Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

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Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade
Directed by Lincoln Ruchti
Produced by Michael Verrechia
Cinematography Lisa Wiegand
Edited by Eddie Brega
Release date
  • January 19, 2007 (2007-01-19) (Sundance Film Festival)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade is a documentary film directed by Lincoln Ruchti about the golden age of video arcade games. The film premiered January 22, 2007 at the Sundance Film Festival and has also been shown at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival, as well as other film festivals.


In the 1980s, video games were synonymous with arcades, and games were bringing in enough quarters to fill the Rose Bowl. This led Iowa entrepreneur Walter Day (with the support of various game manufacturers) to declare himself the sole authority on high scores. In 1982, Day launched his Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard. Teenage superstars came from all over North America to join Walter in a Life magazine feature spread, which recognized them as video game world champions. This led to the nationally televised 1982 Video Game World Championships, a touring National Video Game Team, and the promise of fame, fortune and groupies.

The film revisits Day and the Life players, now middle-aged men, as they reminisce on the arcade scene, its demise, and the dreams that crashed with it.


Stephen Garrett of Time Out New York compared the film to the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which covers similar ground and also premiered at the same time, opining that Chasing Ghosts explores the material far better.[1]

Pixar's Andrew Stanton, director of the films WALL-E and Finding Nemo, saw the premiere of the film at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and enjoyed it so much that he arranged for a private screening of the film at Pixar's Emeryville, California campus.[2]

Appearing in the LIFE Magazine photograph[edit]

Gamer Home Town in 1982 Game of Note In '05 Reunion/Documentary
Sam Blackburn Wilmington, NC Eagle Yes
Jeff Brandt Bloomington, IL Donkey Kong Jr.
Michael Buck Ottumwa, IA Carnival
Leo Daniels Carolina Beach, NC Tempest Yes
Eric Ginner Mountain View, CA Moon Patrol
Ben Gold Dallas, TX Stargate Yes
Steve Landin McHenry, IL Jungle King
Mike Lepkosky Spring, TX Ms. Pac-Man
Billy Mitchell Hollywood, FL Pac-Man Yes
Doug Nelson Bakersfield, CA Pac-Man
Darren Olsen (Chris Steele) Calgary, AB Centipede Yes
Mark Robichek Mountain View, CA Tutankham Yes
Steve Sanders Clinton, MO Donkey Kong Yes
Ned Troide Palm Harbor, FL Defender
Todd Walker San Jose, CA Joust Yes
Joel West Shelby, NC Berzerk (arcade game) Yes

2005 reunion[edit]

A modern reunion was held on September 24, 2005 in front of the downtown theater in Laconia, New Hampshire, in an attempt to mirror closely the look and feel of the original photo. Footage of this reunion is included in the final scenes of Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade. The group photo includes Walter Day, Billy Mitchell, Steve Sanders, Robert Mruczek, Ben Gold, Joel West, Sam Blackburn, Todd Rogers, Ron Bailey, Darren Olson (Chris Steele) and Kent Farries.


  1. ^ Stephen Garrett (August 16–22, 2007). "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". Time Out New York Issue 620. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  2. ^ Peter Hirschberg. "Peter Hirschberg's Journal: Pixar and Me". Retrieved 2008-07-14. 

External links[edit]