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And now for something completely pointless...
November 27, 2000 7:01 PM   Subscribe

And now for something completely pointless... Why on earth would anyone care enough about something this to invest all the time it took to pull this off? Just to break the record high score on a video game which only appears in museums now?
posted by Steven Den Beste (27 comments total)

 
Because he enjoys it?
posted by jbeaumont at 7:13 PM on November 27, 2000


that's the most amazing thing i've ever heard of.
posted by corpse at 7:21 PM on November 27, 2000


this whole thing sounds like an onion story.
posted by sugarfish at 7:22 PM on November 27, 2000


To increase his odds for success, Hayes brought in the control panel from his own Centipede machine to insert into the Funspot machine. "I'm very used to the feel of my own trackball," explains Hayes.

Now That is dedication.
posted by th3ph17 at 7:37 PM on November 27, 2000


Only appears in museums? Um, no. You'll find Centipede (and many other "classic" video games) on location all over the place, including in an arcade near me.
posted by gluechunk at 7:41 PM on November 27, 2000


There's a Centipede arcade in the cafeteria where I work.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:44 PM on November 27, 2000


"You can only get six shooters at any time, so the margin for era is narrower than on any other legendary golden age game..."
posted by palegirl at 8:33 PM on November 27, 2000


Anyone who wants to try to beat his record in the comfort of their own home is encouraged to download M.A.M.E. (the multi-arcade machine emulator) for your OS of choice, and the Centipede ROM.

If you've never tried M.A.M.E., you should. It supports 1,429 unique arcade games as of the last beta, everything from Space Invaders to Mortal Kombat 3.
posted by waxpancake at 8:36 PM on November 27, 2000


As someone who sacrificed untold quarters and at least three major tendons to that game, I salute him. My favorite quote from the story:

"Twin Galaxies will not accept scores achieved by trapping the Centipede or by emptying the screen of mushrooms. The flea must always be falling and the player must always be shooting."

On one hand, it has the ring of timeless wisdom. Yea, verily, into every life the flea must be falling. On the other hand, if this guy hit 7 mil in points without ever - ONCE - resorting to the time-honored technique of trapping the Centipede against a shroom and letting it eat a stream of unremitting lead, then this is truly one of the most important accomplishments in the field.

Doesn't beat my record of hitting the hyperspace jump button on Asteroids 13 times without dying, a feat that led many to hail me as The One, but that's another story.
posted by lileks at 8:37 PM on November 27, 2000


Sorry, this is Centipede we're talking about, after all.

Centipede is the only game that consumed more of my money than Crazy Climber.
posted by lagado at 8:38 PM on November 27, 2000


Looking back, i once spent an unhealthy amount of money and time playing Hyper Olympics. It was a week well spent at the time at a caravan park, got the high score on that particular machine too. I had a great technique which enabled me to go, where no one has gone before.
posted by Zool at 8:43 PM on November 27, 2000


I still think the perfect Pac-Man score was cooler.

 To achieve the game's maximum score of 3,333,360 points, Mitchell navigated 256 boards (or screens), eating every single dot, blinking energizer blob, flashing blue ghost, and point-loaded fruit, without losing a single life. "It was tremendously monotonous," said Mitchell...
posted by sudama at 9:51 PM on November 27, 2000


It must be a generation thing. If you grew during the dawn of video games then you have the bug.

I went to a few arcades growing up in Chicago where there was a regular group of us. We were always competing to see who could beat what game. Then when the first person "popped" it, the next step was to own it. The either meant your could finish the game one one quarter or play it indefinitly.

To own a game was a real status thing. I managed to do it for an embarrassingly large number of games. Heavy Barrel, Super Contra, Afterburner(stand up version only-the full motion sit down version messed me up), Joust(only with my friend playing with me, sorta counts), 1942, Raiden 2, Shinobi, Rastan, Xenophobe, Star Trek (the original one with the overhead/3D view), Dragon's Lair, Mach 3 (the bomber game, not the fighter), and NARC to name a few.

