Where Is Twin Galaxies?

January 7th, 2014 - "Twin Galaxies closed", "down", "offline", "sold", "gone"....

Over the past several weeks, this blog has been receiving a steady stream of traffic from Googlers searching under these and similar phrases.

Anyone who types twingalaxies.com into their address bar can see for themselves that the Twin Galaxies website has indeed disappeared; offline for almost two months as of this writing.

Being that Donkey Blog's Top 20 Donkey Kong Scores page has for some time been the second-highest ranked Google result for the query "Twin Galaxies" (only TG's Wikipedia entry ranks higher), it was inevitable that many visitors would end up here looking for answers as to what happened, why it happened, and when (or if) TG would return.

That being the case, I felt it necessary to make a post addressing the issue and to provide some answers.

Unfortunately, I have few to give.

Just days after the Kong Off 3 came to an end, the front page of twingalaxies.com was replaced with the following:

For weeks it stayed that way.

More recently, a visit to twingalaxies.com redirected to the-1up.com (the arcade/bar owned by Jourdan Adler) and returned a more ominous result:

The latest development came today, with visits to the domain now showing a GoDaddy "park" page.

So what happened to Twin Galaxies as an entity and as a website, and when are either coming back?

Notwithstanding the discussion and gossip that sprung up immediately in the wake of the website's disappearance, there are only a small handful of people who can answer these questions with anything other than blind speculation, and not only are none of those people talking, they are going out of their way not to talk.

Here's what is known:

  • During or shortly after the Kong Off 3, a falling out, dissolution, or termination of some kind occurred among Twin Galaxies ownership—the relevant parties being co-owners Jourdan Adler, Richie Knucklez, and Websignia (the web hosting/site creation team that built TG's new site in 2013).
  • Less than two weeks after twingalaxies.com disappeared, Websignia quickly launched a new website called GamerLife365.com, utilizing the underlying design skeleton and social networking platform that they had built for twingalaxies.com.
  • In a December 1st email welcoming former twingalaxies.com users to the new GamerLife365.com site, Websignia identified themselves as having been co-owners of the company, and that "on November 20th, it was made abundantly clear that our vision for Twin Galaxies was no longer in alignment with the vision of the other owners."
  • Richie Knucklez, in a post to the KLOV forum, stated: "The day after I returned home from the Kong Off 3 I was informed by phone call I was no longer part of Twin Galaxies... I am deeply saddened by where the chips landed but I only hope the best for Walter's legacy. I do not have any answers."
  • During the latest broadcast of Richie Knucklez' "Arcade Culture" live Web show, no mention whatsoever was made of Twin Galaxies or his affiliation with it, except to indirectly assert that it would not be discussed—near the end of the broadcast, Knucklez said that it was time to address "the elephant in the room", then held up a stuffed elephant and tossed it at the camera with a resigned smile.

Clearly a major upheaval has taken place. It was just over 14 months ago (in the weeks before the Kong Off 2) that TG changed hands from former owner Pete Bouvier to Adler/Knucklez/Websigia. Today's development (the move away from the-1up.com to a GoDaddy park page) suggests that TG might yet again be in the process of transferring to new ownership.

What this bodes for the future of the scoreboard, the site, and (perhaps most relevant to the DK community) the Kong Off is unknown.

My position throughout has been, and will continue to be, to avoid editorializing, speculating, or disseminating rumors about the situation. Revelations are bound to come in the next few months, and I am content to wait for them.

Whatever the case, being that the Twin Galaxies organization is in limbo at the present time, the scoreboard is at least temporarily frozen (including any and all would-be Donkey Kong score submissions), and while Knucklez has alluded to plans for a Kong Off 4, nothing has been officially announced or scheduled.

Any major events will be relayed here as they develop.

UPDATE, 3/29/14: Almost three months after this post was made, our "major event" came to pass!

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do believe that TG has already been purchased, and this person's identity is known. Hint: it's someone already in the gaming industry.

Chrispy said...

