Posted Octobober 25, 2010

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An Interview with James Vollandt 1985 Joust Marathon Iron Man, by Paul Dean James Vollandt (1985) Joust James Vollandt's 1985 Iron Man World Record score has just been beat by John McAllister with a new high score of 107,301,150, however James Vollandt still holds the longest game time ever played record of 67 1/2 hours The 1985 Iron Man Contest was based on time and not on score
James Vollandt Joust Marathon Stats: Start Time: 11:00 am Friday July 5, 1985 End time: 6:30 am Monday July 8, 1985 Total Hours of Game: 67 hours and 30 minutes John McAllister Joust Marathon Stats: Start Time: 2:26 pm Wednesday October 20 2010 End time: 8:15 pm Friday October 22, 2010 Total Hours of Game: 53 hours 51 minutes

Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Subject: Joust - Iron Man Contest - James Vollandt: 1985 World Record 

An interview with Jim Vollandt, Joust World Record Holder and 1985 Iron
Man Contest
Joust Longest game ever played of 67 ½ hours by Paul Dean

(PD): Do you go by James or Jim Vollandt?
(PD): Jim I was hoping to get a blow by blow conversation about on your record
on Joust in 1985 which made the World Record book.
(PD): Here are some questions about your great Jousting accomplishment World Record
done in 1985 - Please give me your  thoughts for my site if you don't mind. 
(PD): So here goes, and thank you in advance for your answers!
(PD): James Vollandt - Some Joust Questions
(PD): Congratulations on your marathon this is a great accomplishment in classic
gaming. Of course Joust this was still a modern game in 1985.
(PD): Joust is an arcade game produced by Williams Electronics in 1982, and 
ported to numerous platforms in which the player controls a knight armed with 
a lance, mounted on either an ostrich (player 1) or a stork (player 2). Since 
this is a one player game, your steed is the ostrich with the yellow jouster
on top. Unfortunately, I don't think you have a choice of choosing the player 2 
side on a 1 player game. Do you prefer playing on the first player side or
second player side when playing Joust Doubles, any preferences?   

(JV): I never really played doubles in any serious context.  Some of my friends
would want me to play doubles with them but they were not very good so it was 
purely for fun and camaraderie.
(PD): What was your start time and day and finish time and day? How many hours
total was your marathon?

(JV): The Marathon started on a Friday at 11AM and I played until Monday morning
with the game ending at 6:30AM.  The total hours were 67 ½.
(PD): First a couple of questions about the social aspects of Joust:
(PD): Joust Multi-Player questions:
(PD): This is a fun game in its social aspect as you can play a two player game
with a friend and either attack them or support them with specific gaming strategies.
What do you prefer, single player or doubles and what strategies do you play in

(JV): Definitely singles - On the rare occasion I played doubles I played as
a team, not as an opponent.
(PD): What is the furthest you have gone in doubles in hours and score? Have you
played doubles recently and would you consider doing a doubles TG high score
either on marathon or tournament settings?

(JV):  Funny that you ask about a doubles marathon.  Watching John play, I 
actually think we could rock playing doubles together.  I am a traditional
bottom perch player and I have never seen anyone play the top like John can.
Somehow he gets them to swoop up and down and his timing to knock them off is
almost perfect.  I seem to remember the shadow lords flying much tighter to 
the top and that is why I decided to bring them down to me on the bottom. 
I would definitely consider a TG high score but I am nowhere near being in 
marathon condition right now.  
(PD):  The story of Joust:

(PD): On July 8, 1985 James Vollandt completed the world record score of
107,216,700 on Joust which is an important score and game in the video gaming
marathon world because this score was a result of the 1985 famous Iron Man contest
at  Johnny Zee's Family Fun Center, Victoria, BC Canada which lasted 67 ½ hours
and it is considered the longest game play that any one has ever played with an 
extremely high score, and done live in front of Twin Galaxies referee's with major
money to be won to anyone who can go 100 hours during that marathon.
(PD): Can you tell me about the drive up with Jeff Peters and how you knew him,
I understand he was driving up with you?

