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The INTERNATIONAL VIDEO GAME HALL OF FAME is Proud to announce its INDUCTEES into the Class of 2022!  Please share the fantastic news as we continue to honor some absolutely amazing individuals and outstanding innovation in gaming.  Congratulations to all the inductees for this year’s well-deserving Class!

Click here for Child’s Play induction speech

Click here for Sid Meier’s acceptance speech

Click here for Tom Kalinske’s acceptance speech

Click here for Anderson Lawson accepting for Jerry Lawson


The International Video Game Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Induction Ceremony will be held at Free Play Florida!

Inductees and Date and Time of ceremony will be announced soon.

November 18 – 20, 2022

Caribe Royale Orlando

8101 World Center Drive

Orlando, Florida 32821

The INTERNATIONAL VIDEO GAME HALL OF FAME is Proud to announce its INDUCTEES into the Class of 2021!  Please share the fantastic news as we continue to honor some absolutely amazing individuals and outstanding innovation in gaming.  Congratulations to all the inductees for this year’s well-deserving Class!

Click here for the acceptance speech from John Newcomer on behalf of Joust

Click here for Gary’s acceptance speech

Week 4 – Wii Sports™ offers five distinct sports experiences, each using the Wii Remote™ controller to provide a natural and realistic feel. To play the Wii Sports game, all you need to do is pick up a controller and get ready for the pitch, serve or that right hook. If you’ve played any of these sports before, you’re ready for fun!

Click here to see the acceptance speech on behalf of Nintendo

Click here for Robin’s acceptance speech

Click here for Tommy’s acceptance speech


  • The 2020 class of inductees were chosen by a selected group of individuals on a nomination committee which include accomplished gamers, journalists and past Hall of Fame inductees who have extensive knowledge of the achievements in gaming.
  • There were three phases in the decision process: Open nominations, committee and board input for narrowing down of the ballot and then a final decision from the voting committee that decided which gamers, games, developers and industry leader would be inducted. The Community Action Award and Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award were determined by open nominations and a final vote by the voting committee and approved by IVGHOF Board of Directors.

We are pleased to announce the following individuals and video games are being inducted for the Class of 2020:

Golden Age Gamer

Donn NauertDonn served as Team Captain for the US National Video Game team in the late 1980s.  He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for high scores on Crossbow, Cheyenne and Vertigo and is mentioned seven times between 1985 and 1987. ​Donn would move into the industry side, working for several magazines, Electronic Gaming Monthly and VideoGames & Computer Entertainment, and video game companies such as Acclaim Entertainment and THQ during the 1990s. Today, Nauert is a teacher in the Austin, Texas area where he coaches/sponsors the school’s eSports team and is working to establish eSports as an officially sanctioned school activity at the high school level.

Click here for Donn’s acceptance speech



1990’s Gamer

Tomo Ohira –  Ranked #1 Street Fighter player of the 1990’s. He is widely regarded as the natural of his sport.  From the retelling, he was unbeatable, in an era when it was just local multiplayer, no quitting, no latency.  He also has given expert instruction in Street Fighter 2, in a video revealing the secrets and strengths of ever character in the roster.






2000’s Gamer

Hajime “Tokido” TaniguchiOne of the greatest Fighting Game Champions of all time.  Tokido has had 19+ Evolution top 8 finishes in 9 different games across 15 years. Tokido is considered to be one of Japan’s five “fighting game gods”. He is known for playing multiple fighting games on a competitive level in addition to Street Fighter, including Tekken, Marvel vs Capcom 3, and BlazBlue.

Click here for “Tokido’s” acceptance speech




Golden Age Game

Pong – The first commercially successful video game, and it helped to establish the video game industry. Pong is a table tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics, manufactured by Atari and originally released in 1972. By 1973, the company had filled 2,500 orders, and, at the end of 1974, sold more than 8,000 units.


Click here for Allan Alcorn accepting on Pong’s behalf

Click here for Nolan Bushnell accepting on Pong’s behalf



1990s Era Game

Final Fantasy Franchise This video game series has sold more than 142 million games worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.





Warcraft The first three games in the Warcraft series, including their expansion packs, were all released on both the PC and Macintosh.  In the 1990’s Warcraft paved the way to what has become the most popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) of all time.

Click here for J. Allen Brack accepting the award on the games behalf.


2000s Era Game

Half Life 2 – 2004 first-person shooter game developed and published by Valve. Half-Life 2 received acclaim for its animation, sound, AI, graphics, and narrative. It won 39 Game of the Year awards, and has been cited as one of the greatest games of all time. By 2011, it had sold 12 million copies.


Click here for Gabe Newell accepting the award on the games behalf



Guitar Hero The Guitar Hero series has made a significant cultural impact, becoming a “cultural phenomenon”.  The series currently has twelve major releases on gaming consoles, three on handheld game consoles, and four on mobile phones.  The series has sold more than 25 million units worldwide, earning 2 billion dollars at retail.