Well, being Anonymous, why not just spill it? :D

And that goes for any other Anonymi who might like to chime in here!

I wanted to keep rumors out of the post itself, but if anybody feels the urge to shoot a load of tasty secrets into the comments, be my guest.

Anonymous said...

Looks like if there are new owners they are continuing the stupid tradition of not being transparent. This keeping things secret that don't need to kept secret garbage needs to end.

Anonymous said...

The merry-go-round that is (was) "Twin Galaxies" continues. Lessons to be learned going backwards in time. (A) too many cooks spoil the broth...having 2 or more co-owners does not work for what is (was) basically a grassroots service provider. (B) a "businessman" is not what TG needs to get its act together...someone who actually understands what it means to be both a gamer and a business manager is needed. (C) Walter's "legacy" is only creating a scoreboard to track scores...everything else he touched went down the drain financially between TG old, TG new and the IVGHOF. For any "new TG" to succeed Walter needs to keep his distance.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies chief referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Anonymous said...

For info on what the twin galaxies score database is really worth, google "tgdb charts".

Anonymous said...

TG is worth bupkis. Between the existing debt, minimum trademark value, and questionable value of its intellectual property rights, the only potential value lies in the non-MAME world record performance submissions. If digitized and broken down into 10 minute blocks on a YouTube channel this could rake in some serious dollars each year, but it will take a LONG time for that to happen.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies chief referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Anonymous said...

Is Twin Galaxies still relevant or necessary in the internet age, anyway?

It may have made sense in the 1980s when it wasn't possible for people to distribute VHS tapes of their accomplishments. Anyone can post their video on Youtube these days.


Anonymous said...

wow some seriously great comments..

Anonymous said...

wht da

Michael Sroka said...

TG's purpose in the internet age is to have a resource for all to know the highest score (speed run, etc). That's it. $$$$ should no be a issue. Once a small and tiny fraction of fame and money got involved it turned to shit. Like Walter said, Chasing Ghosts and KoK were the best and worst thing that ever happened to Twin Galaxies.}

Anonymous said...

i heard rudy ferretti bought twin galaxies from all the endless snow sales

Anonymous said...

"Richie Knucklez'... no mention whatsoever was made..."

It's not like his being an owner caused people to believe the new TG had a chance and spent money to submit scores...oh wait. This would be like Warren Buffet buying an investment company and staying silent after it turned out to nosedive.

Anonymous said...

It sounds as if some company called Websignia was the majority owner of Twin Galaxies and called the shots. Richie claims he had no say in the decision to charge for submissions.

Richie posted this message on the KLOV forums:

"over the past week, I have received numerous emails and phone calls concerning Twin Galaxies and my involvement. The day after I returned home from the Kong Off 3 I was informed by phone call I was no longer part of Twin Galaxies. In all honesty, in the short time it seemed like I had my hand on one of the ropes. I did not. I had nothing to do with the decision to charge for submissions, and I never once had access to the database. The time spanned between the Kong Off 2 and Kong Off 3 my personal life took a terrible turn for the worse and just trying to stay alive took precedence over Twin Galaxies. This is no way is an attempt to sling mud, but the sad truth is I had great ideas and visions of a network of Barcades/Arcades/Home collections all across the world unified, doing contests, celebrating gamer's accomplishments. Whenever there are partnerships involved, different egos clash and blame gets thrown. Large knives end up landing in unexpecting backs. I am deeply saddened by where the chips landed but I only hope the best for Walter's legacy. I do not have any answers. Even though it sounded like I was part of the machine, I come to find out I never really was. I feel like a huge fool and can only pick up the pieces and do what I do best. For now that job is being a single Father. I am sorry for those I have let down."

Anonymous said...

.....Yet every week people keep gaming, Walter keeps inspiring, and global communities gather around Twitch streaming. Exciting times. wht da!

Anonymous said...

