History of eSports: How it all began – ISPO.com

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The next steps in the direction of eSports again came from the USA. The arcade operator Walter Day from Ottumwa in the state of Iowa founded the first referee service for video games on February 9th 1982 with the “Twin Galaxies National Scoreboard”. The background was a story in Time magazine in 1982 about how 15-year-old Steve Juraszek set a record in Defender. Walter Day, however, knew a young player in his arcade who had beaten that record by far.

After consulting with machine manufacturer Williams and game developer Namco, he learned that there was no national leaderboard for Defender or any other video game – the initial spark for the creation of his service. Incidentally, the name Twin Galaxies is derived from the name of his own arcade. In addition to maintaining a national record list, “Twin Galaxies’ Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records” was soon designed as a universal set of rules to prevent possible cheating by cheats or the like.

In 1983, he founded the U.S. National Video Team, the world’s first professional gaming team. He also organized the North American Video Game Challenge, the first video game masters tournament in the United States. Thanks to his extensive efforts around the topic of “video games”, he can confidently be called one of the pioneers of eSports.


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