2020 ACCEPTANCE By Activation “We’re really excited that the Guitar Hero franchise has been inducted into the “2000’s Era Game” category at the International VideoGame Hall of Fame. Guitar Hero put a cool new spin on the concept of letting players unleash their inner Rockstar. We’re really proud of the cultural impact that the series has had on the world. But, more importantly, the game brought people together in a way we never could have imagined. On behalf of everyone at Activision, thank you for this amazing honor.”


Game Developer

Will WrightWright’s greatest success to date comes from being the original designer for The Sims. The game spawned multiple sequels, including The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4 and expansion packs, and Wright has earned many awards for his work.  At one time, The Sims was the best selling PC game of all time. His latest work, Spore, was released in September 2008 and features gameplay based upon the model of evolution and scientific advancement. The game sold 406,000 copies within three weeks of its release.



Industry Leader

Mark Cerny –  an American video game designer, programmer, producer and entertainment executive.  Atari, Sega, Crystal Dynamics and Universal Interactive Studios before deciding to become an independent consultant under his own company Cerny Games in 1998. He since has frequently collaborated with Sony Interactive Entertainment, including being the lead designer for hardware of several PlayStation consoles, and has consulted with both Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games.  In 2004, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Game Developers Association, and was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010.



Community Action Award

Keisha Howard – Keisha started Sugar Gamers over 10 years ago. She’s created a unique community, united not only by common interests in gaming and geek culture, but by the mission of promoting diversity and inclusiveness in a space that often suffers from the lack of it. Her journey has afforded her the opportunity to work with brands like SYFY, Watchmojo, AT&T, HBO, Nintendo, HTC, Microsoft, Google and more. She regards video games as more than just entertainment, but a system of ideas and processes that can move and inspire people to action.

Click here for Keisha’s acceptance speech


Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award

Gabe Newell – an American computer programmer and businessman best known as the co-founder of the video game developer and digital distribution company Valve.  He also worked for Microsoft, where he worked as a producer for some of the early Windows operating systems. Intrigued by the prospect of having their own game development studio, Newell and Harrington left Microsoft in 1996 to found Valve, where Newell remains president.


Click here for Gabe’s acceptance speech


The induction ceremony for the class of 2020 was held October 3rd,2019 in Ottumwa, IA.

For more information:

About the International Video Game Hall of Fame

Located in Ottumwa, Iowa, the International Video Game Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring excellence in the field of electronic gaming by recognizing the champions, industries and professionals related to this popular activity. We will build and maintain a state-of-the art interactive facility containing historical archive exhibits describing the historic milestones of the video game industry, and preserve significant video gaming relics, memorabilia and artifacts of the times past and present.

  • The 2019 class of inductees were chosen by a selected group of individuals on a nomination committee which include accomplished gamers, journalists and past Hall of Fame inductees who have extensive knowledge of the achievements in gaming.
  • There were three phases in the decision process: Open nomination, public and board input for narrowing down of the ballot and a final voting pool which decided which gamers, games, developers and industry leader would be inducted. The Community Action Award and Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award were determined by open nominations and a final vote by the IVGHOF Board of Directors.

We are pleased to announce the following individuals and video games are being inducted for the Class of 2019:

Golden Age Gamer

David PalmerDavid has multiple Guinness World Records, including Empire Strikes Back, Star Rider, and Tron.


Click here for David’s acceptance speech


Jeff PetersJeff was a pioneer in competitive gaming in the 1980’s and one of the top players in the world-wide scene. Among his many achievements were running and growing the exposure of US National Video Game Team as well as competing on its behalf domestically and internationally, including organizing national competitive gaming tournaments. Jeff was also an original founder of the industry staple “Electronic Gaming Monthly” (EGM).

Click here for Jeff’s acceptance speech


1990’s Gamer

Ryan Hart  –  First sponsored fighting game player, Won first UK title at 17 years of age, Won first World Title in Japan at 19 years of age in 1998. 4 Guinness world record. Most successful champion to ever come from the European continent. Most career longevity, spanning 25 years (1994 -2019)

Click here for Ryan’s acceptance speech





2000’s Gamer

Donald HayesMultiple Classic Arcade record-holder including Centipede, Dig Dug and more. Only player to have a “quad” perfect Pac-Man score list – including perfect scores for Normal Speed and Turbo speed – both for Arcade and Emulator.

Click here for Don’s acceptance speech



Pete HahnPete currently has over 90 world records verified by Aurcade in arcade games including
Contra and Super Contra! He also helps other gamers with improving their scores. He is not
only a great competitor, but also shows true examples of cordiality and sportsmanship.