Rampant speculation, but it's been said that Jace Hall of leet lounge live has a desire to purchase the company. They hinted at it a bit with a few *wink* *wink* statements during one of the marathons they showcased over the past few weeks. Also moneybags mcdonald dropped in to the lounge for an impromptu visit that seemed more like a business trip than a friendly drop in.
Either way, I think Twin Galaxies is done for good this time. Anyone who wants to start something new would be better served by using a new name as "Twin Galaxies" as a brand has lost quite a bit of the luster it once had...especially with the mishandling by the crew that bought it this past time. I don't think there is any recovering from the mediocrity shown over the past year alone and losing the Guinness contract was pretty much the last straw.
Time for someone else to step up and get back to the basics in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

If you read the entire thread on KLOV, there's lots of good info there.

Statements from owners, who has the rights to the Kong Off, and two existing alternatives to Twin Galaxies, are all there.

Anonymous said...

"For any "new TG" to succeed Walter needs to keep his distance."

That includes you, too, Mruczek.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....King of Kong sequel? "The rise and fall of Twin Galaxies".

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that there are already alternatives to Twin Galaxies that exist. Aurcade and Highscore.com are two of them that have been discussed on KLOV.

Aurcade is dedicated to arcade games played in an approved venue. Highscore.com accepts all score types and validation is via peer review.


Anonymous said...

It would take years build up a decent score database from nothing. Your suggestion that highscore.com is an alternative to TG is a joke. At least recommend MARP for MAME scores: replay.marpirc.net

Adam Gradwell said...

wow! twin galaxies gone!! I wonder what happened.

http://adamswiiu.blogspot.co.uk

Anonymous said...

billy mitchell is a turd sandwich :)

Anonymous said...

Walter's "legacy" is only creating a scoreboard to track scores...everything else he touched went down the drain financially between TG old, TG new and the IVGHOF. For any "new TG" to succeed Walter needs to keep his distance.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies chief referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion


STFU give me a break. Anyone who puts a freaking signature in an anonymous comment needs to get over themselves. Don't insult Walter.

Former player said...

At this point, I'd appreciate information from any credible source. Robert certainly counts.

BTW, you can use Name/URL if you aren't going to be anonymous, but it's not obvious with so many choices that are mostly unusable.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who says "Don't insult Walter" clearly has no clue as to what Walter has done from the inside. Having seen this first-hand for more than 5 years I know what I am talking about.

Not sure what the big deal is about putting a signature as anonymous...I do not have a "URL" so I picked anonymous. At least I am unafraid of posting my name,

As to the person who said I should stay as well, I never indicated I would ever come back. I have been away from TG and for that matter from the gaming forums for quite some time now. I'll venture a guess that this comment came from either Rudy Ferretti, Scott Stilphen or Richie Knucklez.

As for whoever the new TG owner is, I hope they avoid the recent pitfall of doing a 180 degree shift from barely being break-even to charging gamers ridiculously high fees for verifications. That took a product which was shaky at best due to Pete's involvement and killed what was left of it. A grassroots approach would better serve the community to start, and then see how it goes from there.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies chief referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Robert T Mruczek said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chrispy said...

Robert, I have taken the liberty of moving your most recent comment (about sourcing scores from multiple entities) to the post that it is a direct response to. Your input is appreciated and I would like others to see it.

Robert T Mruczek said...

Thanks for moving the comment, Chrispy, although when I click on the highlighted link to the other post I get an error message that the post does not exist.

After being part of TG, first as a gamer, then as a staffer, and then as a gamer again, mostly since 1997 but originally from back in 1984, I have seen a good number of suggestions from the general gaming community as well as from the staffers and volunteers as to what TG should/must do to be the best that it can be.

Truth be told there is no single or right solution. Money alone, meaning TG becoming self-sustaining financially, is only a piece of the puzzle. It would surely help but was never the core of the issue. Nor was paying volunteers...it would have been nice to have compensated volunteers/referees, of course, but that was not critical.

