On November 10, 1981 at about 6:30pm in Ottumwa, Iowa at 226 East Main Street, a video game arcade known as “Twin Galaxies” opened its doors for the first time... and a 33-year long adventure began that ultimately leads us to this very day.
Its founder, Walter Day had a great vision that started as an arcade in a small town but eventually gained recognition as the "Official" scorekeeper for the gaming world.
Twin Galaxies hosted LIFE Magazine in 1982 who photographed the champion players of the era, and then went on to stage the first “Videogame World Championship" in 1983, which was broadcast by ABC-TV's "That's Incredible."
By 1983, the Governor of Iowa proclaimed Ottumwa the "Video Game Capital of the World…”
Over these many years, Twin Galaxies has been there to chronicle the video game cultural phenomenon, create contests, maintain the records, enforce the rules and crown champions. It has been ever present within the culture of video games and community, offering its guidance, support and services.
Walter Day’s vision for Twin Galaxies has always been to contribute to and support the organization of video game playing as an international sport, with a tradition of contests, statistics, world records and star players. His vision encapsulated a grand effort, focusing on enabling the opportunity for players throughout the world to have concrete goals to pursue and then be recognized and respected for the achievement.
A grand and noble vision indeed.
As many people know, Twin Galaxies has had its ups and downs. There has been great triumph as well as epic controversy. Movies have been made, videos have been posted, questions have been raised and comments have been written. All these things have helped to make the tapestry of Twin Galaxies’ existence very rich and deep. Twin Galaxies carries personal meaning for many people for many reasons – and this fact alone reveals the truth of Twin Galaxies, which is that Twin Galaxies is merely a conduit that exists to bring people together and uplift and help fulfill the lives of people, with video games as the communication medium.
WE ARE ALL TWIN GALAXIES.
Dear Video Game Community,
My name is Jace Hall and I humbly present myself as the new Head Custodian and Caretaker of the TWIN GALAXIES organization.
As some of you know, over the recent months, Twin Galaxies has been going through a transitional period focused on giving the organization the tools it needs to move forward successfully in today’s video game environment - so that it can continue to service Twin Galaxies’ established jurisdiction over all video games as the official record keeper, historical archive, and player achievement recognition organization.
We are very pleased to report that the most challenging parts of the transition have been completed and Twin Galaxies is now moving forward in full force once again – however there is still a lot of technical and physical organizational work to complete and we will be moving through all of that step by step.
The intention of this lengthy update is to answer as many early questions as possible while we are working as quickly as we can to get everything up and running again – However, before we get into the full update there are some things that I would like to personally say…
I have lived my entire life as a gamer. I believe it is a valid lifestyle choice and it has brought me great happiness, wonderful friendships and even some economic success. Obviously, my lifestyle choice is not particularly mainstream and culturally there are downward pressures upon me as I continue to live the gamer life, because even though gaming is as big as ever, it still carries with it some stereotypes that are used negatively.
I have always felt that there is a societal imbalance in this area. A professional Basketball player who dedicated their life to that GAME should not necessarily be more culturally rewarded than anyone else who has achieved excellence in their GAME of choice. Even if it is a video GAME. A game is a game from my perspective. However the difference is that there are numerous organizations like the NBA working day and night to promote their champions, their overall sport and their audiences. The video game industry simply has had no overarching equivalent other than Twin Galaxies, which has always struggled to figure out how to unlock its full potential.
With that above concern in mind, I believe that Twin Galaxies is not only just an important part of video game history, but also critical to the video game industry’s future relevancy and overall participant/player credibility. For video games, society still tends to worship the GAME far more than the PLAYER. Twin Galaxies is all about recognizing the player, and I am going to make sure that Twin Galaxies is restored to its rightful place, and its community supported and grown.
As we kick this new era off, I would like the community to know that there is a thought-out and strategic long term plan for success with this, rest assured. Twin Galaxies will be meaningful, relevant and exciting once more. We are going to do this right and give TG and its community the opportunities that it has always wanted but never had the chance to get.
I know many long time TG community participants have heard these claims before, from previous ownership efforts, so I am certain that my words fall on some skeptical ears – so for those inclined, I invite you to google search me and hopefully you will find and agree that I have enough credibility, team, experience, relationships and resources to have a serious chance of finally getting the job done over time no matter what. I promise you I am real. I promise you that I do what I say. I have been playing video games since 1977 and have been in the video game industry as a professional since 1990. Any negative pattern of behavior on my part will definitely be searchable on the internet. I have nothing to hide. I have no second agenda. I am not interested in misleading people or trying to "get away with something" ever.
