Iowa Town Wants Video Game Hall of Fame

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted May 18, 2009 5:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Video game lovers in Ottumwa, Iowa, are ready to see the world's gaming hall of fame on their front doorstep, MSNBC reports. Forget Silicon Valley, home to Atari. And Kyoto, Japan, where Ninentdo was born. No, the town that hosted the first world championship 26 years ago “was the beginning,” Donkey Kong champion Billy Mitchell said. “It was the birth of organized video game play.”

Ottumwa is already home to Twin Galaxies, the video game score-keeping organization. And the town dubbed itself the “Video Game Capital of the World" a generation ago. Now residents appear to support a move to make the moniker official, and the Ottumwa Daily Courier's editorial board has backed building a hall of fame—as long as private investment dollars can be secured.

A motorist passes the former location of the Twin Galaxies video arcade in downtown Ottumwa, Iowa.
A motorist passes the former location of the Twin Galaxies video arcade in downtown Ottumwa, Iowa.   (AP Photo)
A resident of Ottumwa, Iowa, plays a pinball game at a local video arcade.
A resident of Ottumwa, Iowa, plays a pinball game at a local video arcade.   (AP Photo)
Steve Wiebe plays Donkey Kong after the screening of Picturehouse's 'The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.'
Steve Wiebe plays Donkey Kong after the screening of Picturehouse's 'The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.'   (Getty Images)
Walter Day, in stripes, is one of the backers of Ottumwa's hall of fame bid.
Walter Day, in stripes, is one of the backers of Ottumwa's hall of fame bid.   (Getty Images)
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Anytime we bring anything like this into town, anything new that's going to make us proud … we’re going to have a lot of envy, we're going to have a lot of people looking at us and saying 'Wow, you guys did it.' - Terry McNitt, Ottumwa official

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