(JV): Yeah Jeff and I met at local arcades.  Although I played a handful of
games extremely well, I thought Jeff was the best overall video game player
I had seen - every game he touched he played better than 99% of gaming population. 
We had a mutual respect for each other which gave us some common ground to become 

(JV): Jeff had two buddies from the LA area that drove up with us.  They were
both good gamers too but not necessarily marathoners.  They were absolutely
awesome in helping Jeff and I with keeping track of men, getting us food, helping
to keep us awake etc… The total time for us to get from Southern Cal to Victoria
was almost 24 hours.  We made a stop in Portland to see a friend of mine and 
then we had to wait for the ferry to cross over to Canada.  We all took turns 
driving but that long of a drive took its toll on all of us and we only got
there one day before the marathon which is really not enough time to be fully 

(JV): My favorite moment of the drive up and back was coming back into the
US when the customs agent asked me if I was bringing more than $10,000 into
the US.  We all busted out laughing saying we should be and told him about 
the Iron Man contest.  It was one of those things you had to be there for
but what a question to be asked at that time.

(PD): Can you tell me anything interesting tid bits or things you recognized
at the Johnny Z contest and the infamous Roy Shildt, and superstar Billy Mitchell,
Dwayne Richard, etc.

(JV): Roy was doing his usual jockeying to get a substantiated missile command 
score with the TG referees.  I know there is a lot of history with Roy but I
never had any issues with him but he was obsessive about his missile command

(JV): I did not talk to Billy that much but he had an interesting marathon - 
he had his machine placed near the bathroom with a long extension cord and 
actually took his game into the bathroom with him instead of taking a break.
I am sure this is because Centipede only holds a handful of lives but it 
was certainly a noteworthy difference from the other competitors.

North American Video Game Challenge - January 12-13, 1985
Captain Video Arcade - Coronation Day
Mike Sullivan, Jeff Peters, Phil Britt, Jack Gale and Donn Nauert (1985 Invitational)

(JV): Another tid bit I have not seen in any articles but I really remembe
 was Donn Nauert (b. 03-21-1965) - The Cheyenne wizard.  Donn was from Austin
 Texas (if I  remember correctly) On the first night, it was fairly quiet and 
 Donn must have had a miscue - he broke the midnight silence with an emphatic
 "Jesus H Christ - what the hell was that" in his Texas accent.  That was
 the only thing I heard out of Donn the whole marathon but it sure broke
 up the monotony of the middle of the night.

 (PD): Are the Freon rumors true about you using extreme measures to stay
 awake at Johnny Z's?

(JV): This is either an urban legend or if I did use Freon, it froze my
memory.  This even was 25 years ago but I could not imagine why I would
do anything to cause long term harm to myself.  In fact, I though Jeff
and I were the best prepared of any of the marathoners to keep us comfortable.
I took a director's chair and customized it to give me maximum back support,
padded the arms and made sure they were just the right height for the game.
I used weight lifting gloves on my hands.  When my hands and fingers got
sore, I put Ben Gay on them and slipped them back into the gloves.  My 
back started cramping so I had one of Jeff's friends apply Ben Gay on my
back and then wrapped my torso with Ace bandages.  I wore sunglasses to
keep the glare from wearing out my eyes.  I was there to win it and I would
think using Freon would be more damaging than helpful.

(JV): Another fun urban legend one of my coworkers found on the internet
was that I supposedly wrapped someone up in a rug and tossed them out of
the window of the hotel where the gamers were staying at.  I was like -
come on, where does this stuff come from?  I would have been arrested if
I had done something like that.  You can't believe everything you read
- especially on the internet. 

From Twin Galaxies Web Site: Ch 12 link
Iron Man Contest - The Video Game & Pinball
Masters Tournament by Walter Day of Twin Galaxies

"James Vollandt Plays Over Sixty-Seven Hours

The six contestants included Billy Mitchell on Centipede, Jeff Peters
on Q*Bert, Mark Bersabe on Asteroids, James Vollandt on Joust, Tom Asaki
on Nibbler and the Ms Pac-Man-playing Japanese man – who’s name is lost
to history.

