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The Videogame Capital of the World

| 1 May 2009 18:28
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Ottumwa, Iowa isn't known for much aside from being the birthplace of Tom Arnold, but as of yesterday, it's now the Videogame Capital of the World.

Sorry, Tokyo. You too, San Francisco. You could have gotten to it first, but Ottumwa, Iowa has beaten you to the punch. It's now, at least according to its own official self-declaration, the "Videogame Capital of the World." The town, best known for being the birthplace of comedian Tom Arnold, is home to 26,000 residents, and, in the future, a videogame hall of fame.

"We have produced some great folks like Tom Arnold, but the more we can do to brand our community and bring in visitors who will spend money here, the greater of a place it will be," Terry McNitt, the head of the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

Ottumwa isn't entirely without any claims to videogame fame. It is, after all, where infamous classic games record holder Billy Mitchell set his original Donkey Kong world record in 1982. Mitchell himself is backing the endeavor by donating the arcade cabinet he set that record on to the city, possibly in hopes that they'll reward his generosity by erecting a giant statue of him in their town square.

Fellow King of Kong star Walter Day, who owns Twin Galaxies, an authoritative scorekeeping organization for games, is also pitching in by helping out with the planning of the Hall of Fame building. Day says it'll be showcase of games classic and modern, from old Pac-Man cabinets to current gen titles like Dead Space.

"You would be able to go for world records," Day said. "This will become a very, very big vacation destination."

If it doesn't, well, there's always Tom Arnold.

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