My interest in Twin Galaxies is genuine. My interest in the video game culture is real. It has been and will continue to be my life.
As of this moment, I am the sole economic investor in Twin Galaxies which means that there are no longer multiple interests pulling at the organization that could potentially cause a confusion or loss of focus. However, with that being said, that fact does not change my knowledge and deep appreciation of the efforts by all who have ever been involved with TG - and I will always be respectful of everyone’s contribution that brought TG to this amazing point in time.
I want the entire video game community to know that it will be an honor to participate and help continue to restore and preserve both the legacy and the future of Twin Galaxies.
The TG community has been through a lot of challenges. There is so much passion and hope and understanding of what the possibilities could be, and I have seen how the various disappointments and let downs have been potentially emotionally damaging. I have felt the sense from many that the TG community has reached a point where it is almost afraid to hope - because no one wants to have their dreams smashed over and over again. For some, it is better to be negative at this point, not because they hate TG, but as a way to never get their hopes up again, and therefore not be set up for disappointment.
Please have no worries. I absolutely comprehend what needs to be done, and have the resources, relationships and personal desire to oversee the restoration of TG (and all that it entails) to its rightful place. I hope many will join in and help the effort. Everyone is certainly invited.
Lastly, while I know that it may be exciting to have a guy like me show up and potentially breathe the real possibility of life and success for TG into the community, it is very important to understand that there is a lot of work, building and healing to do before any value or success can become measurable – AND UNFORTUNATELY IT IS GOING TO TAKE TIME.
In regard to healing, my research into the complete history of Twin Galaxies has led me to the determination that some of the historic TG adjudication policies and practices have inadvertently been conducive to creating severe community problems over the course of time. From my perspective, I believe that although there may have been some flaws in the process, everyone was always doing the best they could, given the knowledge, relationships, and resources they had at the time. Still, there may have been people unintentionally hurt or disappointed by some of the historic process and there have been many misunderstandings that may have unfortunately created negative feelings.
I believe in the idea that there are no BAD people. There are only normal human beings with insecurities, fears, limitations, and etc. I believe that if these people are just doing the best they can, given their knowledge, and situation - even if they do a terrible job, it might make sense to be somewhat forgiving toward them. To try to move them and myself and the whole situation to a positive place if possible. Instead of just being punitive for the sake of satisfying a personal emotion to see punishment. In the end, punishment is not always constructive. Just some food for thought.
So I believe that it’s time for a new start for us all.
I want everybody in the community to know that with this new era of TWIN GALAXIES – the past is being left in the past. I want to encourage the community to forgive itself if there have been historical community problems, and I would like us all to move forward together in friendship as we elevate ourselves and our favorite pastime into complete cultural validation and relevancy.
Certainly, it is up to the community to decide how it wants to conduct itself and it has every right to, but I believe that how we all behave going forward is how we all will be judged together.
There is a LOT of work to do, and all we can do is address one thing at a time and step by step repair the damage, build trust, hope and opportunity. One of the goals that the new Twin Galaxies has is to be as TRANSPARENT and consistent in its behavior and process as possible so that everyone can understand that the new era is quite real and there is some safety in believing again. Many of the processes that produced the kind of negative eventualities that the community may have suffered in the past, shall not exist in the future.
So that is my 2 cents. Now on to some real Q&A information:
“When is the Twin Galaxies website coming back?”
In October 2012, the Twin Galaxies webserver computer was turned off and unplugged. This was due to the transfer of the Twin Galaxies domain and assets from Pete Bouvier to Jourdan Adler.
The intention was to bring a new Twin Galaxies website and forum online as quickly as possible, however the decision was made to not utilize the old original TG webserver and instead supply a new and more modern one.
In late April of 2013 a new Twin Galaxies website was launched, with new forums, structure and everything else. Unfortunately, the years of previously accumulated forum and article data from the old original TG website was not saved and restored in this new system. As many of you know this new system stayed online until December 2013 where it was then permanently turned off.
What this has meant is that an entirely new Twin Galaxies website needed to be created for this new era – but the good news is that work has been now going on for quite some time.
Additionally, more good news is that we have been able to acquire the old original TG Linux servers and have been working hard at recovering all the lost data and restoring it to our new system.
Forum posts, articles and even user accounts are being restored and converted to the new system. The work is meticulous and challenging, but we believe that all those historic forum posts and article contributions are important and should be restored, accessible and properly preserved.
We anticipate it being less than 30 days before we can bring the new website system online with all this restored data, along with a completely searchable and viewable version of the latest Twin Galaxies International Score Database.