The final chapter of the Iron Man Contest is exclusively owned by
eighteen-year-old (b. August 20, 1966) James Vollandt, who continued
onward alone, for another twenty hours, until his record of sixty-seven
-and-a-quarter hours won him an entry in the U.S. edition of the Guinness
Book of World Records. The Tuesday, July 9, 1985, issue of the Victoria-Times 
Colonist published a nice write-up on Vollandt’s siege. “He’s in the 
Record Book, but not in the Money,” the headline said. Vollandt took
a total of four twenty-minute breaks – one of them involuntary. The
machine took its own break at 3:00 a.m. on Monday, July 8, when its
joystick malfunctioned. Vollandt’s accumulation of 210 men was wiped
out, leaving him none in reserve.

Earlier in the night, he had fallen asleep for fifteen minutes on 
the machine. His stored up men had dropped from 100 to 40 during the
snooze. He dabbed his face with a cloth dipped in freon to keep himself
awake. He subsisted on a diet of McDonald’s fast food – allowing for
only four meals during the entire marathon. For the last twenty hours,
Vollandt got no breaks, it was constant warfare to keep the game going.
When he quit at 6:00 a.m., he had only six men left."

(PD): Joust Marathon: At what point did you think you could beat this 
world record and decide that you were going to go for it?

(JV): The story behind the Iron Man contest was TG was receiving submissions
of ridiculously high scores with incredibly long times and the verification
process had some requirements but really was heavily reliant on an honor 
system.  You had to have witnesses sign your claim form and stuff but all 
of that could be dummied up.  TG wanted to have all of the marathon players
play in front of judges, head to head, with the winner being acknowledged
as the marathon champion of the world.  You could pick any game you wanted,
factory settings, and you had to engage an enemy at least once per minute 
(no hiding in a corner).  You could have a 5 minute break every hour or
could build them up for 12 hours and take a one hour break.  No one could 
play your guy
(PD): How did you here about  the Iron Man contest back in 1985 and were
you following high scores and reporting high scores back then?
(JV): I had a number of world records at the time and Walter notified me
of the tournament.  I had a couple of marathon scores in the 20-30 hour
range along with some individual game scores.  I always had a tight group
of games I played so I really only followed scores on the games I was 
interested in.
(PD): Did you win some other major tournaments back then?

(JV): I won a slew of local tourneys including back to back years at
the LA County Fair.  I won by such a wide margin at the Fair they 
actually rewrote the rules to exclude "prior years winners" by making 
them ineligible.  Over time, I started getting black listed at arcades 
because I would come in when they open, rack up a ton of free men, 
then give the game away.  I was really shocked when this started 
happening but it also made me realize just how special this talent was.
(PD): You came close to winning the $10,000 grand prize for playing 
100 hours on one game, what were your feelings about that, and just
missing the grand prize? Did you get any prize for being the best?

(JV): My goal was to do the best I possibly could.  I did a trial
run of 53 hours and scored 100MM a few weeks before the Iron Man 
to prepare so I knew I could push 3-4 days.  Although the money 
would have been nice, I was much more proud of the accomplishment.
That money would have been gone pretty quick but that record for 
time still stands today.  And, just for the record, 67.5 hours is 
a long long long way away from 100 hours.  Those who marathon know
each hour becomes more and more difficult.  Going another full day
was much more than playing for 24 more hours. In regards to any other
prize, a local arcade sponsored me so my entire trip was paid for. 
That was pretty cool as I will remember that trip for the rest of my 

(PD): Did you know about Twin Galaxies in the 1980's? How were you
introduced to Twin Galaxies and when did you start submitting high
scores to this organization?

TG Leaderboadd for James Vollandt link 
 Brea, CA
United States  

Game                              Score    Place
Black Widow                       930,100   1   
Galaga                           2,278,190  19   
Joust [Marathon/Single Player] 107,216,700  1   

(JV): I honestly don't remember how I heard of them, it might have
been through Jeff Peters.
(PD): Some questions regarding Joust and your Marathon Game:

(PD):  What do you like about Joust that you decided you needed to
go for the record? 

(JV): The record was for time, not score (that just ended up being 
a by product of playing so long).  At the time, I thought that game
gave me the best chance to go the longest I possibly could.
(PD): Did you think your score would ever be beat and what are your
feelings about the John McAllister's Joust Marathon world record?

(JV): Actually I did, and I am shocked it has taken 25 years.

