A viewer’s e-mail message to the NBCDFW News Tip inbox brought three rather startling pieces of information.
First, there is such a thing as the International Video Game Hall of Fame. Second, it’s located in Ottumwa, Iowa, once, and possibly still, best known for native son Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, who happens to be a fictional character. Third, and here’s the local hook, a Dallas man named Ben Gold goes into said hall of fame during an induction ceremony Aug. 7.
Hall voters — who continue to snub Drew Pearson — recognized Gold as a pioneer of the, um, sport, because of his arcade-era world records on Stargate, Millipede, and Q*Bert.
According to the news release, “He was the winner of history's first video game world championship, which was filmed in Ottumwa, Iowa, by ABC-TV's ‘That's Incredible’ in January 1983.”
Also, according to the news release, “The city of Ottumwa is recognized as being the ‘birthplace’ of organized, competitive video game playing,” and why not, because what else is there to do in Ottumwa other than watch reruns of “M*A*S*H” and take a shot every time the town is mentioned?
Gold takes his place among the gaming elite when he’s inducted into the hall along side other gaming “celebrities,” including Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario and Donkey Kong; Ralph Baer, The Father of Video Games; and Pac-Man, yes, the game. Ms. Pac-Man got the house in the settlement.
Pac-Man, though, going into the International Video Game HoF? Wouldn’t that be like a football field going into the NFL HoF? Although certainly Jerry Jones has plans to get Cowboys Stadium enshrined in the hall.
Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He remembers fondly the days, mostly nights, at Bronco Bowl.