Click here for Pete’s acceptance speech

Golden Age Game

Galaga – A 1981 fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco. In North America, it was released by Midway Games. Controlling a starship, the player is tasked with destroying the Galaga forces in each stage while avoiding enemies and projectiles. Some enemies can capture a player’s ship via a tractor beam, which can be rescued to transform the player into a “dual fighter” with additional firepower. It is the sequel to Galaxian (1979), Namco’s first major hit in arcades.

Tetris Tetris was sold for a range of 1980s home computer platforms as well as arcades, it was the successful handheld version for the Game Boy, launched in 1989, that established the game as one of the most popular video games ever. Electronic Gaming Monthly’s 100th issue had Tetris in first place as “Greatest Game of All Time”. In 2007, it came in second place in IGN’s “100 Greatest Video Games of All Time” (by 2019, it had moved down to 7th).

Click here for Chris Tang introducing Maya Rogers

Click here for Maya Rogers accepting on Tetris Behalf

Computer SpaceComputer Space is a space combat arcade game developed in 1971 as one of the last games created in the early history of video games. Created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in partnership as Syzygy Engineering, it was the first arcade video game as well as the first commercially available video game.

Click here for Nolan Bushnell accepting on Computer Space’s behalf

Ms.Pac-Man  – Ms. Pac-Man was critically acclaimed by critics for its improvements to the original gameplay and female protagonist, some labeling it as superior to Pac-Man. It has been listed among the greatest video games of all time and one of the most successful American arcade games ever made. The game’s success inspired several ports for home consoles and handheld systems, as well as numerous sequel and remake games, spawning a Ms. Pac-Man spin-off series.

1990s Era Game

Street Fighter Franchise (SF2)Street Fighter is one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time and serves as the company’s flagship series. Street Fighter II was the first one-on-one fighting game to give players a choice from a variety of player characters with different moves, allowing for more varied matches.

Click here for Yoshinori Ono accepting on Street Fighter’s behalf

Super Mario 64 Super Mario 64 is a 1996 platform video game for the Nintendo 64 and the first in the Super Mario series to feature three-dimensional (3D) gameplay.  It is acclaimed as one of the greatest video games of all time, and was the first game to receive a perfect score from Edge magazine.  Numerous developers cited Super Mario 64 as an influence on their later games.

DOOM Doom is one of the most significant games in video game history, and is frequently cited as one of the greatest games of all time.  Doom helped define FPS genre and inspired numerous similar games, known as “Doomclones”. It pioneered online distribution and technologies including 3D graphics, networked multiplayer gaming,

Click here for John Romero accepting on Doom’s behalf.

2000s Era Game

Super Smash Bros. Melee – Super Smash Bros. Melee received critical acclaim, as well as several awards and acknowledgements from various publications. It achieved strong sales upon its release, becoming the GameCube’s best-selling title with over seven million copies sold by 2008.  Following the popularity of its multiplayer gameplay, Melee has been featured in many gaming tournaments, and is one of the most popular fighting games.

Fortnite –  Created by Epic games, Fortnite became a resounding success, drawing in more than 125 million players in less than a year and earning hundreds of millions of dollars per month, and since has become a cultural phenomenon.  In 2017, the game was nominated for “Best Co-op Game” by PC Gamer,  and for “Best Spectator Game” by IGN.  In 2018, the game won the award for Best Ongoing Game by PC Gamer.

Assassin’s Creed The Assassin’s Creed series has received multiple awards and nominations, including Game of the Year awards. It is also commercially successful, selling over 100 million copies as of September 2016, becoming Ubisoft’s best-selling franchise and one of the highest selling video game franchises of all time.

Game Developer

Brian ColinBrian is an American video-game designer, artist and animator. Among his best-known works are the coin-operated arcade games Rampage, Arch Rivals and Rampage: World Tour as well as General Chaos for the Sega Genesis game console. He is the CEO of Game Refuge Inc., an independent video-game design and development studio with offices in Downers Grove, Illinois. He has been noted for his work in the field of bitmapped video-game graphics and animation, creating video-game sprites and tiled background graphics with a recognizable, identifiable style.

Click here for Brian Colin’s acceptance speech

Richard Allen Garriott de CayeuxRichard is an English-American video-game developer and entrepreneur. He is also known by his alter egos “Lord British” in the game series Ultima and “General British” in Tabula Rasa. Garriott, who is the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, was originally a game designer and programmer, and is now involved in a number of aspects of computer-game development.

Garriott founded a new video-game-development company in 2009, called Portalarium.  His current project is Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues where his primary role is as CEO and Creative Director. In 2011, Garriott married Laetitia de Cayeux. Both changed their last names to Garriott de Cayeux.