(JV): With regards to John's record - it seems that everyone is
blurring two records into one.  First of all, when I did the Iron Man
contest, score was completely irrelevant - it was about time.  I played
extremely conservative and played far more waves than John did.  People
ask me what does it mean to be "conservative".  For example, John did
a great job attacking the shadow lords by taking them to the top of
the screen.  When you play the bottom, the lava troll gets a good number
of them for you but you don't get any points for them.  This is why
John scored slightly more points in 12 less hours.  In my trial run, 
I played 53 hours and scored 100MM which is very close to the same pace
as John because I played for points and not necessarily for time.

(JV): So it does not surprise me someone beat the score.  I watched 
John's game for several hours over the 2+ days and so many people blogged
how he was crushing my score because he was doing it so much faster. 
I just thought it was a shame they did not truly understand the difference 
between time and score.  I had hoped John would go for time too but he 
was just exhausted and already had the score record.
(PD): Do you think anyone will ever go 100 hours on Joust or another game?

(JV): I am one of those people who never say never but if they play 
all the rules including breaks, engaging the enemy and do not take 
stimulants - it is highly unlikely.
(PD): What is the longest length of time you played a marathon game?
Asteroids and Joust seem to be your longest marathons.

(JV): Joust at 67.5 hours.  But if I was to go for time again, I
would do Gauntlet.  I played for 36 hours and quit with 160,000 
health points (it rolls at 100,000 but I had 60K more after the roll). 
It is less taxing on you physically and I could take legitimate 1 hour
breaks every 12 hours.

James Vollandt - Gauntlet

(PD): How do you prepare for a marathon, do you exercise daily
and eat health foods or try to stay awake for long periods of time
getting used to the idea of being sleep deprived?

(JV): I was playing competitive tennis so I was in really good
shape.  I played in a tournament where I had to play 7 matches 
(not sets, MATCHES) in one day.  I had to push myself physically
so I already had the mentality to play through fatigue and strain. 
I didn't do anything special as far as diet goes other than to
avoid sugary foods and soft drinks.

(PD): While playing do you stick with simple peanut butter sandwiches
and water, are there things you try not to eat - what did you eat?
How often are you eating and drinking during the marathon and do you 
try not to consume too much food as this will mean you have to take
more breaks?

(JV): Interesting question.  Bananas are great energy boosts and 
the potassium also helps avoid cramping - I actually learned about
eating bananas while I was playing tennis.  I drank Gatorade for
electrolytes but there was no monitoring of how much or how often
I ate or drank.  I went to the bathroom when I had to go.
(PD): Were there times during your marathon where you were feeling
a lot of fatigue? Where you having any physical pain? 

(JV): The fatigue is cumulative, the nights were harder than the 
days because there were fewer people rooting me on.  My back and
hands started cramping around the 40 hour mark and my eyes were 
getting really strained and irritated after about the 50 hour mark.
 It was more of a lethargic feeling than pain.
(PD): Did you have a break schedule?

(JV): No, I took them as needed.
(PD):  What do you think about drinking power drinks with marathons
containing electrolytes like Gatorade or Propel - Did you do this?

(JV): I drank Gatorade and Diet Coke - Gatorade has some sugar but that
is offset by the electrolytes.  I think it is a good move to use power drinks.
(PD): What was your high score before your Joust Marathon?

(JV): 100MM which took me 53 hours to play.  As I mentioned earlier, 
the marathon was about time and not points.
(PD): Was this one  of your favorite games in the 1980's, what were
your top 5 you liked to play?

James "Jim" Vollandt also has the world record on Black Widow

Black Widow Atari 1982

(JV): TOP 5

1.      Gauntlet
2.      Black Widow
3.      Joust
4.      Robotron
5.      Rygar
(PD): How much time did you spend in the arcades in the 1980's
and how old were you when you started to master these games?

(JV): That is another interesting question.  I had the knack to 
learn games pretty quickly.  People used to ask me why I wasted 
my money on video games and I asked them what can they do for three
days on a quarter.  I was 16 when I got hooked and played the 
majority of time I was not in school, work, or playing tennis.
(PD): Did you get your basic strategies all on your own or did
you have a group of friends that worked on it together?

(JV): Since I was by far the best of my friends, I was the
pioneer - although I did pick up a few tricks in tourneys. 
The single biggest trick I was shown was how to kill the
Pterodactyls on Joust.  Without knowing how to kill the 3 
at the beginning of the round, there would be no way to 
effectively marathon that game.
(PD): What or who pushed you to get very good at these games?
Did you have serious competitors which would push your scores
higher in order to be the top score on the high score table?

