Posted May 20, 2010



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John P. McAllister beats Scott Safran's 1982 Asteroids World Record Score RECENT BREAKING NEWS: SCOTT SAFRAN ASTEROIDS MARATHON SCORE BEAT BY JOHN P. MCALLISTER
John P. McAllister New Asteroids World Record Score of 41,838,740 points 57 3/4 hour marathon completed on April 5, 2010 Asteroids Marathon Time: 57 3/4 hour Start Time: Saturday April 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm end Time: Mononday April 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm Scott Safran (1982) John P. McAllister (2010) John P. McAllister's game lasted 57:46:11 57 Hours: 46 Minutes: 11 Seconds which ended at 10:18 PM at Seattle Washington on Monday, April 5, 2010 at the home of Ken House, Dig Dug World Record Holder. Asteroids 41,838,740 (57 hours 46 minutes) Marathon Asteroids is one of the greatest video arcade games of all times released in 1979 by Atari Inc. has seen a change in heroes. One of of the most popular and influential games of the Golden Age of Arcade Games, Asteroids has been beaten by John P. McAllister, overcoming the long standing score of Scott Safran. The Coin-Operated Asteroids score to beat for the last 28 years was 41,336,440, set by the late Scott Safran on November 13, 1982. On Monday, April 5, 2010 Locksmith, John P. McAllister of Seattle, Washington beat this long standing Scott Safran Asteroids score setting a new world record of 41,838,740 points. This new world record Asteroids marathon game took 57 3/4 hours for John P. McAllister to complete which is the second longest verified coin-operated marathon score on record coming close to James Vollandt's Joust marathon of 67 1/2 hours playing on one quarter during the 1985 Canadian Iron Man Contest. No coin-operated video game marathon has ever beat the James Vollandt 67 hour feat. As a note, this score is considered impossible to beat with the regular verion of the Asteroids board however there is a speed-up Asteroids which lets one score faster cutting down the world record time from an approximate 80 hours of game play to beat Scott Safran's score to a more reasonable 57 3/4 marathon time that John P. McAllister was able to do. Further, Leo Daniels had also used a faster Asteroids board giving him a quite high score as well and at one time the highest score on Asteroids. The new Asteroids World Record score was not set on a whim and that is why it took 28 years for the previous Scott Safran score to be beat by John P. McAllister. This score is in the gaming world is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest in the climbing world. Not only do you have to beat this score by mastering the game, but you also have to stay awake and alert in the case of John P. McAllister for 57 3/4 hours without hallucinating or having body parts fail you such as your wrists, arms, fingers or eyes which are all being overly fatigued. The effort at this level has only been achieved at one other time being that nobody besides John P. McAllister and James Vollandt have ever played a coin operated game for as long as they have going over the 49 1/2 hour marathon time of Robert Mruczek on his game of choice, Star Wars and his competitor Brandon Erickson a Local Portland, Oregon Teacher who played Star Wars at Ground Kontrol arcade for 54 hours and 10 minutes with a final score of 283,779,000 points. Some other Marathoners of notable mention are David Palmer of Star Wars fame and Kelly Tharp of Q*bert fame. I was able to take the opportunity to ask John McAllister a few Asteroids questions: (PD) Paul Dean and (JM) John McAllister questions and answers about Asteroids: PD: How did you know you could beat this score? JM: I wasn't sure that I could beat it but I wanted to find out. I started out knowing that I was going to try. After 36 hours going into the 2nd nite and morning would be the deciding point. If I could survive until 8-10am the last day I knew that I could go the rest of the way. PD: How long did you have this score in your sights? JM: Oh probably around 6-8 months ago I started to think about it. I had the Asteroids Deluxe record and thought that I should also go for Asteroids. PD: What date and time did you start your Asteroids marathon? JM: Looks like I started on Sat Apr 3rd 2010 at 12:30 pm and finished at around Mon Apr 5th 2010 10:18 pm PD: What score are you most proud of? JM: I worked the hardest on Robotron 5 man tourney settings and that game took the most time and effort to accomplish. After that it is Asteroids, but based on skill over endurance it stays with Robotron. PD: What game is next for you for a world record? JM: Defender keeps coming up on the to do list. I have to do more research on scoring rates and techniques to score faster. Donkey Kong III is a possible go also. Other than that it might just be the next machine I buy :) That's how some of my records have happened. PD: Would you do a crazy long marathon again on another game? JM: Again back to Defender which at current lightly researched rate of 1.25 million per hour would be around 70-75 hours with breaks and slow down in scoring as game progresses. Bill Carlton and myself might be doing Missile Command together in June if things happen the way were hoping and that would be around 45-50 hours. PD: The Defender marathon score seems