Status of record score attempts, 2018 February

So recently I came back to the original reason for starting this blog: record score attempts, primarily on classic video games. For a while, I kind of pushed that to the side when the competitive pinball scene began blossoming again here in Houston.

And then I heard about two big controversies regarding record scores and times. First was the Todd Rogers/Atari 2600 Dragster record controversy (since thrown out, and Mr. Rogers is now banned from the Twin Galaxies site), and second was the more recent controversy over Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong record attempts. (I will probably write about both of these on my other blog, Rant Roulette within the coming weeks, as they are a better fit for that blog than this one.)

Between the two of those, I found myself on the Twin Galaxies website more often in a week than I had been in the previous year or so. And I started looking at the scores in a few games in particular. Those games are Klax, Centipede, Millipede, and Galaga.

The eventual goal of almost everyone in competitive gaming is to be the best. In this case, that’s a world record or a number 1 ranked score. Or, at least something which was a number 1 ranked score at some point in time. I’ll be honest here, I’m aware that I am starting to get up there in years. Centipede, Millipede, and Galaga were brand new when I was in elementary school. Klax was still relatively new when I started high school, a product of the infamous late 1980s/early 1990s puzzle game craze, right before Street Fighter II exploded onto the scene (and we all know the rest of that story). To say the least, there’s only so much time left for me to find a working game I want to be competitive on and learn it. That could be only 10 years from now. If I manage to still be competitive after that, I’ll be amazed at myself.

Right now Twin Galaxies is down, so I’m working from memory on what exactly the scores were. The Klax record is probably the one I have the best chance to beat, at 2.6M+ 2.83M+ (Paul Hornitsky, 2012). That’s medium difficulty, with difficulty ramping on. Just to get my confidence back, I’ve been practicing with difficulty ramping off. The difference is stark: with ramping on, tiles start coming much more frequently, and thus the strategy with ramping on is to score a lot of points quickly early on. My original goal is not to take down the record, but just to get over 1 million to submit to Twin Galaxies, which should stay within at least the top 5 for quite some time (particularly if I get to 1.5M+). Eventually, I might get good enough to make a legitimate attempt at the world record, but then again I might not.

Centipede and Millipede (tournament settings) have many scores well into seven digits (the millions). Realistically, my goal in playing these is to just have my name on a relatively good score (100K or greater for Centipede, TBD for Millipede). As time goes on, I may aim for higher scores, but the reality is anything over e.g. 1M on Centipede is going to take physical stamina I may no longer have.

Galaga (tournament settings) is going to be much the same situation, with a lot of scores I can tell are going to be out of my reach.

I’m not ruling out other titles, but right now these are the three four titles I feel most confident in.

Which brings me to another issue. Right now my living situation is such that I don’t have room for an arcade cabinet. I hope to change this by the end of the year, meaning my first actual record attempt might not be until early 2019. If I can get one together sooner, great. If not, I’m not going to push it. This is something that I plan to make happen; it is just a question of timing.

[Edit: The record for Klax was actually 200K+ higher than I remembered, as I found when the TG site came back up a short time ago. Added Galaga, since it’s another title I feel reasonably confident in and I had added it to my TG profile.]