FAIRFIELD, IA -- Videogame champions, designers and other industry personalities will gather at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center's Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts for a festive awards ceremony on Aug. 2 (Saturday), the high point of an "awards weekend" celebrating the history and culture of the sport and the technology.
The gala will be hosted in conjunction with a novel art exhibit at Fairfield's nearby Iowa Contemporary Art Gallery, known as ICON, the second such event featuring the videogame trading cards and posters issued by the Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa, IA. The first was held last year. On display will be more than 1,000 of the cards and posters, which commemorate the "global videogame culture" from the early 1970s through the present. The exhibition will be held from Aug. 1 through 23.
The event will be hosted by Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio and Twin Galaxies founder Walter Day. Since 1982, Ottumwa, which is about 25 miles west of Fairfield, has been known as "The Videogame Capital of the World." Videogame historians consider it the birthplace of organized competition.
The exhibition and ceremonies will call attention to Ottumwa's ongoing effort to develop its International Video Game Hall of Fame & Museum (IVGHOF). Thus, the award recipients will travel to Ottumwa on Sunday, August 3rd. There they will gather on Main Street for a midday recreation of a famous photograph that was part of Life magazine's 1982 Year in Review feature that appeared in January 1983. That photo, taken in front of the Twin Galaxies Arcade in the fall of 1982, showed "the 16 greatest videogame players" of the era. Some of those gamers will be on hand to join the award-winners in posing for an updated picture in the same location.
As part of the awards weekend, the official Pac-Man will come from Namco's Chicago headquarters to greet fans at the ICON Gallery on Friday night, Aug. 1, as part of Fairfield's "First Friday Artwalk." Pac-Man will stay to sign autographs and pose for pictures all day Saturday, Aug. 2, as the ICON Gallery hosts a gala reception for the award recipients. This will give the public an opportunity to meet them and get their trading cards autographed. Admission to the exhibition and awards ceremony is free.
The Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card Set honors industry pioneers, videogame personalities, world champions and contest winners as well as landmark events and historic milestones. The more than 200 Twin Galaxies posters were created between August 1982 and 2009 as memorials of key events in the history of competitive e-sports. Walter Day, who conceived the card set, explained that its purpose is to transcend simple card-collecting by crafting a "historic tapestry" to meet the artistic and educational needs of art galleries and museums, as well as videogame historians.
For the second consecutive year, the art gallery exhibition was funded through contributions by Eric Tessler (La Habra, CA), an acclaimed member of the arcade restoration community. A distinguished supporter of videogame cinema, Tessler is executive producer of three documentary films: "The Video Craze" (2013), "The King of Arcades" (2014) and "No Princess in the Castle" (not yet released).