a bit daunting to beat. Do you think they played on a normal Defender and for as many hours as it would take you to beat that score? JM: I've never heard of a modified Defender. I'm really not sure what to believe on the score and amount of hours played. There is the 256 ship rollover problem, breaks, and other considerations to think about. PD: On Missile Command, have you guys figured out how to keep the game from resetting as Bill had a lot of problems within his documentary High Score with his game crashing. JM: For Missile Command we have figured out all the issues. I wrote a program to help keep track of the cities. All you have to do is enter how many cities you lost after a wave is complete and it will do the rest. No more resets will happen unless the machine resets on a hardware error. PD: Would you ever consider a Robotron Marathon score or is the number one spot just to high to compete against? JM: The Robotron marathon is a myth and nothing else. There are just too many things that doesn't add up. The amount of time would be in the 90-100 hour range. The game likes to reset not only from harware issues but also software issues that have been documented. The score that is recorded is not possible as the game must end in 00, 25, 50, or 75 not 80. There is nothing documented about this marathon, no pictures, no stories, no backup. The score is just flat out made up. No one will ever beat that score, its not possible do to resets and the amount of time. PD: I noticed you mentioned Donkey Kong III as a possibility for a high score. Are you a fan of the original Donkey Kong and Donkey Jr. as well which you know comes with a bit of controversy do to the King of Kong Documentary? JM: The King of Kong was the best thing that happened to the CAG scene. High Score has also helped our cause. I used to play DK every weekend with my buddies for a couple of years. Hated DKjr and DK3 but now DK3 has grown on me and I have thought about going for the record. PD: A couple of questions about Asteroids Deluxe / compared to Asteroids if you don't mind. It seems that you have mastered Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe - Would you say that Asteroids Deluxe is harder? JM: Asteroids Deluxe was made a lot harder and funner. The shots that the saucer shoots will hit you, it has different speeds and is more accurate. Also the snowflake or special rock that comes out towards the end of the wave makes things a lot harder. Once the rock is broken up it starts to chase you and add the little saucer into the mix and your in trouble. PD: Is hunting a strategy for Asteroids Deluxe or does that not work as well as Asteroids? JM: They made it so that you can't hunt in Asteroids Deluxe by adding the little saucer so accurate that you just cant hunt it anymore. Plus some of the saucers shots are supposed to hit the rocks and clear the field for you if you don't. Well if going for the marathon score you have to hunt, it's just so much faster. If I'm just playing I like to clear asteroid fields. It's a lot more fun to have to move around and pick your shots than to just do the same thing over and over again. PD: Why do you think Asteroids Deluxe was unchallenged for so long as the score differences between first and second were very far apart. JM: I've only heard of 1 or 2 other people to ever master Asteroids Deluxe. It's a tough game and most people don't have access to a machine in order to get good at it. I used to watch this one guy play all the time and he was decent. He gave me some tips and whatnot. The one thing that stuck in my mind was that you have to basically clear 1 asteroid field per ship. I was able to get into the low 100k range when I was younger. Later I saw a machine and played it some. Then I came up with the idea that I was going to see if I could get to a million. A couple of weeks later I finally made it to a million. The best strategy is to learn to use your shield and don't be afraid to use it all up. The game keeps track of which asteroids came from what asteroid. If you just clear 1 asteroid from it being big to all the little pieces of it, the small ship will come out. So you have to break the asteroids down to 1 or two pieces and then move on to the next one. At the end of the stage you need to get the rock count down to below 3 but usually 2 asteroids and then break the snowflake up. Otherwise the snowflake will come back. That's the basic idea anyway. Learning to fly in specific patterns when the snowflake is broken up is a necessity to survive. Being able to be just the right distance from the little saucer so that he cant shoot you, learning that is also crucial. PD: Which do you prefer playing the most, Asteroids or Asteroids Deluxe? JM: I'll take Asteroids Deluxe any day over Asteroids. It has better sounds. On an original cabinet the black light and the mirror make 3d effects that gives the game even more appeal. PD: Thank you for answering these questions in order for us to get some further insight on your great accomplishments in classic coin-op gaming! JM: Anytime you want to ask questions I'll be glad to answer them. Your site will always be awesome with golden era stuff and any contribution I can make I'm up for it. Thank you, John McAllister Youtube: 'The Ballad of Robert Mruczek.' TG Referee link Youtube: Robert Mruczek - Star Wars Arcade Marathon link Here is a high score table with Notable Marathon titles included Arcade and Emulation link Youtube: Locksmith Beats World Record In Asteroids: link Silco West Asteroids State Championships link

