Video Game Hall Of Fame To Open In Iowa The International Video Game Hall of Fame gets its kickoff this week in the town of Ottumwa, Iowa. Melissa Block talks to Mayor Dale Uehling about his hopes that the hall will grow into a Cooperstown-scale tourist attraction. There's no building for the Hall of Fame yet, but there is a four-day festival called Big Bang 2010. Organizers are expecting as many as 5,000 people to attend.
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Video Game Hall Of Fame To Open In Iowa

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Video Game Hall Of Fame To Open In Iowa

Video Game Hall Of Fame To Open In Iowa

Video Game Hall Of Fame To Open In Iowa

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The International Video Game Hall of Fame gets its kickoff this week in the town of Ottumwa, Iowa. Melissa Block talks to Mayor Dale Uehling about his hopes that the hall will grow into a Cooperstown-scale tourist attraction. There's no building for the Hall of Fame yet, but there is a four-day festival called Big Bang 2010. Organizers are expecting as many as 5,000 people to attend.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "PAC-MAN")

BLOCK: Dale Uehling is Ottumwa's mayor. He joins us from city hall. Welcome to the program.

DALE UEHLING: Happy to be with you.

BLOCK: And Ottumwa, the Video Game Capital of the World, according to whom?

UEHLING: So the governor made a proclamation, and the mayor, that Ottumwa was the kind of the video capital of the world, or at least of the United States. And so we've been pursuing the concept of developing a museum and hall of fame to go along with the fact that we're claiming that Ottumwa is the Video Gaming Capital of the World.

BLOCK: And who would dispute you, I suppose?

UEHLING: Well, we haven't had anyone yet.

BLOCK: There's still time.

UEHLING: We're looking at this from the standpoint that Cooperstown, you know, has become a very prominent tourist attraction.

BLOCK: For the Baseball Hall of Fame.

UEHLING: Right, and we're larger than Cooperstown. We're actually a town of 25,000 and have a pretty good highway system. We're on a four-lane highway. You know, we feel that we're in a good location. We're on Amtrak. And so we're just going to continue to work on this hall of fame. It's going to be several years before we get that constructed, but in the meantime, we're going to have different events.

BLOCK: So you'll be inducting the Video Game Hall of Fame, but there is no actual physical hall of fame at this point.

UEHLING: We do not have a hall of fame, but we have an event center, which will be kind of our headquarters, and we will have a whole host of things going on. There's going to be a place set up for bringing your own computers and having competition there, which will go on all night if they want to.

BLOCK: How many people are you expecting in Ottumwa for this event this week?

UEHLING: Well, we're hoping that there'll be somewhere in excess of 3,000, hopefully up towards 5,000. So, a lot of activities, and we'll be actually dedicating what we call Central Park as the Pac-Man Park. The founder and manufacturer of "Pac-Man" will be here on Friday.

BLOCK: Now, Pac-Man Park just for this week or forever?

UEHLING: Well, it's, at this point, temporary. We have a process that we have to go through if we're going to change the name of a park. And right now, it will be Central Park with a sign that also says Pac-Man Park.

BLOCK: Mayor Uehling, do you think you'll be tempted to sit down this week and play some "Pac-Man," play some "Donkey Kong"?

UEHLING: Well, I may try it. It'll depend on how things go and how much time I have. I really have never gotten into video games. I'm lucky to I guess be able to use my computer as much as I do and get my emails and that type of thing.

BLOCK: Yeah, well, good luck.

UEHLING: All right, thank you.

BLOCK: That's Mayor Dale Uehling of Ottumwa, Iowa, talking about Big Bang 2010. That's the city's video game festival. This year, they're honoring 28 gamers and game creators, along with the classic game "Pac-Man" being inducted into the new International Video Game Hall of Fame.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "PAC-MAN")

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