“Twin Galaxies has always seemed to focus on classic arcade gaming over everything else. Will the new era of Twin Galaxies be more inclusive of other gaming platforms and communities?”
Yes. The new era of Twin Galaxies has the full intention of covering player achievement on all video game platforms and game types. We believe that Twin Galaxies’ ultimate mandate and responsibility is to provide a complete and comprehensive platform of official recognition for all video game players across-the-board.
“How is the adjudication process going to be handled? Who are the referees? Can I be a referee? Historically, Twin Galaxies has always had a hard time keeping up with submissions. Now there are more games than ever and there is likely a back catalog of waiting submissions? What is the plan for all this?”
The proper adjudication of scores is at the heart of Twin Galaxies. It is something that the organization takes very seriously and clearly as time marches on it is always prudent to evaluate best practices and make adjustments where necessary.
At the highest level the adjudication process can be described in two distinct parts:
- The setting of rules and conditions that must be followed for a particular score track/category.
- The measurement method used to determine if a performance has met the rules and conditions that were set.
The new era of Twin Galaxies will bring with it numerous alterations of item #2 – the goal being to eliminate any single individual’s subjective viewpoint overly influencing a world record determination.
Historically, Twin Galaxies would use single individuals (referees) to view performances and individually determine the validity of a record attempt. While there are some advantages to this method, there are also several disadvantages – one of the big ones being that as the workload exponentiates, the system of adjudication cannot scale proportionately and overload occurs.
Another problem with the old process of #2 is that individual referees viewing performances tended to do so in secrecy and that invited some player speculation (whether warranted or not) about a score’s validity based on who the referee was. This speculation can lead to credibility concerns.
As Twin Galaxies looks to increase both its scale and credibility worldwide as the official body recognizing player achievement, it is critically important that during the act of MEASUREMENT, as much subjectivity as possible be eliminated from the equation. Measurement and quantification should be as binary as possible when determining world records.
So with all that being said, Twin Galaxies has been working on a system of newer, and more effective methods of the adjudication measurement component. These methods will absolutely provide complete transparency, elevate credibility, allow for the adjudication of all video game titles on all video game platforms and allow supervised, tightly controlled, non-anonymous community participation in the process.
Naturally, building this system is a significant undertaking for Twin Galaxies, and its roll out will be a step by step process. Unfortunately, until this roll out is complete, Twin Galaxies will not be adjudicating new scores into the database. We hope to have this new system in place as quickly as humanly possible, and we will be keeping everyone updated on its progress.
“Will Twin Galaxies be charging for score submission?”
No. As long as Jace Hall is the Head Custodian and Caretaker of Twin Galaxies, Twin Galaxies will never be charging for score submissions or adjudication ever again. Period.
"I have some previous submissions that I sent to Twin Galaxies. I have not heard anything back about it and I am wondering when my submission will be reviewed and adjudicated. What is the current status of my submission? What about the people who actually paid the previous ownership the submission fee?”
Before any new submissions can be admitted to the database, the new adjudication process must be completed first. This is our top priority.
As the new custodian of Twin Galaxies, there are still many materials being shipped to us and not everything has arrived. Once all the materials arrive we will look through everything and try to find any performances submitted. Unfortunately, as we receive materials piece by piece, it seems as though the last year has not been as organized as possible and so there may be a need for people to re-submit their performances.
In regard to the people who have paid the submission fee when it was temporarily installed, Twin Galaxies hopes to provide you with a full refund.
Please understand that it was not this new ownership that received the submission money. Our goal is to figure out the best way to get your money returned to you as soon as we can. We have been able to get the payment submission records from the database and so we do have that information. It will take some time as we work through everything and we ask that you please be patient with this process. There is so much to do and we want to do everything correctly and not rushed. Our goal is to definitely make sure that you get your money back.
“Somehow, the Twin Galaxies score database was copied and is now being displayed on other websites. Did you know this? What are going to do about this?”
Yes. We are aware of other sites utilizing an unauthorized duplication of the Twin Galaxies score database. While we do understand that the absence of Twin Galaxies database and website created a demand for that information and that these sites are merely attempting to provide a service to the community, we would ask these sites to now please remove our database from their systems – as their services in that regard will no longer be required.
We have seen much discussion on the net regarding the justification and logic of why sites feel that it is ok to possess and display the Twin Galaxies score database – with basic arguments that scores are public and therefore free to display by anyone and etc.
