Mark Robichek, Undefeated Frogger Champion from 1982 loses his title to world famous Donald Hayes
on March 25th, 2005

Donald Hayes

Donald Hayes wins $250.00 for beating undefeated Frogger Champ Mark Robichek

This latest World Record by Donald Hayes makes for an unprecedented eighth (8th) classic video arcade game world record that he simultaneously holds.

This Grand Slam has never been done before. Only Billy Mitchell has come close to this new legend.

Retro Gamer Magazine

Mark Robichek, in the news by the famous Retro Gamer Magazine in England Link
Mark Robichek has had the World Records on video games such as Frogger, Moon Patrol, Pengo, Tutankham and Bagman.

Back to: Walter Day Conversations

Below: 1982 Frogger (aka Frog)
Undefeated World Record of 442,330 since 1982

Mark Robichek has lost his Title

Mark Robichek now beat by the Guru Donald Hayes of Salem, New Hampshire
with a New World Record of 589,350 points
Frogger Stand-Up Coin-Operated Cabinet

Funspot Arcade

Donald Hayes New Frogger World Record of 589,350 points
was set and video taped at Funspot Arcade, Weirs Beach, New Hamphire. Donald Hayes High Scores

In one hour and 18 Minutes drive time, Donald Hayes can be at the World
Famous Funspot Arcade, NH to beat yet another 20 year standing High Score!

NEW World Record on "Frogger" (Arcade) Link

       Twin Galaxies Forums Forum Index -> Coin-Op Video Games 

TG Board of Directors

Location: Brooklyn, NY
 Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:51 pm    Post subject: NEW World Record on "Frogger" (Arcade)   

BREAKING NEWS - NEW WORLD RECORD ON "FROGGER" (ARCADE) As reported on Thursday April 7th, 2005

Hello fellow gamers: In 1981, Konami release "Frogger", which quickly captivated the attention of gamers worldwide, and which is now regarded as a classic from the golden era of classic arcade gaming. First-time players watched the demo screen as seven small green frogs hopped across the screen one-by-one forming a straight line, and then hopped upwards in formation to spell out the word "Frogger". The default high score of 4,630 points, a relatively easy goal to achieve. And it appeared that the score "turned over" after 99,990 points. Little did players realize how difficult reaching the first 100,000 point mark would be, let alone the long-standing world record of more than 440,000 points by Mark Robichek that would stand for more than twenty years. Donald Hayes, one of today's hottest classic arcade gamers who has seven (7) classic arcade world records under his belt, has added an eighth title, by becoming the new world record holder with a final score of 589,350 points, the first and only gamer to pass the 500K mark. And in doing so, Donald wins a $250.00 "bounty" that I placed on this record earlier in the year.

Funspot Family Entertainment Center Donald achieved his score Friday, March 25th, 2005, at the Funspot Family Entertainment Center in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire in the USA, the source of dozens of world records over the past six years, and home to more than 170 classic arcade and pinball titles from the golden era of gaming. His performance took 2 hours and 55 minutes, and he reached the 148th stage, guiding his frog to its lily pad and safety more than 735 times in the process. Most gamers have difficulty getting past the 5th stage when there is just a single alligator on the top-most row underneath the lily pads. "Frogger" is a rare classic arcade title where every obstacle and enemy facing the player is, for the most part, on the screen at the same time, leaving the player an excellent opportunity to plan out every move ahead of time. Yet if that is the case, then why do so many players have difficulty getting good at the title ? The answer is simple. "Frogger" is a game that relies heavily on careful timing and a steady hand. And in some cases, nerves of steel. Pengo Flyer

