand our community and bring in visitors who will spend money here, the greater of a place it will be,” said Terry McNitt, who heads the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce.
If you’ve seen the King of Kong documentary, you may remember Ottumwa as the site of the Twin Galaxies arcade where in 1982, Billy Mitchell set a world-record high score on Donkey Kong during the Video Game World Championship. The event received national TV coverage and put Ottumwa on the map as it pertains to video gaming.
Walter Day owned the Twin Galaxies arcade and became the official scorekeeper for video game world records. Needless to say, he’s very much in favor of the proposed hall of fame.
Ottumwa’s video game hall of fame will be like a walk through time, Day said. Visitors will get to pop quarters into old-school Pac-Man arcade machines or try out more sophisticated games, such as Deadspace, on XBox.
“You would be able to go for world records,” said Day, who owns Twin Galaxies, the official scorekeeper of video games. “This will become a very, very big vacation destination.”
Ottumwa declares itself ‘Video Game Capital of the World’ [Des Moines Register via Kotaku]