Hi Late last night I noticed that my Twitter feed had #NationalVideoGamesDay trending. Now, I realised this must be an American thing, but given my interests (and I’m assuming they are interests that I share with a lot of you) it sounded like the kind of made-up-holiday I could finally get behind. One I’d be happy to bring over to sunny South Africa. Plus, I was intrigued as to what made yesterday’s date so special.
So first things first – as soon as you type in ‘video game day’ or the like into Google – you’ll notice that two dates pop up. One is yesterday, July 8. And the other is 12 September. Now, while being overwhelmed with excitement at the thought that we’d get to celebrate this wonderful day twice a year, I still struggled to find out the reason this day(s) existed. Then I found two great articles. The first written by Dustin Bailey (pcgamesn.com). And the second written by well-known game preservationist Frank Cifaldi writing for gamehistory.org. Both are worth a read and you can check them out by following the links above. But in short – we can thank David Earle for these wonderfully nonsensical holidays.
Who the heck is David Earle?
Now if the name David Earle doesn’t sound that familiar to you, don’t worry. He is not some video game stalwart that was somehow been lost in the sands of time. In fact, as far as the articles above explain, the only thing we know about him is that he was president of something called ‘Kid Video Warriors’. And that in a publication called ‘Chase’s Calendar of Events’ Earle (and Kid Video Warriors) simply sponsored July 8 (and then later September 12) and basically self-pronounced these random dates: “National Video Game Day”.
So basically, some random man submitted the date to a random publication, and because this submission included some kind of monetary donation they printed it for several years. And it kind of just stuck. It makes very little sense and I love it. I really wish we knew more, but for now, we’ll just leave you with Earle’s 1991 guidance as to how to mark this auspicious date if you’d like to start preparing for September:
A day for kids of all ages who enjoy videogames to celebrate the fun they have while playing them and to thank their parents for all the cartridges and quarters they have provided to indulge their enthusiasm.