And so, with the sounds from "Pengo, "Depth Charge", "Carnival", "Stratovox" and one of Donald's favorite titles, "Star Wars", keeping him company in the background, he sets up his video camera as he has has done hundreds of times in the past. How much will he get this game...there's no way to predict. As a world-class player, Donald knows from first-hand experience that you never know when a great game will come, and this was no exception. What follows are key moments in Donald's performance, which again reached the 148th stage, followed by an interview with Donald and then some afterthoughts. ******************************* THE PATH TO VICTORY (Note - due to the proximity and angle of the video camera, as well as the lighting, it is occasionally difficult to make out the last three digits of the score, thus in some cases, I will refer to the score down to the thousands digit. For example, if Donald is at 152,xxx then I will indicate 152K) Stage 5 - Donald finishes the Stage with 20,120 points and earns an extra "Frogger". Still on his first life, he now has six "Froggers" including the active one and five (5) in reserve. Stage 10 - Donald experiences his first his first brush with the timer running out, but seems to have matters well under control. He finishes the Stage with 39,290 points. Stage 14 - At the 54K mark, Donald loses his first "Frogger" in the water. He finishes the Stage with 56K, and at this point has no idea that his game will last nearly eleven times longer. Stage 25 - Donald cracks the 100K barrier with 101K, at the 28:53 mark. Stage 50 - On track for 4K per stage, Donald cracks the 200K barrier but not before losing another life in this stage, again in the water section, down to four (4) in reserve. Stage is finished with 202K at 1:56.27 Stage 51 - Donald just barely finishes telling someone that "The alligator got me again" when he makes a miscalculation at the top left lily pad and ran his frog into a wall. Three lives down, three to go. Stage 58 - This was his first brush with a potentially unavoidable death. With one slot to go up top, a gator was showing its face on top of the pad. There wasn't much time left for an alternate plan, so Donald braved it and succeeded, finishing the stage unscathed with a score of approx 235K. Another fraction of a second and things might have been different. Stage 60 - The fourth "Frogger" is lost at the bottom left as Donald is run over by a vehicle. Two lives remain, with a long way to go. Stage 75 - Still on his fifth life, with one in reserve, Donald cracks the 300K barrier, a feat that very few players can claim. The time is 1:24.35 Stage 81 - I can't tell who Donald is talking to, but someone asks him "Donald...You still playing the same game ?" to which Donald simply says "Yeah". The person then asks "Going for the world record ?", but if Donald responded I couldn't tell...too many sound effects coming at once. But considering his score is now around 326K, I'm sure this was on his mind...especially since his previous personal best was possibly beaten at this point. Stage 100 - Donald cracks the 400K barrier with 1:56.08 on the game clock. Still with one life in reserve, and the world record probably less than 12 minutes and 11 stages away, he is in great shape. Of interesting note, finishing the stage means that Donald has brought his frog to safety for the 500th time !! Stage 106 - At this point, Donald becomes second place on the all-time list ahead of long-time "Frogger" master, Pat Laffaye. Only one goal remains. Time now approx 2:03.45 Stage 109 - Donald gets caught in traffic in the lower section at loses his fifth "Frogger". The time is 2:07.30 and the score approx 434K. The world mark is only two stages away, and Donald is about to come into stage 110 where only a single gator appears on top underneath the lily pads. Moments like these are what defines world champions, so Donald kept his composure and faced what could very well be his last stage. Less experienced players would have wilted. Score at the end of stage 109 is 436K. So close, and yet so far. Stage 110 - At the 437K mark Donald was faced with a VERY tough leap to make, perhaps the toughest this game, as time was running out. He pulled it off and without missing a beat he kept on going. Donald finishes this stage with a tad over 440K...I'm not 100% sure what the precise score is, but he has GOT to be close to the world mark at this point. Stage 111 - Donald finishes the stage with 443K at the 2:10.50 mark, so at some point in this stage he set a new world record !! But "Frogger" allows for little time to exult in your score, and a momentary lapse in concentration could prove to be costly, so Donald played on. Wave 125 - The 500K mark is passed at 2:27.02. "Five hundred thousand" is all Donald says at this point, clearly understating the magnitude of his personal achievement. Wave 134 - "Frogger" almost becomes gator food when Donald, faced with a gator's face appearing in the last lily pad, switches to the lower level log and then back up to the bring "Frogger" to safety. Score at the end of the wave is approx 536K. Wave 145 - Donald almost misses the top left lily pad, but pulls through to finish the wave with 579,930 (I think), but definitely 579K+. Wave 147 - Wave completed with 588.1K as near as I can tell...looks like 588,110 but I'm not sure. Wave 148 - A brush with a vehicle in the middle of traffic cuts his last "Frogger's" life short, and his game ends with a final score of 589,350 points approx 2:55.00 into the game. "It was getting close to closing time !!" Donald mused to Gary Vincent, the operations manager of Funspot, who was watching his performance. Someone says "That's awesome !!". Then Donald says "I get money for this !!", referring to my personal "bounty" prize issued this past January of $250 to the person who can beat the world mark. They also discussed the "Costanza Bounty" which I will discuss in the "Afterthoughts" section of this article. Donald finishes his conversation with a close-up of the score, and then comments that the game took less than three hours, and then the world's greatest "Frogger" performance to date officially came to an end as the taping stopped. *******************************