(JV): No, I pushed myself.  It was always to test my will and
see what I was capable of.  I thrived on people telling me
something cannot be done.
(PD): Are you in touch with the players you played with
back in the 1980's?

Steve Harris, Perry Rodgers & Jeff Peters US Natonal Video Game Team (1986)

(JV): Not really.  Other than Jeff, I never hung out with 
other players.  It was not intentional but I was marching to
the beat of my own drummer.  I missed out on some good times
though so I do wish I had made more of an effort to get with
other gamers.
(PD): Do you miss not having an arcade to go to these days 
to play the classic games or are you satisfied with the hom
arcades and MAME?

(JV): I hated home arcades like Nintendo and Playstation - I 
need the full control panel to work with, not some hand held
device trying to decide if I need to hit A, B or whatever. 
To me, if you can master the controls of a game, you can 
master the game and I never did like the hand held controllers.
I get a lot of people wanting to challenge me on their home
system but it simply is not apples to apples so I never got
into it. I do wish there were more classic arcades around - I 
would probably play much more but all of them now have games
that play on time so you have to keep putting money in.
(PD): Do you play the modern games in the arcades like Dave & Busters
or home console games like Wii, xbox and the first person shooters 

(JV): I have played Wii - I liked the tennis because it mirrored 
actually playing tennis.  Dave and Busters games are all timed
games so they can squeeze more money out of you and since I 
was used to tremendous value per quarter, I never really got 
into those types of games.
(PD): How often do you play classic coin-op video games per week?
Do you take weeks off and then come back to it?

(JV): I rarely play because the old classics are so hard to find.
Probably the most common is the Ms Pacman/Galaga console - I
will play a game of Galaga if I am somewhere and need to kill 
time.  I played Galaga at a Chucky Cheese and had the entire
restaurant huddled around me.  I played to over a million without
losing a man then gave the game over to the kids to play.
(PD): Do you play on your own alone or is there a group of
people that get together as a social event at different home
arcades in the area?

(JV): There are people I would see at arcades that I knew but 
because I planned on playing 8+ hours on a given day, I usually
went there alone.
(PD): When did you stop playing Joust in the 1980's and did you
ever play it again after your 1985 world record? Did you go for
other world records after the Joust game?

(JV): Joust faded away along with all the other games I used to 
play - I just moved on to other things.  I have played Joust since
and did not lose a step but I have not played it at all in the
last 10 years
(PD): What is the most amount of extra men you have had in storage
in your marathon game? 

(JV): 250, there was a concern that the men would turn over at 256.
(PD): What is the least amount of extra men you had in storage?  

(JV):  I was down to 4 at about 2am on the last day and rallied
it back up to 40 before I circled the drain and eventually ran 
out of men altogether.  My marathon ended because I ran out of
men, not because I walked away. (PD): How do you keep track of 
your extra lives, what formula do you use? Do you or does someone
else write down lives lost or do you just memorize it while playing
and subtract it from the known amount of free men per a certain score? 

(JV): One of Jeff's friends helped me with that.  We had a computer
and hit A to add a man and Z to subtract so we always knew within 
a few guys of what I had in reserve.
(PD): What is the most times you have died on one wave?

(JV):  No idea but I would guess 12-15.  

(PD): What is the most amount of stages you have gone through on
one man without dying?

(JV): When you get into a rhythm, it was not uncommon to go 15-20 waves
without dying.  Then there were screens you died 5 times on to balance
it out.

(PD): Do you ever feel like your in to much physical pain or emotionally
don't want to continue, and how do you build yourself back up to finish
your accomplishment?

(JV):It sounds crazy but no, it was never about the physical or
emotional pain.  Not that there wasn't any, I knew what I signed 
up for so I just worked through it.  The hard part is your body
physically gives out on you.  Your reflexes fade, your eyesight 
blurs, you have memory lapses about what you are supposed to do
on certain waves… that is what sucks.  Mentally you want to keep 
going but physically your body starts shutting down.
(PD): How do you psych yourself back up when you are having a bad
stretch in a game and dying a lot?

