Walter Day

The First Video Game Religious Pilgrim


  • Benjamin Jozef Banasik University of Sydney



religious experience, pilgrimage, Walter Day, video game, perpetual gaming, Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Twin Galaxies, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Atari, flow


This article examines the life of Walter Day, a key figure in the history of competitive video gaming and whose involvement in this industry has been connected to his own spiritual beliefs and directions. Here, the influence of Day, the former owner of Twin Galaxies and creator of the first International Scoreboard, will be presented by examining the history of his life. A pivotal religious experience of Day, while under the influence of LSD in the 1960s, will be shown to have directly informed his decision to join the Eastern influenced new religious movement of Transcendental Meditation under the stewardship of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi which gave him the tools and direction that would be essential for his video gaming career. The training that the Maharishi would provide to Day will be explored and shown to have informed his understanding of religious experiences, or flow states, and how this could manifest with a player of a classic video game at an arcade. This understanding will be shown to have interested Day enough not only to endeavour to be the first video game pilgrim, but for him to continue a lifelong pilgrimage of recording and sharing oral history of players who reach their full potential.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Benjamin Jozef Banasik, University of Sydney

Benjamin Banasik is a PhD candidate within the Studies of Religion Department at the University of Sydney and former Mayor of Wollondilly Shire Council. Benjamin holds a Bachelor of Theology and completed his BA Hons in 2016 at the University of Newcastle, focusing on the Jewish exegetical similarities in Origen of Alexandria's writings. Benjamin's PhD is focused on the religious experience of perpetual gaming.


Bainbridge, William S. 2013 EGods : Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Banasik, Benjamin Jozef 2017 Apophatic Gaming: The Perpetual Journey to ‘Catch Em’ All’. Loading... The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association 10(17): 77-92.

BBC 2014 The Maharishi’s World Tour. BBC World Science: Witness History, 3 March. (accessed 25 October, 2019).

Brisbane Pinball & Arcade Collective 2019 Walter Day Trading Card Ceremony at BPAC 2019 Showcase. Facebook, 10 August. (accessed 9 October, 2019).

Campbell, Heidi and Gregory P. Grieve 2014 Playing with Religion in Digital Games. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly 2014 Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology. New York: Springer.

Day, Walter 2010 Walter Day Retires from Twin Galaxies / Our Day with Walter Day Part 2. YouTube, 4 March. (accessed 12 October 2019).

Walter Day Collection. Walter Day Collection, 1 May. (accessed 12 October 2019).

Retro Asylum Podcast Episode 143: Walter Day. Online: October 12, 2019).

The Retro Hour Episode 91: Twin Galaxies and the Classic Arcades with Walter Day. (accessed 9 October, 2019).

Mark and Me Podcast Episode 23: Walter Day, 4 January. (accessed 11 October, 2019).

Warped Zone Podcast Interview with Walter Day, 13 August. (accessed 11 October, 2019).

a Walter Day Meditating at Uluru. Facebook, 22 August. (accessed 30 October, 2019).

Detweiler, Craig 2010 Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Descartes, René 2000 Discourse on Method. In Philosophical Essays and Correspondence, 46-73. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub.

Forem, Jack 2012 Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Carlsbad: Hay House.

Forsthoefel, Thomas A. and Cynthia Ann Humes (eds) 2005 Gurus in America. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Gregory of Nyssa 2004 Homily 12. In Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith: Union, Knowledge, and Divine Presence, translated by R. A. Norris Jr., 360-389. New York: Oxford University Press.

James, William 1917 Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co.

Humes, Cynthia Ann 2005 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Beyond the TM Technique. In Gurus in America, edited by Thomas A. Forsthoefel and Cynthia Ann Humes, 55-80. SUNY Albany: State University of New York Press.

Husserl, Edmund 1999 Collected Works / Edmund Husserl. Volume 8. The Idea of Phenomenology. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

LIFE Magazine 1983 Video Game V.I.P.S. LIFE Magazine, January.

Maslow, Abraham H 1983 Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Morris, Chris, and Walter Day 2005 Pac Man Turns 25. CNN Money, 10 May. (accessed 12 August, 2019).

Norman, Alex 2011 Spiritual Tourism: Travel and Religious Practice in Western Society. London and New York: Continuum.

Ruchti, Lincoln 2006 Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade. US, Men at Work Pictures.

Seklir, Andrew, and Tim Kinzy 2016 Man vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler. US, Filmbuff.

Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard 1983 Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard - The COMPLETE High Score List for June 17, 1983. (accessed 11 October, 2019).

Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Arcade Scoreboard., March 7, 1997. (accessed 11 October, 2019).

Weber, Joseph 2014 Transcendental Meditation in America: How a New Age Movement Remade a Small Town in Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

Wise, Joshua 2019 The Call to Endless Adventure: The Dynamic Unending Ascent into God and Virtual Worlds. Dialog 58(4): 307-315



How to Cite

Banasik, B. J. (2020). Walter Day: The First Video Game Religious Pilgrim. Fieldwork in Religion, 14(2), 160–180.