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Boise to be Video Game Capital of the World

Boise to be Video Game Capital of the World
Boise to be Video Game Capital of the World
Twin Galaxies' plans to make a video game contest stadium in Boise were revealed today on the front page of the Idaho Statesman, Idaho's premier newspaper. Walter Day, Twin Galaxies founder said, "Not only is the Boise facility intended to be the Olympic centre of video game competition - like Athens, Greece was to athletic excellence thousands of years ago, but it will also maintain a complete historical museum of video game history, similar to the role played by Cooperstown for the baseball industry." The Video Game & Pinball Museum will stock between 20,000 and 40,000 different titles for visitors to play, featuring ongoing promotions on classic games as well as on today's hottest PC and console games like Battlefield 1942, Halo, Counterstrike and Unreal Tournament. It will be a hands-on facility and visitors will be invited to attempt to break current world records on any game and win a listing in the next edition of Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records, the industry's official record book. "An historical resource of this magnitude has never been attempted before," Mr Day said. "Usually, when a game has run its marketing cycle, both the manufacturer and public abandon the game and it becomes just a forgotten memory, however, Twin Galaxies will be the only place in the world that keeps the memory of all these forgotten games alive, offering contests and promotions on not just today's X-Box live and PS2, but also on the original arcade Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, Atari 2600, Sega Saturn and N-64."

Boise? World's video game capital?

Move over potatoes, Boise may soon be known as the video game capital of the world. Twin Galaxies, a company that has held championship video game tournaments, kept player rankings and tracked video game world records since the days of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, wants to establish its headquarters in Boise, said Walter Day, founder and chief scorekeeper of Iowa-based Twin Galaxies. The company's time frame "is ASAP," Mr Day said. It's working on financing with shareholders, and if everything goes according to plan Twin Galaxies could be building a 12,000-square-foot "stadium" in early September to house a historical gaming museum, weekly competitions and the annual video game world championships. The company said it could hire as many as 50 people if it moves from Iowa to Boise. "We'll build a stadium, we'll post statistics and results from video game players throughout the whole world," said Mr Day. "Almost every weekend we'll have something big and every few weekends we'll bring a competition of national caliber to Boise. This will bring thousands of people to Idaho."

Mr Day's optimism, however, should not be mistaken for a sure thing, city representatives said. Twin Galaxies has not contacted the city's economic development council or the Chamber of Commerce, said Shirl Boyce, vice president of economic development for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. Local gaming facilities, such as Game World arcade, family entertainment centre Pojo's, and Pie nightclub have struggled to draw large crowds to video game competitions. "To pull off what they're trying to do would be very difficult," Game World manager Vince Dick said. "Competitions don't usually draw as many people as they once did, especially with the way home game systems have taken off." But, Julia Roether, a spokeswoman for the video game company Nintendo, said Twin Galaxies is well known in the video game industry and has the ability to draw competitors and spectators to Boise. Twin Galaxies has held more than 90 competitions over the past five years at a variety of locations — Las Vegas, New Hampshire and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., to name a few — drawing from 100 to 100,000 spectators, according to media reports.

"Right now there's no unification in the gaming industry," said Bill Cserjes, Twin Galaxies' chief operations officer. "But our plan is to put the headquarters of a $24 billion industry in Boise and unite the industry." Mr Cserjes moved to Boise several years ago. He said he's now researching possible locations for Twin Galaxies headquarters, although the company hasn't made any formal land inquires. Among the sites Twin Galaxies is considering: The old Costco building at 8109 W. Franklin Road and land on the western outskirts of the city, Cserjes said. "If they do start holding worldwide competitions in Boise, I can't think of any negatives to the industry," said Gary Wood, co-owner of Pojo's in Boise. "If anything, I think (Twin Galaxies) could really help the video game world gain awareness, get people talking about video games again."

Pictured: Billy Mitchell, a world-famous video game player, in 1999 in Tokyo with Masaya Nakamura, the father of Pac-Man. Mr Mitchell is known for scoring Pac-Man's first perfect game. Mitchell is the type of person that competitions and other video game events would attract, officials said.

Source: Idaho Statesman.


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