While it is true that individual score information that someone acquires completely on their own are public and therefore “free” - what is not free is all the effort it took for Twin Galaxies to collect and adjudicate those scores into one verified, official list. By taking the Twin Galaxies score database, sites are effectively stealing that entire historical concentrated effort and that is not a positive thing to do because it steps on and takes advantage of all of those people who dedicated time, effort, and passion to support Twin Galaxies over the last 33 years.
If sites want to display the same public scores that Twin Galaxies displays in its database, sites are more than welcome to take their own public score submissions or go out and collect the scores manually themselves. It is not ok for sites to have Twin Galaxies make all that effort and investment only to then copy the final results for their own benefit.
So again, we kindly ask these sites to please remove our database from their pages. We ask the community to support us by encouraging these sites to meet our humble request on the matter.
“Walter Day has these Twin Galaxies trading cards that he creates and promotes. Does this have anything to do with the new Twin Galaxies era?”
No it does not. Walter Day has a passion for the cards he creates and the player achievement or contributions that they recognize. These “Walter Day” Twin Galaxies cards are a passion project of his and our agreement allows Walter to continue to create these cards until the end of 2014. These cards are owned by Walter Day and he is operating under a special license. While we support Walter and his creative effort with these amazing cards, in no way do these cards reflect the new adjudication process being developed or represent any of the new era of Twin Galaxies player recognition criteria.
These cards, and the criteria for being selected to be on one, are entirely at the discretion of Walter Day. On a side note, in my personal opinion, if Walter has selected you to be on one, it is a tremendous honor.
“I’ve read all kinds of crazy rumors and stuff about Twin Galaxies ownership stuff. What’s really going on? Was there a fight happening? What’s the scoop?”
For a long time, the Twin Galaxies organization had some subtle ownership/title confusion mixed with various expectations. Historically that stuff just sort of lingered quietly in the background of TG’s business and tended to be avoided since it would sometimes require undesirable confrontation to fully address. As ownership transitioned from Walter Day to Pete Bouvier to Jourdan Adler and then attempted to go to me (Jace Hall), it began to exacerbate those quiet lingering issues and it quickly became apparent that there was a tremendous amount of communication and legal clean up to do in order to once and for all get everything situated in one place comprehensively. Generally speaking, this sort of thing is not unusual for an organization that is over 30 years old. Stuff happens and loose ends exist. From my viewpoint there was nothing particularly unexpected. Just a lengthy process and some deep, meaningful, long-running expectations and emotions that needed to be discussed and worked through.
The rumors and speculation you read on the internet was never the complete and accurate situation but that’s ok because frankly there was a complete absence of factual information being provided to the community, so of course people are going to speculate. It’s natural.
The direct answer to the above question is no, there is no fight and no anger. Quite the contrary. Both previous owners Jourdan Adler and Walter Day are very happy and pleased with the new Twin Galaxies effort and have offered to help in whatever way they can to assure Twin Galaxies the best opportunity possible. Everyone is on positive terms and has a good understanding of each other’s perspectives. I have been elated to work with both Jourdan and Walter on all of this and everything they have done has my full appreciation.
Speaking of appreciation, during my time investigating and learning all the details and intricacies of the history and culture of Twin Galaxies, I have personally spoken with many people in the classic arcade community. Their thoughts, insights, concerns and advice on everything has been incredibly helpful and is tremendously appreciated. To all the people that I spoke with, I want to thank you profusely. Your passion and support for Twin Galaxies was felt by me and your efforts have helped to get Twin Galaxies back into a position where it has a chance to grow once again!
And has for how Walter Day himself feels about this new era of Twin Galaxies, well, he sent me a letter. Here it is:
Well, this update has become way too long. There is just so much to discuss! We have some exciting things planned for the future of Twin Galaxies and will be announcing more significant things very soon.
Clearly, the full vision for Twin Galaxies is ambitious. By elevating Twin Galaxies and allowing it to live up to its full potential we hope to create new opportunities for the entire video game playing community that are both personally fulfilling and also economically uplifting. We hope to capture and earmark all the relevant events that happen in the video game world for the historic archives as well as create viable opportunities for the eventual creation and support of Hall of Fame efforts.
The task seems daunting, but we will collectively work toward it step by step. I want to personally invite the entire video game community to join us in this adventure, and to once and for all let the entire world know of all the amazing achievements that are being accomplished every single day - so that they can be acknowledged and celebrated properly.
Again, this is all going to take time. We are working as fast as we can, and we do appreciate your patience. Until the new website is launched, please look to the Twin Galaxies Facebook Fan page at https://www.facebook.com/TwinGalaxies for future updates. More to come!
Head Custodian and Caretaker