Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

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Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade
Directed byLincoln Ruchti
Produced byMichael Verrechia
CinematographyLisa Wiegand
Edited byEddie Brega
Release date
  • January 22, 2007 (2007-01-22) (Sundance Film Festival)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

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, North Carolina Eagle Yes
Jeff Brandt Bloomington, Illinois Donkey Kong Jr.
Michael Buck Ottumwa, Iowa Carnival
Leo Daniels Carolina Beach, North Carolina Tempest Yes
Eric Ginner Mountain View, California Moon Patrol
Ben Gold Dallas, Texas Stargate Yes
Steve Landin McHenry, Illinois Jungle King
Mike Lepkosky Spring, Texas Ms. Pac-Man
Billy Mitchell Hollywood, Florida Pac-Man Yes
Doug Nelson Bakersfield, California Pac-Man
Darren Olsen (Chris Steele) Calgary, Alberta Centipede Yes
Mark Robichek Mountain View, California Tutankham Yes
Steve Sanders Clinton, Missouri Donkey Kong Yes
Ned Troide Palm Harbor, Florida Defender
Todd Walker San Jose, California Joust Yes
Joel West Shelby, North Carolina Berzerk 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. Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
  2. ^ Peter Hirschberg. "Peter Hirschberg's Journal: Pixar and Me". Retrieved 2008-07-14.

External links[edit]