Industry Leader

Bonnie RossRoss was named the 2019 inductee of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, and has been named one of Fortune’s most powerful women in gaming.  Over the last twelve years, Ross pushed to broaden franchise reach and define Halo as a leader in trans-media across the entire entertainment industry, including the Halo series of video games, the upcoming Halo television series by SHOWTIME, and live-action series, such as Halo: Forward Unto Dawn and Halo: Nightfall.  Ross brings over 20 years of experience in the game industry, beginning her gaming career as a producer on PC sports games. She has worked on such titles as NBA: Inside Drive, Pandora’s Box, Zoo Tycoon, Dungeon Siege, Counter-Strike, Gears of War, Jade Empire Psychonauts, and Mass Effect.

Click here for Bonnie’s acceptance speech

Community Action Award

Doc Mack –  Founder of Galloping Ghost productions, Doc has turned Galloping Ghost Arcade from a dream into a mammoth arcade of over 720 machines and counting.  Doc has donated his time and machines to multiple events and tournaments.   Doc never has a worried look on his face as he gives everything he has to his community and fellow gamers.  Galloping Ghost productions has created numerous signs and banners for events all over the U.S., and most of the time without charge.  Doc has brought in many gifted gamers and celebrities into his arcade and treated them like kings and queens,  a very gracious host.   Recently he opened a pinball area and has purchased a Auto Repair Shop near the arcade to offer more to the community he loves.  Doc is truly a one of a kind with his contribution to his community.

Click here for Doc’s acceptance speech

Video Game Palooza –  In 2013 Video Game Palooza was created as a way to give back and create awareness of several pressing challenges facing the video game industry such as STEM Research, STEM Learning, and increasing diversity in the game industry by increasing the number of women in the field.  A non-profit organization, they have set up and organized the Video Game Palooza Foundation, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of people of all ages by utilizing video games and interactive technologies, and by offering education, awareness, and activism within the world of video games.  By hosting events or taking donations, Video Game Palooza looks to make a difference in someone’s life using the power of video games.

Click here for Rick and Cara’s acceptance speech

Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award

Reggie Fils Aime – Reggie is an American businessman, most recognized as the former president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, the North American division of the Japanese video game company Nintendo, from 2006 to 2019. Prior to his promotion to President and COO, Fils-Aimé was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Fils-Aimé gained celebrity status among gamers following his appearance at Nintendo’s E3 2004 press conference in May 2004, and helped to revitalize Nintendo’s image as a major contender among the other video game console makers, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft. In addition, Fils-Aimé had held previous sales and marketing executive roles at Procter & Gamble, Pizza Hut, Guinness, Derby Cycle, Panda Express, and VH1.

Fils-Aimé retired as president of Nintendo of America on April 15, 2019 after an announcement on February 21 and was succeeded by Doug Bowser.

Click here for Reggie’s acceptance speech

The induction ceremony for the class of 2019 will be held October 4-6 in Ottumwa, IA.

For more information:

About the International Video Game Hall of Fame

Located in Ottumwa, Iowa, the International Video Game Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring excellence in the field of electronic gaming by recognizing the champions, industries and professionals related to this popular activity. We will build and maintain a state-of-the art interactive facility containing historical archive exhibits describing the historic milestones of the video game industry, and preserve significant video gaming relics, memorabilia and artifacts of the times past and present.

The 2017 class of inductees were selected by accomplished gamers, journalists and video game industry executives who have extensive knowledge of the achievements in gaming.
There were three phases in the decision process: Open nomination, public and board input for narrowing down of the ballot and a final voting pool which decided which gamers, games, developers and industry leader would be inducted. The Community Action Award and Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award were determined by open nominations and a final vote by the IVGHOF Board of Directors. Two categories had ties this year and it was decided to induct both winners instead of narrowing it down to one person as both individuals are very deserving of being inducted.

We are pleased to announce the following individuals and video games are being inducted:

Golden Age Gamers

Rebecca Heineman won the National Space Invaders Championship, sponsored by Atari, in November 1980. She was the first person to ever win a national video game contest. In addition, Heineman is a video game programmer who was the founding member of Interplay Productions, Logicware and Contraband Entertainment. She has been affiliated with a number of other game companies and is currently CEO of Olde Sküül in Seattle.

Michael Klug, a Quality Assurance Manager, has worked for Atari, Konami and Namco.
After seeing his name in the Guinness World Records book for Pole Position 2, Atari called and offered him a job. Klug held the world record on Pole Position 2 – Fuji Track for 25 years. He achievement is listed as one of six “Records that may never be broken” for achieving a score of more than 60,000 points while playing Pole Position with his feet at the Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa, IA. In addition, Klug has been named one of the top 100 players in North America by the Amusement Players Association.

Joel West was featured in the Chasing Ghosts Documentary and is a world record gamer who has a number of world records on games including Berzerk, Frenzy, Pole Position, Propcycle and more.