INTERVIEW WITH THE NEW WORLD CHAMPION RTM - Donald, your performance on "Frogger" makes for an unprecedented eighth (8th) classic video arcade game world record that you simultaneously hold the title for. Any thoughts on being the first gamer to reach this plateau ? DBH - I think back to when I set my fifth record on Dig Dug which matched Billy Mitchell's record from the 80's. It would be over a year before I would get my sixth record, and then to get the seventh and eighth in such a short period of almost doesn't seem real. It is certainly an honor to be compared to and recognized with the great players from the past like Bill. RTM - What was your previous high score on "Frogger" before you set the new world mark ? DBH - My previous high up until the last couple of months was 234,500 which I achieved during the 2003 MAME Decathlon. My arcade high was about 177K from June 2004. In February, I broke through the 200K barrier for the first time at Funspot, and then in early March I had a 275K game which was witnessed by TG referee Shawn Cram. The weekend after that, I had a 318K game on videotape which was cut short due to the power being turned off at Funspot because they were closing early due to a snowstorm. I had also been practicing on MAME during this time and had two games in the 350K range and several other high 200K and low 300K games. RTM - Wow, that's quite a pick up in points. Was this totally unexpected, or did you feel that a great game was just a matter of time ? DBH - After I got the 275K game at Funspot, I did feel that I was approaching the point where I might be able to approach the record, and the 318K game helped confirm that for me since I still had one man in reserve when the power was turned off. I had a couple weeks where I wasn't able to make it to Funspot for any record attempts but I kept practicing on MAME. However, the week before I broke the record I was having an absolute nightmare of a time on MAME. It seemed like every night I was having several terrible games one right after another where I'd lose men on very early screens and would have to just dump the game and start again. On Good Friday, I got out of work a little bit early so I headed up to Funspot since Brian Kuh said he was going to be up there all day. I played a few other games first and then decided to take a shot on Frogger, and that's when the record fell. RTM - This effort earns you a $250 video game "bounty". Are you going to try for the "Costanza Bounty" of more than 860K for the thousand dollar prize, and what do you think your chances are, especially now that just a week ago you played again and scored 453K, not quite your current record but your second best achievement to date ? DBH - Yup, I am definitely going to make a few attempts at the "Costanza Bounty". It will certainly not be an easy task as the game will be a little over 4 hours in length. I am encouraged by the 453K that I achieved this past weekend since I feel that I had at least 4 avoidable deaths during the game so it potentially could have been much higher. RTM - The more world titles you own, the more difficult it becomes to simultaneously hold them. Have you contemplated this at all, or do you just keep focusing on the next game challenge and if someone should happen to take on one of your current scores and pass it, then you would revisit the title at that time. DBH - I am fully aware of the difficulty of holding on to multiple records especially as the number increases. It's hard enough to hold onto just one or two. I've heard recent reports of potential challengers on at least three of my current record games so I certainly have to keep an eye on those. I do try to play an occasional game on each of my record games, but if any of my records should be surpassed then I will deal with it at that time. RTM - There are approx 2,000 and maybe more unique classic arcade titles, and you own the world record on eight, so that leaves many challenges remaining. I know from our previous interview (see "Millipede" article) that a few titles simply do not interest you, while a few others thus far you have more than distinguished yourself on and potentially can take down the existing world mark, on titles such as "Q*Bert" and "Berzerk". So…what's next on the agenda ? DBH - I have one goal in particular that I want to accomplish soon, but I'm keeping that one somewhat quiet for now. There's a list of games I'd like to work on but I haven't really decided which order to pursue them. You mentioned both Q*Bert and Berzerk and those are certainly possibilities. RTM - You are a very serious, intense and competitive player. I'm just curious…are there any titles that you like to play just for fun, like "Pong" or even a favorite pinball title ? For me it's "Warlords" by Atari, and years ago was "Death Race" by Exidy way back in 1975. DBH - That's a real interesting question because I play most every game for fun and because I enjoy it. However, I am quite competitive by nature so even though I'm playing for fun I still strive to do the best I can. RTM - Before we leave off, do you have any words of wisdom to offer to aspiring "Frogger" players worldwide ? DBH - I would have to say that Frogger is mainly patience, timing, and being careful. Most of the time, it is not necessary to rush your moves, and if you watch for a few key situations you can increase your odds of survival. *******************************

