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Video game documentary premiering at Sundance

Kevin Kelly

A documentary detailing the 1982 World Video Game Championships will be hitting the screens at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It's called Chasing Ghosts or Rulers of the Galaxy depending on which source you read (Variety calls it Chasing Ghosts, but the Sundance site calls it Rulers of the Galaxy. They probably had to change the title since a film called Chasing Ghosts was released last year starring Michael Madsen) and is directed by Lincoln Ruchti ... perfect for an Xbox Live Marketplace download, right?

The movie focuses on the championships held at the Twin Galaxies Arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa, which was declared the "Video Game Capital of the World" in 1982 by the mayor of Ottumwa, and then later made official by the governor at a special ceremony in 1983. So, if you've been wondering where the capital is, now you know. Start planning your trip now. It also stars top video gamers like Billy Mitchell and Darren Olsen, and contains plenty of retro-gaming action.

Twin Galaxies opened in 1981 after founder Walter Day toured over 100 arcades in four months, recording high scores on all the video games, and then brought them to his arcade as the "Twin Galaxies National Scoreboard." Although the arcade closed down in 1984 (wow, video game capital of the world doesn't hold much staying power, does it?) they still track high scores. Check out their Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records published in 1997. In today's day and age they live on the web, where you can search to your heart's content on their site. For instance, we just found out that Donald Hayes set the current official high score of 589,350 for Frogger in 2005. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

We'll be checking the flick out at Sundance and talking to cast & crew, so look for that in January.

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