WEIRS BEACH, NH -- The Coronation Day Championship, whose first edition was televised by ABC-TV's That's Incredible on February 21, 1983 under the name "The North American Video Game Olympics," will be conducted by Twin Galaxies for the first time since 1986, accompanied by an awards ceremony that will commemorate the greatest video-game playing accomplishments of the 20th Century.
Scheduled for January 8-9, 2000 at the famous Funspot Family Fun Center in Weirs Beach, NH, the event will crown the final video game champions of the century as well as hand out awards to the players, magazines, manufacturers and arcades of the year.
The prizes will include $1,000 for first place, $500 for second, $250 for third and $250 for fourth. Midway Home Entertainment will award copies of Ready 2 Rumble and Hydro Thunder to the top five finishers (available on all three platforms) and Funspot will be presenting trophies to the top three champions.
Though originally created as an invitational-only "player-of-the-year" tournament that admitted only players who had achieved major scores or world records, this year's event is open to the public and, for the first time, unites home game consoles with arcade coin-op titles. "This contest is breaking down the old barriers between the arcade and home games," say Ken Sweet and David Nelson, co-captains of the New Hampshire Pro Video Game Team, which is co-hosting the event with TwinGalaxies.Com, the Internet web site of the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard. "We will have the older arcade fanatics going head-to-head against the younger home console players. And, not surprisingly, the younger players are excited about meeting the many famous video game players from the early 1980s who are coming to compete and receive certificates for feats they accomplished nearly 20 years ago."
One of these expected superstars of the past is Dwayne Richard, 31, of Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, who will be there with a squadron of Canadian players. Some players think Richard can beat any of the newer, younger players on any game he chooses‹mainly because he won the last Coronation Day Championship 14 years ago. "Dwayne may be one of the few players who can stop the young wizkids in their tracks," says Ron Corcoran, 34, a Phoenix player who plans on traveling from Arizona to compete against Richard and these other legendary players from the golden age. "Dwayne has held the champion's belt for these 14 years, and, now, even though there's quite a few young, hotshot players around, he's probably still one of the best -- it will be a great battle."
The tournament is expected to draw top players from Canada, Europe, the U.S., and South America for head-to-head play on ten different games, including Playstation's Pac-Man World and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Dreamcast's Ready to Rumble Boxing and Sega Rally 2 and N64's Star Fox. The arcade titles are Sega's Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, Namco's Time Crisis I, Sega's Top Skater, Atari's California Speed and Midway's Hydro Thunder, which was selected "Game of the Year" during a ceremony at the recent Tokyo Game Show. Gary Vincent, Operations Manager for Funspot, says: "In response to the trends of the times, we have added home consoles to the main event, mainly in recognition of the fact that most players now play at home as well as in the arcades. We feel this will make it a true world championship."
In addition to honoring the players, the Coronation Day Championship, which was equally famous for its awards ceremonies back in the 80s, will also crown the magazines, manufacturers and arcades of the year. Past award recipients include games like Midway's Spy Hunter, Atari's Pole Position and Exidy's Crossbow and magazines such as Computer Games and Video Game Magazine. "Because we are celebrating the end of the century," explains David Nelson of the NH Pro Video Game Team, "we will be commemorating 20 years of video game playing history, noting achievements dating back to the early 80s, like Billy Mitchell's five world records in the 1984 Guinness Book of World Records. Other significant presentations will include awards honoring the 20th anniversaries of Taito's Space Invaders and Atari's Asteroids."
Walter Day, the editor of Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records, the industry's official book of records and originator of the contest, says that the first edition of this contest, which appeared on That's Incredible, is regarded by video game historians as the first authentic video game "world" championship. "The prestige of this contest was unmatched," recalls Day. "The players, who came from every corner of the U.S. and Canada, became overnight media sensations and even had fan clubs of female admirers." Among these early superstars was Ben Gold, a 16-year-old Dallas, Texas native who won the first event. Gold, who still remembers the glamour surrounding the first tournament, plans on coming to this year's edition of the contest -- that is, if his current obligations as a business consultant in Romania don't stop him.
Though the original event lasted only four years, it was a public relations bonanza for the entire coin-op industry, garnering headlines around the world. In spite of its growing popularity, the contest was canceled after the 1986 edition, another victim of the economic bust that depressed the coin-op industry in the mid-80s. Still, each year had attracted more and more media coverage. For example, the second year was attended by National CBS-TV News, Video Games Magazine, and Italy's Video Giochi Magazine. The third year, which was conducted at Captain Video in Los Angeles, was covered by ABC-TV News, USA Today and ABC-TV's Entertainment Tonight and the results were featured in the 1985 Guinness Book of Sports Records. The final year, in 1986, was covered by six different TV stations representing all three networks.
As the final Coronation Day Championship of the 20th Century, this year's event hopes to unite the players and different game platforms into one organized front, committed to raising electronic game playing to the level of a true sport. Among the players who wish to bring this vision into reality is Cristiano Assumpção, team captain of Brazil's official video game team, The Metroid Team. Assumpção says, "We hope to find sponsors to send us to this year's Coronation Day Championship, not only to win the tournament on behalf of all of South America, but to establish relations between our two continents and begin something very good."
Twin Galaxies has been keeping score for the world of video game and pinball playing since 1982 and publishes world records at its Internet web site at TwinGalaxies.Com. Its most well known product is the Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records (ISBN 1887472-25-8), which is a 984-page book containing scores from players in 31 different countries compiled since 1981. The Funspot Family Fun Center, which is an award candidate for "Arcade of the Century", is the second largest arcade in the world and is famous for owning the world's largest collection of early 80s vintage video games.
For more information on Coronation Day, contact Gary Vincent at
Funspot at (603)366-4377. Or, contact Twin Galaxies at (515)472-3882
or go to