Asteroids World Record Beaten After 28 Years Update: Virtual astronaut John McAllister was crowned the new world champ after a 57 3/4 hour marathon session By Frank Cifaldi, 04/06/2010 Update: Asteroids has a new world champion. At 10:18pm Pacific time on April 5, Seattle locksmith John McAllister achieved an approximate score of 41,838,740 on an original Asteroids arcade cabinet, besting Scott Safran's 1982 score of 41,336,440. The score will not officially appear on the Twin Galaxies website until officials have had a chance to review all 57 3/4 hours of McAllister's recorded play session, but given his previous track record and integrity, no complications are expected. 1UP's original story follows: link ASTEROIDS The world record high score for Atari's arcade classic Asteroids, which has stood for over two decades, is about to be broken. At nearly 39 million points, Seattle native John McAllister is hours away from claiming the top slot on Twin Galaxies, the acting authority on videogame scores. The previous record of 41,336,440 by Scott Safran has remain unchallenged since November 13, 1982. Scott Safran - Inserting Quarter into Asteroids for Marathon Game November 13, 1982 Scott Safran - signed bezel Scott Safran "THE" SAF 41,336,440 11-13-82 World's Record (Marathon) 53 hours 8 minutes Competitive Asteroids play is more a test of endurance than skill - Safran's original high score was the result of a 53 hours and 8 minutes marathon run. McAllister is closing in on that fast, having just surpassed 54 hours at press time. Scott Safran signs an autograph after his Asteroids World Record on November 1982 As an arcade game, Asteroids of course has no pause button. When McCallister needs to take short breaks from the game, his only option is to simply walk away and let some of his reserved lives get eaten away. It has been long assumed in the competitive gaming community that Safran's original record would forever remain unchallenged. "Everyone always talks about records that will never be broken," Twin Galaxy founder Walter Day told Newsweek in 2002, "well this is the one that really won't." Unfortunately, Safran isn't around to defend his title. After a years-long search by Twin Galaxies to find Safran and honor him officially, it was discovered that he passed away in 1989, having fallen from his sixth story apartment balcony trying to rescue his cat, Samson. The posthumous award was presented instead to his family in a November 2002 ceremony. Previous record holder Scott Safran (courtesy Wikipedia) "This was such a family gift when we found out," Safran's aunt, Hana Safran Kramer, told the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time. "It's like all of a sudden, Scott is alive again." If McAllister were to stop now, he would hold a very comfortable third place on the official scoreboard. However, judging by the live video stream, he appears to be in good health and spirits, and should surpass the official record sometime past midnight Pacific tonight. Asteroids (Sideart) ESPN.GO.COM: If Asteroids Is A Sport, Then John McAllister Is Joe DiMaggio April 11, 2010 7:00 PM ET link Jon Robinson There's a new World Champion out West and it's not Kobe Bryant. Last weekend, competitive video gaming hero John McAllister sat down at a classic Asteroids arcade machine near Portland, OR and continued to play around the clock for three days. By the time his game was over, McAllister had established a new all-time high score and broke a record that had stood for more than 27 years. To put this accomplishment in perspective, consider that McAllister basically just topped the video game equivalent of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. In fact, when we first heard earlier this week that the all-time record for the arcade classic Asteroids had finally been broken, we knew that we had to reach out to the new world champion. Fortunately for us, McAllister was kind enough to pause his victory lap and answer a few questions. As it turns out, McAllister was primarily attracted to the prestige of the Asteroids title. As he said, "By most people's standards, Asteroids is one of the holy grails of arcade gaming. I've had my eye on this title for several years." Indeed, what separates Asteroids from other classic games of its era is that it's a game of endurance. Which for McAllister meant a lot of training. In addition to practicing with a 34-hour session of Star Castle and a 37-hour dry run of Asteroids, McAllister "would go out for walks of 2-5 miles" and knock out some pushups and sit-ups before each attempt. Like any other athlete preparing for a title shot, McAllister also had to alter his diet. He stuck to smaller meals, limited his sugar intake, replenished his fluids, and consumed "mostly apples, bananas, strawberries, sandwiches, and lots of chicken." On the whole, McAllister handled himself like a true champion during and after the event. When we asked him what was the key to staying awake for three days straight, McAllister responded by thanking his teammates first and was sure to point out that "all the people who were