The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 30, 2009

Could Ottumwa be home to video game hall of fame?

Plans gaining momentum to advance to next level

OTTUMWA — When the Courier interviewed Walter Day in January about the burst of video game-themed movies, he mentioned his hopes for a video game hall of fame in Ottumwa.

Plans were far from solid at the time. It was always something he wanted to see. But getting from dream to reality was a big step, and one Day wasn’t sure would happen anytime soon.

Things have changed.

Nearly three dozen people came to the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce office Wednesday to start plans for a video gaming hall of fame. Ottumwa is the official video game capital of the world, a title it has held since the early 1980s and never formally relinquished, and top players say it’s time to give gaming a permanent home.

Billy Mitchell, crowned the video game player of the century and the first person ever to play a perfect game of Pac Man, came to Ottumwa from Florida. Steve Sanders, another top player, brought his camcorder to videotape the meeting.

And at the center of it all was Day, clad in his familiar zebra-striped referee’s shirt.

The plans are amorphous but have much more momentum than they did even three months ago. A Facebook page dedicated to bringing a hall of fame to Ottumwa has more than 500 supporters. It has begun to organize around key supporters who are genuinely committed to making it happen.

Day sees the old Godfather’s Pizza or the old movie theater, both located less than a block from the old Twin Galaxies arcade on East Main Street, as possible locations. He wants it to include displays honoring the top players of all time and the top games as well.

The heart and soul of Day’s vision are the games themselves. Games at the hall of fame will be where players must come to set new world records.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

  • Lottery sales top $3 million mark

    OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 million mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    July 29, 2014

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • IHCC buildings.jpg Grant helps Hills keep students on track

    OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

Photo reprints