AFTERTHOUGHTS Wow !! I have to admit that earlier in the year when the "bounty" announcements were made that I was looking forward to someone reaching the world mark, but I never dreamed that it would have been surpassed by almost 150K !! When Donald and the unknown gamer discussed the "Costanza Bounty", another mark in history, so to speak, they were referring to the fictional character George Costanza from the ultra popular "Seinfeld" show as George tells Jerry Seinfeld in one memorable episode that his score of over 860,000 points is still listed on the local pizzerias "Frogger" machine along with his initials of "GKC". Of course real players know that "Frogger" only shows five scores, not ten, and doesn't allow players to enter their initials, and doesn't have a 100,000 digit, but the point was made. Donald is this-close to setting another major classic arcade gaming mark as I have a $1,000 reward just waiting to be claimed if anyone can beat George Costanza's fictional score. And at this point, what was once though to be impossible no longer seems so. This performance is Donald's eighth major video game world record, and at this point there seems to be no slowing this player down. His roster of achievement includes "Dig Dug", "Tron", "Centipede", "Millipede", "Super Zaxxon", "Domino Man" and "Super Cobra". And then there's his many records on the emulation platform, including a record on "Crazy Balloon" that is so outrageously high that the year he achieved it, he beat the previous year's world mark by a factor of nine !! I've asked Donald in the past "So...what's next ?", to which he offered a polite but coy reply "I'm keeping that a secret !!". Considering that recently, Donald set personal bests of 103K on fast-bullets "Berzerk" on his first life (the world mark is approx 230K), and over 1.5M on "Q*Bert" under tournament setting (the world mark is 2.2M), both on the MAME emulation platform, he may very well be working on world records nine and ten as we speak. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say in yet another memorable episode !! Donald, the staff of Twin Galaxies would like to congratulate you on your most recent, memorable classic video arcade game achievement, and we wish you continued success in the many gaming challenges that you face ahead. And we look forward to verifying and reporting your next video game achievements. Robert

_________________ Robert T Mruczek Twin Galaxies - Editor and Chief referee Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion (work E-MAIL) ****************************** -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Manufacturer: Sega/Gremlin Link Year: 1981 Class: Wide Release Genre: Platform Type: Videogame Monitor: Orientation: Vertical Type: Raster: Standard Resolution CRT: Color Conversion Class: Konami Classic Number of Simultaneous Players: 1 Maximum number of Players: 2 Game play: Alternating Control Panel Layout: Single Player Ambidextrous Controls: Joystick: 4-way (up, down, left, right) Sound: Amplified Mono (one channel) General Description Sega's first big arcade hit is one of the most well-known arcade games today, with sequels still being made for home consoles. Frogger puts a great spin on a simple concept: crossing a busy road. The player plays as a frog with the goal of getting across the screen while evading traffic and jumping on lily pads, logs and alligators to make it home Description Try and get your frog from one side of the road, over the river and into your home. To complete a level you must dodge cars, jump on logs and alligator backs while avoiding snakes, alligators, and otters. Bonuses are awarded for getting bugs that momentarily appear, escorting lady frogs home, and getting five frogs safely home. Cabinet Information Froggers are typically only found in the Sega/Gremlin laminated wood-grain convert-a-cabinets. There are large side-art stickers that included a large hopping frog with a suitcase. Cheats, Tricks and Bugs BUG: Sometimes the lady frog is invisible (normally purple) until you accidentally jump on it. Then she appears white with red legs on the frog's back. You still get 200 points. BUG: From the middle section between the river and the road, jump upwards to a pad and jump back so where you have been moved to the left just a few pixels. You should be able to go off-screen to the right. (If not, repeat.) For more fun, jump upwards to where a pad should be. You will make it, but you will die. BUG: Part of the background music will cut-out from time to time, only leaving the primary melody playing. BUG: The game is not always even-handed with the rules, and frogs are occasionally killed on perfectly valid jumps. BUG: When timed just right, if you jump into a home base that has an alligator and the alligator disappears mid-jump, your frog will die but will also make it home safely! BUG: Moving left and right on the very top log can sometimes be very slow, and is more likely to occur after previously eating a fly. TRICK: You can usually jump so where you are dangling off of the left side of a turtle, but not the right. TRICK: If you play this game on a PC emulator (such as MAME) and use a code for unlimited time, you will hear the entire background song to its finish. This was never possible on the actual arcade game since you always ran out of time before the song finished playing. TRICK: The frog becomes controllable in attract mode once it reaches the very top log. TRICK: When the frog in the demo in attract mode is at its last move, you can control it with no tokens! Conversion The game uses the standard Konami wiring, but there are no buttons which limits the number of games that can be played in this machine.

Game Introduction If you continually take excessive time getting the frogs up to their homes at the top of the screen, the vehicles and the items in the river increase in speed thus making the level more difficult. Game Play The score rolls over to zero after 100,000 points. frogger point table

Miscellaneous Sequels, such as Frogger 3D, were created for the home computer. Many clones were also created, the best of which was called Pacific Coast Highway. It is often unnoticed, but when you complete a level, the noses of all the frogs (from left to right) will turn into hearts and their eyes will light up. You can play a Shockwave version of Frogger online here: Play a JAVA emulated version of the game by visiting Frogger Owners Manual

Thank you, Paul Dean, spy hunter champion, Millennium June 28, 1985
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