The most essential problems had to do with TG keeping pace with the influx of new game titles and new submissions, both with maintaining the scoreboard and the validations. No matter how many volunteers/referees TG had there was never enough time. One single score submission could be as little as under a minute to as long as 2-3 straight days to verify. Since most volunteers/referees had real-life considerations first and foremost (i.e. family and job concerns), TG never was able to keep pace on a consistent basis.

Whatever the new management team decides to do, clearly administrative availability is a must. Volunteers/referees are wonderful, but a few hours a day each from perhaps a dozen or less people never seemed to be enough. Between the vaidations and database maintenance, never mind the articles, more hands in the pot were definitely needed at any given time.

I would recommend to the new owner(s) to focus on infrastructure considerations first...managing and expanding the existing legacy database, catching up on verifications (Lord only knows how they will locate all the UN-verified submissions from immediately prior to TG's latest demise) and choose the initial administrative team.

Secondary considerations would be fulfilling special staff/volunteer positions...media/PR, promotional, event coordination...however they see fit to organize the business.

Third considerations, once things are up and running again, would be the financials. Start with a modest goal of making TG as close to break even as possible. If they feel there is no way to do this based on sponsorship alone, then agree upon a very, very modest fee for either a two-tiered membership structure (level one is all existing services for free, level 2 for maybe a token $5-20 per year gives you extra value added services). If they feel that submissions cannot be handled without a fee, then by all means have one, but a SMALL fee...a dollar a submission/tape, or 25 cents a score...as an introductory fee. If the gaming community response is robust, then KEEP the fee level at those prices, why rock the boat ? If it fails miserably, then retreat back to no fee and think of other ways to raise funding. But definitely do not come out like gangbusters with a ridiculously high charge per tape/score.

Use the "Book of Records" release wisely and start to charge for advertising. 25-30 pages per book at $500-1,000 per page, with extra for front and/or back cover advertising. At least make the publication of the book self-sustaining financially.

And that's just a start. TG can still come back...it just won't be easy.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies chief referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Anonymous said...

As a gamer from the golden age I am very disappointed that my official scores are no longer accessible on the web. I understand the financial woes though. Nowadays people pay $0.99 for a poor smart phone game. I would think that paying $0.99 to be verified as having a noteworthy score is worth the money to a high score achiever.

Anonymous said...

Robert T. Mruczek tried to sue the "king of Kong" producers for fraud and had his ass handed back to him.
http://youtu.be/v3lltxquS2Q

Anonymous said...

Walter Day and Twin Galaxies represented fair and honest Arcade gaming scores. It's no secret the current platform(PS3 Xbox) video game market is plagued with video game makers who are obsessed with cheats/video game handicaps/computer assistance and taking advantage of unknowing gamers for their own personal pleasure and false Multiplayer leaderboard status, simply look at Call of Duty leaderboards and their franchise. They are the most cheated games on the market today. I respect Twin Galaxies when it comes to pinball and arcade scores that is where they need to stay. To see them writing articles about Call of Duty, COD high scores, COD world records(LoL), is a complete and utter farce and an insult to Walter Day ,his legacy and TG's reputation. Call of Duty is the most cheated platform game on the planet today, to see people representing twin galaxies using Walter Day's creation and TG's reputation in a vain attempt at validation for cheating simply disgusts me. To me TG will, and always will represent fair and honest Arcade gaming high scores, to resurrect it for anything else is folly and for shame. Cheats = Novice Gamer
Kong On .........

Anonymous said...

This article contains information that it claims comes from an inside source on what happened and the current status of the organization:

http://newsle.com/article/0/131068738/

Anonymous said...

You guys realize it is back right? With a slightly different look. No links to the records db or anything. http://www.twingalaxies.com/

Anonymous said...

Site has nothing but logos. No links of any kind.

Anonymous said...

Not true. Look again!

Anonymous said...

the tgdb charts link is here: http://tgdb-charts.wikia.com/

Shawn Deny said...

That being the case, I felt it necessary to make a post addressing the issue and to provide some answers.
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