90’s eSports Competitor

Chris Ayra was a gaming legend long before most of today’s gamers were even born. As one of the original pillars of arcade gaming, Chris Ayra was the Guinness World Records Ms. Pac-Man champion for nearly 20 years. Good at nearly every game in the arcade, Chris led a core group of gamers who studied the dynamics of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man and created the “grouping techniques” that were used to get to the final screens on these maze games. On February 16, 2000, Chris used these techniques to achieve a “perfect” Pac-Man score of 3,333,360 points. 

2000’s eSports Competitor

Carrie Swidecki is a teacher from Bakersfield, California, who holds various dance game world records and encourages students to exercise through video games like Just Dance and in general. She holds multiple Guinness World Records, including “Longest marathon on a dance/ rhythm game” on Dance Dance Revolution, “longest marathon on a motion sensing dance game” on Dance Central 2, and in 2013 set records simultaneously for “longest marathon on a dance or rhythm game” and “longest marathon on a dance/rhythm game” by playing Just Dance for 49 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds. She is the only person in the world to hold a world record for marathon play on all three major dance games.

Justin Wong is a professional fighting game player who has won more Evolution Championship Series titles than anyone else and has eight titles in the Marvel vs. Capcom series as well as 1st place rankings in several other games through the years.

Golden Age Game – Donkey Kong

90s Era Game – Sonic the Hedgehog

2000s Era Game – Halo

Modern Age Game – Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild

Game Developer – Warren Davis

Warren Davis

Warren Davis is best known for developing Q*bert, a classic arcade game. Other arcade games he worked on include, but aren’t limited to, Joust 2, Lotto Fun, Exterminator, Terminator 2 and Revolution X. He developed the video digitization system used in Williams/Midway video games starting in the late 1980s. For More on Warren click here!

Industry Leader – Howard Phillips

Howard Phillips is an American video game producer and consultant. He is best known as being the spokesperson for Nintendo of America in the 80s. Phillips career at Nintendo started out in the warehouse and he climbed the ladder becoming a Game Master, then the creator of the Nintendo Fan Club News and Nintendo Power. After leaving Nintendo, he worked for LucasArts, THQ and Microsoft before launching Howard Phillips Consulting and becoming a studio director of Chair Entertainment Group.

Community Action Award – ExtraLife

ExtraLife is an annual fundraising event, launched in 2008, which raises funds which go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Each year gamers stream video games both as individuals and teams as part of a telethon-like event to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In 2017, 50,000 gamers participated and raised more than 11 million dollars. 100% of all donations go directly to the hospitals.

Walter Day Lifetime Achievement Award

David Crane

David Crane is one of the most experienced creators of video games in the world, with over 30 years of experience in video game creation, development, and
publishing. As an early Atari employee and founder of Activision, David was instrumental in launching the multi-billion dollar third-party video game software
industry. Since 2009 he has concentrated on publishing mobile games for the smartphone market, including the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

David is best known for his whimsical game play: finding amusing and compelling ways for the game player in all of us to interact with on-screen characters. Through boundless creativity, David’s characters are brought to life; from Pitfall Harry (in Pitfall!™ – the world’s first side-view Adventure game), or the chicken who crossed the road in Freeway!™, to the shape-changing, jellybean-eating blob from the vitamin-deficient planet of Blobolonia in A Boy and His Blob™.

Audiences continue to clamor for games from this legendary game creator. David’s games, regardless of platform, are magical, always challenging but never overtly violent, and the perfect combination of technical prowess and creative genius. As Tom Clancy pointed out in one of his Op-Center books, “you could always tell a David Crane game.”

David has published over 80 commercial products with revenues of over $400 million. Selected industry Awards include the 2010 Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Pioneer Award, the 2009 IGN.COM “Top 100 Game Creators of All Time”, the 2003 Game Developers Choice “First Penguin Award”, and the 1990 Parent’s Choice Award for A Boy and His Blob. – For More on David click here!


The induction ceremony for the class of 2017 will be held October 4-6 in Ottumwa, IA.

For more information:

About the International Video Game Hall of Fame

Located in Ottumwa, Iowa, the International Video Game Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring excellence in the field of electronic gaming by recognizing the champions, industries and professionals related to this popular activity. We will build and maintain a state-of-the art interactive facility containing historical archive exhibits describing the historic milestones of the video game industry, and preserve significant video gaming relics, memorabilia and artifacts of the times past and present.

