From dancing up numerous world record scores to her work to help the International Video Game Hall of Fame, Ottumwa, IA's Liz Bolinger has been the topic of a great deal of gaming discussion in recent months.
A lifelong gamer and board member of the IVGHOF, Bolinger recently appeared in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2011 and danced up to claim the official world record scores on every song on the smash hit Just Dance, according to gaming scorekeeping organization Twin Galaxies. Bolinger also has pending scores on Just Dance 2, XBox Kinect title Dance Central and even the classic-era arcade game Nibbler.
Through her website, Liz also aims to help promote video gaming through live video streams and gaming news.
"I don’t remember ever not playing video games," Bolinger said. "My dad has always been a big fan of them. One of my first memories is of walking into what would end up being my bedroom later in life and seeing him playing games on his computer. I was only 2 then. Next thing I know he’s teaching me how to play Bubble Bobble and Qix among other arcade games on his computer and even teaching me how to run DOS so I could play them on my own while he was sleeping."
The love of video games from an early age led to a journey to the beginning of the International Video Game Hall of Fame. After Bolinger's friend Josh Gettings helped start a Facebook page to celebrate the history of video gaming in the small Iowa town of Ottumwa, Liz and her husband Josh joined the cause.
"That’s how the International Video Game Hall Of Fame & Museum was born," Bolinger recalled. "We’ve never looked back since."
While Liz stated that the journey has been difficult, she also feels it has been rewarding both personally and professionally.
"I’d have to say it was one of the best things I ever did," Liz said. "This is such an amazing idea and has so much potential for us all, both in Ottumwa and around the world, that I’m just grateful to be apart of making it happen and enjoy all the wonderful people that I’ve gotten to meet through this."
After a quick attempt at a Just Dance song during last year's IVGHOF event turned into an appearance in the Guinness World Records book, Liz took aim at a number of other record scores.
"A lot of it stemmed from wanting to prove myself as a gamer and that I deserved my position as a Board Member for the IVGHOF," Bolinger said. "One reason I keep going for records, that I never had before I had accomplished these records, was how amazing it made me feel. The first time I seen my name up was exhilarating. Even though I knew I had done it, it didn’t hit me until then. I felt like the equivalent of a super hero."
Just as the IVGHOF exists to preserve and promote the history of video gaming, Liz feels that all generations of gamers should take note of the history of the industry.
"I hope that the current generation could learn what it’s taken to get this far," Bolinger stated. "Not only on the design and programming side but on the human side as well. So many gamers have worked so hard to prove that video gaming isn’t something that should be condemned and destroyed. Many have spent their lives promoting gaming and the gamers that push the bounds of games. I think it teaches a lot about ourselves."
While the IVGHOF exists to serve video gaming and those who have helped make the industry and hobby what it is today, the non-profit organization also requires help and support from the gaming community.
"We’re a very grassroots effort based group so even something small to you, is something big to us," Bolinger said. "We always accept donations whether as money or items. We can always use TVs, video game equipment or collectibles, power strips, picture frames for posters and such that are donated, things to be used as prizes for tournaments we run… anything. All donations are tax deductible since we’re a non-profit organization."
Bolinger continued to state that the IVGHOF also needs volunteers and word of mouth support from the gaming community. In time, she hopes the organization can leave a lasting mark on video gaming history.
"We’re gamers doing this to honor the legacy of gamers and developers and the history that will be made by the future generations," Bolinger said.