(JV): Get some fresh air and get away from the game.  Unfortunately 
I have a temper and when I hit bad patches I would blow up so I had
to get away and clear my mind of frustration.  That was the problem
on that 3rd night I was running out of men and could not take a break. 
Had I been able to take a break that last night, I honestly think I
could have gone another 10 hours or so until it got dark again.
(PD): What do you do when you start to lose focus on the game to
get back into the game and have you ever started to hallucinate 
after playing for many hours?

(JV): Yes, you start to hallucinate - I remember one of my later 
bathroom breaks I came out of the bathroom and honestly had no idea
how to get back to where my game was in the arcade.  I also could no
longer pronounce the Pterodactyls name, I just could not do it so I
started calling them the damn birds.  I heard the Pterodactyls in my 
sleep for about a week after the marathon ended.

(PD): How much pain was there in playing your marathon game, I know
that there is a chance of fingers cramping up, neck hurting, back
hurting etc.

(JV): It affects your reaction and timing but the pain was not
unbearable.  I took measures to minimize it with Ben Gay and protective
gear like sun glasses.
(PD): How do you work out your restroom breaks, as this seems to
be a necessary part of marathoning, and how many are allowed?

(JV): The rules, at least when I competed, were that you could 
take a 5 minute break every hour or store up to one hour at a
time every 12 hours.  During the bathroom break, no one could play
your game for you so whatever happens happens.
I did not have a "schedule" but rather took them as needed.
(PD): How many men do you have to sacrifice to take a restroom break?

(JV): On Joust you lose one about every 15-20 seconds.  Every now 
and again you will get lucky and appear at the bottom of the screen
where it takes longer for something to knock you off.  The total
loss is directly proportional to how long you take.  Not a good time 
to be constipated!
(PD): How long does it take to build up your reserve after a restroom

(JV): This really depends on how long you have been playing.  I think 
most Joust marathoners would be happy to gain back 40-50 per hour.
(PD): Is Joust an easier game to marathon than others because it takes
awhile to kill off all the extra men?

(JV): Oh no, it probably kills them off as fast as any other game.

(PD): At what wave does Joust become at its hardest?

(JV): It has been too long to quote an exact wave but basically once
they are all shadow lords, it really does not get any harder.
(PD): At what wave do you only have Blue Shadow Lords to fight and no
more red Bounders or silver Hunters on the levels?

(JV): Honestly I don't know - been a while since I have played.
(PD): What is the main differences and similarities to your Joust
Marathon compared to or an Asteroids marathon or other marathon?

(JV): All marathons are a test of will power.  Clearly if you can
play the game for more than 12 hours, you know how to win at it.
Some people just lack the fortitude to carry it on and on - they 
simply don't want it bad enough.  This is not meant to be a criticism
but rather that is what separates the elite from the rest.  The best
marathoners are far more mentally tough.

(PD): Joust Strategies:
(PD): Would you call Joust a pattern game to an extent or how
would you explain your game play in setting up each round etc?

(JV): I would say loosely that it is a pattern.  The layout 
of the perches remains the same throughout the game - you know
what you are going to get on screen 2, 12, 22 etc….  There is 
some variation of how many shadow lords come out of which portal
but overall the screen setup is the same.
(PD): The egg wave seems to be the easiest. What were your
strategies, do you like to start from the top or bottom, 
left or right sweep and do you purposely let spawning occur
to get the extra points of killing a few extra blue shadow 
lords after they spawn?

(JV): I go top to bottom so that if a shadow lord is mounting
his bird, you are coming down on him rather than up.
(PD): Could you explain some of your strategies in playing Joust 
and doing so well. 

(JV): The shadow lords are somewhat predictable.  Once you 
understand how they react to your movement and the lava troll,
you know where to be on the screen.  It comes down to mastery
of the controls and memorization of their behaviors.
(PD): Do you prefer playing Joust on the top or the bottom of
the screen? Blue Shadow Lords are hard to kill what strategies 
do you use in killing them?

(JV): I definitely play the bottom.  My strategy is to get them
as they fall down to the bottom level or timing them trying to
fly over the lava troll.
(PD): When you play top is there a preferred position you like
to hover in or a preferred area you prefer to be in for a gaming
advantage? Also for the bottom is their a preferred area you 
like to be located in?

