The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 16, 2014

Video game record still resonates

OTTUMWA — Thirty years later, that one quarter is still shaking things up for Tim McVey.

The former Ottumwa teen has received a ton of attention over the video game record he set here in the '80s. Now he's being recognized again.

This week is the 30th anniversary of McVey's 1984 record-breaking game in Ottumwa, where he walked into an arcade, put a single quarter in the machine and walked out with the first billion-point arcade game in history.

"Playing at Walter Day's original Twin Galaxies arcade ... the feat would make national news and resulted in the city of Ottumwa to hold a civic day in his honor."

That's how the event was written up in a recent article by video game media personality Patrick Scott Patterson, based near Dallas, Texas. Patterson has had his own video game record fame and has been to Ottumwa; he's worked with well-known video game innovator Walter Day.

Soon, it will be the 30th anniversary of former Mayor Jerry Parker's proclamation.

"That was actually on the Jan. 28," McVey's wife, Tina, told the Courier Thursday.

"I had no clue this was happening," McVey told Patterson in their interview. "Walter Day somehow convinced the city leaders to proclaim Jan. 28 as 'Tim McVey Day.' He called my mom and only said that he'd like us to both come to the arcade on Saturday morning. When we went downtown and turned onto Main Street and saw the Tim McVey Day banner hanging from the top of the building on the left side of the street, all the way across the street to the building on the other side, I thought my mom was going to wreck the car."

Tina said Patterson has interviewed Tim in the past. So with all the video game news out there, what fascinates Patterson about the Ottumwa story of Tim McVey Day?

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