From the pages of the past! Ads of yesteryear – American Video Athletic Association

The spontaneity of social media has raised the bar on how competitive gaming can be experienced by its fans as well as how it can bring together rivals.

But what about in the days of when arcades were king ?  To even know what records were out there, you’d have to hit up the magazines covering those events, hope that a big name like Time decided to do a story, or do what someone like Walter Day did and eyeball the scores yourself and record it manually for comparison later. But someone recognized that there would be need to bring these people together somehow.

Twin Galaxies and the groundbreaking work that founder, Walter Day, did to create the first national scoreboard are well known.  But from the early eighties also emerged the American Video Athletic Association. I’m not sure how successful it was, but it didn’t have the longevity of Twin Galaxies and digging up anything on the organization has proven difficult. At the same time, it was still a part of same effort to try and bring together players and their scores.

$12.95 bought you a one-year membership along with a t-shirt, card, a manual on how to be a Video Athlete, and a quarterly newsletter which covers other athletes with statistics and pics. You’ll also get a rating like what Steve Juraszek had when he became a high scorer on Defender (the score in the ad below, 15,756,721 appears to differ from his high score of 15,963,100 reported officially elsewhere).

Ad for the American Video Athlete Association

The featured star, Steve Juraszek, would be in a Time magazine story on video gaming in January of ’82. His record would later be broken on February 7th of the same year by Tony Mattan who had read the story and who happened to be a patron of one soon-to-be very famous arcade: Twin Galaxies. He iron manned Defender for 23 hours to beat it.

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