On October 8, 1983, Walter Day of Twin Galaxies had a vision. He dreamt of having a Video Game Hall of Fame in Ottumwa, Iowa.   He knew this would be the perfect place to host the event being that Ottumwa, Iowa was crowned the Video Game Capital of the world one year before.  Unfortunately, the arcade business took a crash.   Arcade gaming and the recognition of gaming would falter.  Therefore, the Hall of Fame would not take off. Fast forward 27 years where the vision became reality at the Hall of Fame award ceremony in Ottumwa, Iowa.  In 2010, Walter Day and a crew of gamers and volunteers pulled off the very first International Video Game Hall of Fame (IVGHOF) award ceremony.  It was a huge success and turned out to be a very memorable weekend for all who attended, including me.   There would be another Hall of Fame in 2015, during the ICON event in Ottumwa, Iowa.  This was such a success that the IVGHOF Board of Directors made sure that this event continued to grow year after year. This past weekend the IVGHOF was just as exciting, if not better.  It was a weekend of gaming, tournaments, raffles, special guests, autograph sessions, the Time Life Photo recreation on Main Street and an all-around great event to mingle with past, present and future gamers around the world.  On November 9-12, 2017, the Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball & Arcade presented the “Galaxies of Gaming.”  

Ottumwa’s Old School Arcade Committee consists of Jerry Byrum, Bill Hoffman, Terry Burtlow, Ginny Burtlow, Michael Dudley, Katie Bride, Dennis Bartlet and Anita Carver. The Hall of Fame Committee is made up of Julie Barwick, Marcus Bennett, Raymond Cover and Angela Hoffman.  The Committee tells me,  “With the help of others, eveyone’s goal and mission is to continue the legacy of gaming, Walter Day and of Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa. With your help, we will do just that.”

The weekend event started early on Thursday as the arcade opened, and registration began for all the tournaments that were being held all weekend.  Tournaments included such console games as Madden ’18 for the PlayStation 4 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch.   There were arcade tournaments as well such as Ms. Pac Man and Guitar Hero.   If arcades are not your thing, there was also a pinball tournament on the new Star Wars pinball machine.   Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball and Arcade is a new arcade located in the Quincy Place Mall.   They hold up to 80 arcade and pinball machines, past and present for example: classics such as Frogger and Pac-Man and newer games like Guitar Hero and Final Lap 3.  All Games are on free play so after you pay your entry fee you can come and go and play all the games you like for the entire day.  

Not only was there the arcade open to the public, but there were vendors invited to setup items they could sell.    From cartoon caricature drawers, to retro gaming vendors, there was a wide range of items to look through and purchase.  Chris Foster of Brooklyn, Iowa tells me, “I was thrilled to be involved in the event as a vendor. I attended the event with my brother Jeremy Foster and son Jax Foster, yes, he was named after a character from Mortal Kombat.  We packed our inventory the previous night and left early in the morning for the two-hour trip to Ottumwa. We were so excited to attend none of us got much sleep.  We had a great day of toy and video game sales and left with something more valuable than money, memories made between a father and son that will last a long time for these gamers.”

Saturday morning started out with a possible world record attempt by Paul Zimmerman of Deerfield, Illinois.   Paul drove about 5 hours to attend the event to try and break the Atari 2600 record on Berzerk.    The record currently stood at 1,057,940.   For Paul to break this record, he would have to start playing at 9:30 AM until around 11:00 PM.   I sat down with Paul before he started his run to ask him how he was feeling and what it took to break the record. “I have been playing video games since I got my first Atari 2600 in 1980.”   Paul explained how going for the world record is very important to him.  “I got the record back in 2010, at the Midwest Gaming Classic, and it was beaten in 2015.   I actually almost beat the record a year later, but the game froze a half hour before I could beat the score.”  Paul knew he could beat the record again, he just needed video proof, an event and to make sure the game did not freeze.   This year he made sure he had a different game cartridge and a different system, so the freeze issue would not happen.    Unfortunately, at 6:45 PM after playing for 9 ½ hours the game indeed froze again with a score of 666,040.   Billy Mitchell joked that everyone needed to stay away from Paul as his game froze on 666.   Perhaps a bad luck number to freeze up on.    Personally, knowing Paul and how he is determined to beat a record, I know he will go to the next event and get his high score. It’s his world record to take back.  

Throughout the weekend, there was a space where memorabilia from the history of gaming was on display.   Ottumwa is in the process of creating a home for the Video Game Museum.  A place where you can go to see the history of arcade, console, and pinball gaming from the beginning until the present.   Items such as T-shirts, posters, games and systems were on display in this mini version of what will come for the Museum in Ottumwa, Iowa.   In the same room of the museum was an autograph table signing session.   Current and past Hall of Famers as well as current gamers were gracious enough to spend some time with the fans and sign cards, magazines and whatever fans brought for them.  Some of the people in the signing room were old school gamers: Todd Rogers, Mark Robichek and Sam Blackburn.  The Class of 2016 attendees such as Lonnie McDonald and Chris Tang were happy to sign items for fans.    Of course, an autograph session would not be complete without Walter Day and Billy Mitchell.  They were on hand to sign and talk with the gamers about the history of gaming and Twin Galaxies.  I spoke with Mark Robicheck, one of the original Time Life Photo members back in 1982, from the original Twin Galaxies arcade.  “I really enjoyed my weekend in Ottumwa. I really felt like a celebrity, especially while signing autographs and seeing the joyous looks on the faces of both the adults and the kids in attendance.”   Mark goes on to add, “Just prior to the IVGHOF induction ceremony, I was approached by Walter Day and others to see if I’d be willing to be a presenter and I jumped at the opportunity. Before my turn at the mic, I got to hear Isaiah ‘Triforce’ Johnson pay tribute to some of the original game players (such as me) and he even described us in a way that will stick with me forever. He called us the ‘Elder Gods.’ I like that term! In fact, when Walter Day asked me whether I’d wear an ‘Elder God’ T-shirt, I said, Absolutely!”