(JV): Just under the perch above the portal
(PD): Pterodactyl hunting. What strategies do you use to
kill the Pterodactyls? How difficult is it to lance the 
pterodactyl once you lose control of the board?

(JV): There are two key places to stand at the beginning of 
the Pterodactyls wave.  Once you lose control of the board,
they are nearly impossible to kill.  I don't think anyone 
can say with conviction that they can honestly make a living
killing Pterodactyls in the open uncontrolled screen.
(PD): How much greed vs caution do you use when playing this game?

(JV): This depends on whether you are going for score or time. 
John was awesome at taking risks to basically attack the shadow
lords because he was after points.  I played very cautious in
the Iron Man because I just needed to survive.

(PD): Are you usually in control of the board? How long does
it take to get back into control when you lose board positioning etc?

(JV): Yes, any good Joust marathoner has to control the board.
 Once you lose control, you are at risk for multiple mount 
 losses.  The time needed to regain control depends on how 
 early you lose control and how many shadow lords are out there.
(PD): Would you ever go for the marathon record of Joust 2: 
Survival Of The Fittest?

(JV): Never even played it….
(PD): What was your hourly scoring rate? Where you happy with
it? Did the scoring rate get quite a bit worse during the second day?

(JV): Since I was playing for time, I really did not track this…
(PD): Do you ever wonder in the back of your mind what you
would do if the game crashes either by power failure, monitor 
failure or board failure? Would you try again the next week if
this occurred?

(JV): Actually it did - the joystick got stuck in one direction
and when they opened to panel to try and fix it the game shut off.
Because it was a malfunction beyond my control, they allowed a
restart immediately after they fixed it.  I lost over 200 men
and had to start all the way back at the slow pace.  I never really
recovered from this and never got another break.
(PD): Where you correct in your scoring rate estimate in figuring
out how long you would have to play in order to get the world record
on Joust?

(JV): I was playing for time and not points so this was irrelevant.
(PD): Where you friends with Walter Day of Twin Galaxies - Who did 
you know and hang around in the 1980's era which arcades did you go to?
(JV): I knew Walter but we were not "friends".  Our only contact with 
each other was to report scores.  Jeff Peters is the only person I 
really gamed with.  Starship Video in Upland was one of the few arcades
that embraced me and used my playing as a marketing tool.  The owner
would often make announcements that I was in the building and encourage
people to come and watch me play.  Most of the rest of the arcades in
the area banned me because they could not make any money when I played there.
(PD): Last thoughts? Is there anything you would have done 
differently in either preparation or game play for this marathon,
or for the next time you decide to do a marathon?

(JV): I would play Gauntlet as the wizard next time.  With all of
the records and accolades I have earned over the years, I was far
better at Gauntlet than any other game I have ever played.  I could 
build health at 10,000 per hour and would only lose 3,600 on a one
hour break.  If I really wanted to challenge the 100 hour mark, 
that is the only game I think I could even remotely get close on.
(PD): Did anything unusual happen with this Joust marathon that
you didn't expect?

(JV): Two things, I did not expect the machine to break down. 
It did not happen in my trial run.  Second is how quickly the
competition faded.  I had heard people were going 80-90 hours
so I expected a much better fight for the title.  Jeff Peters
went second longest at 44 hours so I went the whole last day
pushing myself with no competition.  I had hoped to have at
least one or two people pushing me to an even higher performance.
(PD): Thank you !!!
(PD): Paul Dean

CAGdc Forums Post: Paul Dean Q&A with James Vollandt on his Joust Marathon link

John McAllister beats Scott Safran's 1982 Asteroids World Record Score link

CAGdc Forums Post: Paul Dean Q&A with John McAllister on his Joust Marathon link

John McAllister Joust Marathon World Record

Start Time: 2:26 pm Wednesday October 20 2010
End time: 8:15 pm Friday October 22, 2010 
Total Hours of Game: 53 hours 51 minutes  

John McAllister beats James Vollandt's 1985 Joust World Record score but
not his longevity record of 67 1/2 hours - An John McAllister interview
by Paul Dean link

James "Jim" Vollandt and Trisha Carlson Vollandt (Wedding Day)

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Paul Dean,, Spy Hunter Champion, June 28, 1985

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