Actually for NARC is was the original version only. The trick to the game was that instead of shooting the drug dealers you would score more points by busting them. I would end up busting all of them and getting 5 or so free lives on the first level. Each level after that I'd usually get more. It was sick. Since Bally's was based in Chicago, they had put that machine there at The Chicago Game Company (which no longer exists, sigh) across the street from Lane Tech HS for a test run. One day I came there and someone was at the machine writing down numbers from screen after screen of game statistics. When he left the game was a lot harder and the end boss was stupidly hard. I was never able to finish it again.
posted by john at 10:43 PM on November 27, 2000


Interestingly enough, modern arcade games don't cost much more to play than the "classic" ones did 17 years ago, which is remarkable.

Hmmm... You're right. Given Moore's Really Good Guess, they should cost far less. :)

My own obsession, way back when, was Williams' Defender. It was funny, my best friend and I would play in this liquor store, and when we were about ready to quit the Armenian owner, with a big grin on his face, would say in a voice reminiscent of Sallah in Raiders, "Just one more?"
posted by aurelian at 12:10 AM on November 28, 2000


modern arcade games don't cost much more to play than the "classic" ones did 17 years ago, which is remarkable

They do over here (UK) - at least a pound a go (about $1.40) often £2 for the newer ones - they were 10 pence when I was a nipper playing Space Invaders, Asteroids and Battlezone.
posted by Markb at 12:59 AM on November 28, 2000


Why on earth would anyone care enough about something this to invest all the time it took to pull this off?

I can only say -- if you have to ask, there's no way anyone could explain it to you. :)
posted by webmutant at 1:38 AM on November 28, 2000


Um...does anyone remember that Seinfeld when George tries to rescue the Frogger machine with his high score?

I miss Burger Time.
posted by thc at 4:36 AM on November 28, 2000


As someone who has the third highest score in R-Type for the Sega Master System (I used to be in #1), I can say this is a very big deal.
posted by vitaflo at 7:14 AM on November 28, 2000


Again, MAME to the rescue. I have all those games at my fingertips. Burgertime, Frogger, NARC, Space Invaders, Heavy Barrel, Defender, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Battle Zone, Super Contra, After Burner, Joust, 1942, Shinobi, Rastan, Xenophobe, Star Trek, MACH 3 and Crazy Climber. No Raiden 2 (encrypted sprite data) or Dragon's Lair (Laserdisc). Oh, well.
posted by waxpancake at 7:52 AM on November 28, 2000


Note for video game junkies: buy Van Burnham's book when it comes out next year. (I've contributed the piece on the ZX Spectrum, but that doesn't really count as self-linking because she's done the majority of the work.)
posted by holgate at 8:21 AM on November 28, 2000


If you're nostalgic for Dragon's Lair (in which the Don Bluth animation was always more entertaining than the actual game play), these days it's available as a play-via-your-remote DVD.
posted by bradlands at 8:52 AM on November 28, 2000


That article reads like the plot of an independent film.

There's a couple places here in Portland that have vintage arcade games. I've been stopping by one on Hawthorne called Ground Control. They've got Frogger, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede, Junior Donkey-Kong and a few more.

Space Invaders controller is a little weak -- frustrating but Ms. Pac-Man is pretty good. I was there the other night and walked out with my hand cramping. No very high scores, though.
posted by amanda at 9:12 AM on November 28, 2000


This is only tangential, but check out this ebay auction. Enough stuff to keep you happy for a weekend or two.
posted by thirteen at 9:22 AM on November 28, 2000


God, was I jealous of that kid on "Silver Spoons" with the arcade games in his living room. My friend had a KISS pinball machine for a while, but it kept breaking. Those things require a lot of maintenance.
posted by sudama at 9:26 AM on November 28, 2000


Am I the only one who shelled out all his money shooting falling guitars in the Journey Arcade game? None of my friends back then liked it, but I was addicted...then Mr. Do came along..
posted by schlomo at 9:47 AM on November 28, 2000


I was so addicted to Bubble Bobble. That perfect Pacman score is amazing. I can't believe anyone would spend that much time trying to get it.


posted by jay at 6:39 PM on November 28, 2000


I was so addicted to Bubble Bobble. That perfect Pacman score is amazing. I can't believe anyone would spend that much time trying to get it.
posted by jay at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2000


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