Saturday afternoon was the historical recreation of the Time Life photograph that was taken on Main Street in Ottumwa back in 1982.   The goal has always been to get as many gamers from the original picture as well as the five cheerleaders that pose in front of the arcade games.  This year we had the privilege of three of the members as well as two of the original cheerleaders take part in the photograph.   Billy Mitchell, Sam Blackburn and Mark Robichek stood high above the gaming machines as they did 35 years before.    April Lewis and Tracy Groy were gracious enough to come back all these years later as two of the original cheerleaders from the early 80s.  April told everyone, “My goal is to get the other three here and have all five cheerleaders represent Ottumwa again.”    Once the photograph was finished, locals and attendees of the weekend event took a group picture with everyone including Walter Day who was there for the original shoot outside his arcade in 1982. 

Saturday night was the Hall of Fame Ceremony and it did not disappoint.   It was a perfectly organized event that brought together some of the top gaming figures in the world to celebrate the Inductees and be a part of history with the Class of 2016.    Before the ceremony started, fans and residents had the pleasure of hearing from Jerry Parker, the former Mayor of Ottumwa and the person who proclaimed Ottumwa as the Video Game Capital of the World.  Other speakers included the current mayor of Ottumwa, Tom Lazio and the State Senator Mary Gaskill.    

Additionally, it was the awarding of the Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball & Arcade Gamer of the Year awards.   This all-year event started in January and ended the night of November 11, 2017.   Gamers of all ages battled in a world series of gaming on multiple platforms to determine the world champion for kids and adults.  Games included were Ms. Pac Man Arcade, Mario Kart 64 for the N64, Family Guy Pinball, Tetris for the Gameboy and Metal Slug for the PS2 among many other games.    The finals of the yearly tournament were held this weekend and the top 3 winners received an award along with a certificate.    In the adult division, 3rd Place went Kevin Archer, 2nd Place went to Ed Burtlow and 1st Place was Wyatt Barwick.  For the kid’s event, 3rd Place went to Brandon Burtlow, 2nd Place went to Caleb Burtlow and the 1st Place gamer of the year went to Isabella Hoffman.

This year’s class included different eras of games, players and Industry legends.   The game inducted this year from the 1980’s era was Super Mario Bros., with over 40 million units sold, it is considered one of the greatest games of all time.   From the 1990’s era, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of the biggest selling Super Nintendo Games ever.   The game of the 2000’s that was voted on was the World of Warcraft, with over 11 million paid subscribers, this is easily the most popular MMORGP of all time.   The current era game that was inducted into the Hall of Fame was Minecraft, with over 60 million copies sold and over 1.75 billion hours of gameplay worldwide, Minecraft will always be a true iconic game for years to come.  

One of the Inductees able to attend the presentation was Isaiah “TriForce” Johnson, who also accepted the awards on behalf of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and Nintendo Industry Leader, Sotoru Iwata.  TriForce Johnson has become a familiar face when it comes to Nintendo products and Esports Competition. Was inducted in the category of 2000’s ESports Competitor.   He is the creator and organizer of Empire Arcadia and a true pioneer for competitive gaming.   TriForce tells me, “The Video Game Capital of the World weekend event was one of the most important moments for me in my career in the eSports industry. My induction into the International Video Game Hall of Fame has put me in a unique position with a hand full of people who are entrusted to carry on a tradition and preserve a history that is the corner stone for the very eSports industry that my team and I are a part of. Every time I go to Ottumwa Iowa, I learn so much about the origins of eSports and I meet someone new who has a story that would be lost to time if I don’t speak with them. Now that I’m inducted, I’m obligated to do what I can to document these stories and share them with the modern scene of eSports. The flame that represents the classic age of eSports is sputtering and if extinguished it may never be rekindled. Industrial eSports Revolution is complete, and a new age is upon us. I will do all I can to protect the history and traditions from any revisionist.”

