The ever-increasing popularity of competitive gaming began with the work of one Walter Day, often referred to as the “Father of Sports.” Marshalltown Community College is honoring his journey into competitive gaming and announcing that he will be coming to campus on October 14th as the first person to track and verify the high scores of arcade gaming.
The day trip began with gaming in 1981 when he opened the Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa. He loved playing video games so he wanted an excuse to play more. Twin Galaxies was open from 1981-1984 in the midst of the video game crash until it closed. Twin Galaxies survives as the official record holder for gaming high scores and is still officially recognized as the organization that tracks and submits video game high scores to the Guinness Book of World Records to this day.
Day wanted to celebrate and track the achievements and records of the top players of these games combined with intrigue and admiration for the superstars of the gaming world.
“I wanted to crown people who were winners for their talent,” Day said.
The records from the day are still available online and have been published in various hard copy books such as “Twin Galaxies Official Video Game and Pinball World Records Book”.
Day believes that gaming is a sport and should be treated as such, so he created the US National Video Game Team on July 25, 1983, serving as team captain. His team traveled to promote the tournament as an official organized sport and showcase the skill and dedication of those who play the games competitively.
The group started with just five members, but quickly grew to several dozen. The team members were record holders in various arcade games and were asked to join because of their achievements in each title. On the first tour, they traveled to Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Washington and California. They later held the 1983 Video Game Masters tournament. The results of that competition were published in the Guinness Book of World Records the following year. The group In 1987 he traveled to Europe and beat his UK counterpart in a competition. Day has been involved with the team for three years to move forward and fulfill other goals in the competitive playing field.
In the world of the game, Dey made the referee’s jersey his iconic feature. The jersey was one of the many ways he truly believed that players should be respected in the same way as other athletes. In the year He first wore the jersey in December 1982, but it wasn’t until November 1996 that he switched from the traditional three-piece professional business suit to wearing the jersey full time.
The popularity of esports today is a continuation of everything they dream of.
“Playing games is pervasive because it’s human nature, and video games are something that people of all skill levels can enjoy and compete in,” Day said. “People can start their own leagues and tournaments, and the entry level is completely democratized, and all skill and money levels can start their own leagues, clans and tournaments. The big money does marquee tournaments and those attract the best players from around the world, but that’s not fun for everyone.” It doesn’t stop him.
The “Father of Sports” presentation will be held on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Faust Student Union on the MCC campus and is open to the public. Iowa high schools are also invited to bring students in uniform. Following the presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a question-and-answer session along with tours of MCC’s new sports arena and facility.
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