Another one of the Inductees able to attend the weekend event was Lonnie McDonald.  Without doubt one of, if not the best Joust Player in the world.    He has been playing arcade games since the early 1980s and even played Joust for a record 24 hours straight back in 1982.   He is the first person to hit the max score of 9,999,999 on a joust machine in all 50 states.    While attending the festivities he decided to go for this 175th joust machine of hitting that max score, another world record.   Lonnie told me, “I was honored to make the site of the event also a stop on Joust Tour, turning the 175th Joust machine to 9,999,999”.   Lonnie had a moving acceptance speech and was very honored to be a part of this Hall of Fame Class.  “It’s always a pleasure to visit gaming venues in Ottumwa Iowa”, Lonnie explains.  “As an Inductee into the International Video Game Hall of Fame and a person born and raised in Iowa, it was even more of an honor to be included”.  Lonnie goes on to say, “Ottumwa’s gaming legacy should make it a destination, a Mecca if you will, for all gamers.”  

Chris Tang was inducted as the 1990s Esports Competitor and graciously accepted his award with a moving speech about his gaming experiences, being a leader in the industry and thanking a lot of gamers who paved the way for his career.  “Growing up, I had read about Ottumwa while its history was unfolding, which inspired me and had a definite impact on my future as a competitive gamer.  To finally visit the historic site of the Twin Galaxies arcade and scoreboard, and take part in the LIFE magazine photo re-creation was a huge honor.  I very much look forward to when the new permanent arcade and museum on Main Street will be opening and hope to come back for that!  Getting to meet some of the other fellow and previous inductees and get to know them better was another highlight that I wish I had more time to do.  The inductions themselves are now one of the most memorable moments in my life.”  Chris was inducted by friend and arcade owner, Doc Mack, of Galloping Ghosts arcade in Brookfield, Illinois.   Doc owns one of the largest arcades in the country with almost 650 arcade games in his store.  Chris added, “I was also honored that Doc Mack, the owner of the Galloping Ghost Arcade, was able to be the one to induct and present me; he’s probably the one who best understands my videogame-centric life as a champion, game developer, eSports commentator and lifelong enthusiast.  Doc is someone I have so much respect for through his efforts to preserve and respect gaming history for all to enjoy – which is very much in line with what the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum and historic efforts in Ottumwa are all about.”

The final inductee able to attend the weekend festivities was Patrick O’ Malley of Star Words Arcade.  Located in Dekalb, IL., Star Worlds has been fully operational since 1985. One of the only remaining token based arcades in the country.   Patrick accepted his Community Action Award with honor and respect for others in the industry.  He knows more than anyone how hard it is to keep an arcade business going and keep gamers happy.   “It was truly an honor being inducted into the international video game hall of fame class of 2016 for my community action award. It’s an important role in the community and I look forward to others joining me in that category in years to come. Glenn and I are often displaying and working many of the gaming events. It was nice being honored and having the time to spend enjoying the event and spending time with our family and friends.”  Patrick was inducted by Twin Galaxies founder and longtime gaming historian, Walter Day.  Patrick added, “When I was asked who I wanted to present my induction I didn’t think twice. Walter day is a longtime friend and it was an honor having him present the award.  Many people over the weekend asked me why I’m still doing coin drop play at Star Worlds Arcade. It’s simple. Token play has become as classic as the games themselves. Dropping a coin into the slot is a vote for your favorite game. It’s how we know just what games are the most popular with our customers.”

This event was covered by local media from all over Iowa.   Some of the media members I spoke with were Ottumwa’s Radio News, KTVO, KYOU, The Ottumwa Courier and the Des Moines Register.   It was truly the talk of the town for that weekend.   Talking with Jerry Byram, Arcade Committee member, he estimated between 1200-1500 attendees throughout the weekend.    Terry Burtlow of Ottumwa, Iowa, organizer and committee member says, “Watching all the smiling faces makes it worth it and makes us want to be here every year moving forward.”   Co-Chairman Bill Hoffman explains “We have a lot of professional gamers that came to celebrate with us, to celebrate with this community. So, you know, Ottumwa being the Video Game Capital of the World, they’ve all come to celebrate Ottumwa, and we just want to give Ottumwa what it deserves to be the Video Game Capital of the World. No other town in the U.S. can claim that, so we’re just happy to celebrate it and bring it to Ottumwa.”  I personally had a great weekend with a lot of good memories and stories to talk about as well as being part of gaming history.  I hope and plan to attend this event each year for years to come.   

Follow the Old School Arcade on their Facebook page “OtownOldSchoolArcade” and at #videogamecapital on Instagram. 

Check out the full issue of Old School Gamer by clicking here.

We are pleased to announce the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum Class of 2016 Induction Ceremony is scheduled to take place in conjunction with an event hosted by the Ottumwa Gaming Community the weekend of November 10-12, 2017.

Details for the Induction Ceremony itself will be forthcoming in the next month, but it is scheduled to take place in the evening Nov. 11, 2017.

We will be opening up sponsorships for this years trophies and possibly other items in the coming weeks. If you are interested in sponsoring the trophies, please contact us at

We look forward to celebrating the induction ceremonies with everyone.

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