involved really helped me to stay awake and make this event a success." And where did McAllister look for inspiration when he was down to only two lives left? The same place all legendary champions find their strength - the fans. "During some point I realized that I still needed to give the crowd and the 1100+ on Justin.tv and on Aurcade.com a show. Luckily, my subconscious took over and got me through the next couple of minutes and on to victory." Unbelievably, once the record was broken, McAllister's performance was still not complete. McAllister "turned around and looked at all of [his] supporters and just smiled, did a TV interview, took some pictures, talked to a bunch of people, and gave another interview to a film crew." Two and a half hours later, sitting atop the all-time Asteroids leader board, McAllister finally decided it was time to catch up on some sleep. As for what's next for McAllister, even he doesn't know. "That's been a big question, and I haven't found the answer to that yet." Well, here's one idea for the new world champion: a starring role in the upcoming Asteroids movie. You never know, John McAllister just might be the next Ben Affleck. TG Scoreboard (Asteroids) Leaderboard: http://www.twingalaxies.com/index.aspx?c=22&pi=2&gi=4017&vi=643 Coin-Operated Asteroids (Standup) % Score Points Player Date Verified Scoring Method 1 100.00 % 41,838,740 John P Mcallister 04/22/2010 media File 2 98.80 % 41,336,440 Scott Safran 11/13/1982 Referee 3 95.85 % 40,101,910 Leo P Daniels 02/06/1982 Referee 4 71.94 % 30,100,100 Dennis Hernandez 01/12/1982 Referee 5 71.70 % 30,000,000 Lonnie J Cancienne 11/20/1981 Referee 6 61.98 % 25,932,800 Jay Howell 11/05/1981 Referee 7 61.98 % 25,930,690 Wayne MacLemore 07/05/1981 Referee 8 55.63 % 23,274,970 Rick V Scott 06/23/1981 Referee 9 49.79 % 20,832,560 Douglas J Ede 05/16/1981 Witness 10 48.54 % 20,307,890 Mike Titus 03/12/1982 Referee Asteroids (1979) Atari Coin-Op Classic Video Game CAGdc Forums: The John McAllister Asteroids Marathon story in his own words from CAGdc Forums: Link Here's a story to go along with the score by John McAllister: Timeline We were supposed to start on Friday but I didn't get enough sleep and just didn't feel right. I still didn't get enough sleep before Saturday either but oh well. I did try to start a game around 11:30 but I died twice pretty quick and died again so I guess I wasn't ready. I started another shortly after and it also died off pretty quickly also. 1st game was 2400 and the second game was 27k. I finally got a game going around 12:30 or so. A late start to a game that is going to last a long time. I played for several hours with nothing much going on. The 3 guys from Seattle arrived. Chris Mansfield, Scott Harold, and Dave Okert. A few locals came by throughout the event. It was great to have all these different people show up throughout the event to give support and such. So first day was pretty standard for a marathon, nothing major happening, no worries yet. Oh wait the monitor was changing the intensity at random times, so that made me nervous. Other then that one little glitch the machine held out pretty good. Day two Sunday my April 4th my birthday was much as the first day. We got to listen to Scott snore and then Dave started to snore along with him. So some 24hrs in things were going just fine. No pain or goofiness as of yet. Still to reach the half way point and I was thinking about that. This was the first time I have played a game for over 24hrs and not been at the half way point. This was discouraging at first thought, but I knew I was in for another day. Day three starting at 12:00 am Sunday the 5th I'm a little more than half way done yay. All I've had up this point has been water, gatorade, sandwiches, apples, bananas, yogurt and chicken. I've only seen real people up this point. Around this time going into a 2nd nite of no sleep was starting to take its toll. I never got tired which is strange. However I did get pretty goofy. I pretty much lost track of time at this point forward. It all really just became a blur. Day 3 12:00 pm Sunday the 5th Earlier in the morning I had a 5hr energy drink to get me through to the next day kinda thing. My mental alertness wasn't all that great. I forgot how to play the game several times during the day. I thought that the saucers were going or staying in 4 corners. And I had to shoot them from different spots then normal. This to me lasted around an hour or so. Another instance the monitor shifted 45 degrees and I couldn't figure out what to do. I was trying to fly straight up and down but since the monitor was turned in my head things weren't going to well. I took of my sunglasses and magically the screen fixed it self. Another time the game shifted on the monitor. The top half was now the bottom and the bottom was the middle. The really confused me for a while also. I asked Ken House if I was playing a single player game or two players. I tried to tell Bill Carlton that there were patterns and that I was in a bad pattern board. End of day 3 Towards the end someone had to be there with me pretty much the whole time. Had to ask people how to play the game or refresh my memory as to what I was doing. Sometimes I would just sit there and shoot at the saucer without moving just relying on hyperspace button to save me. It seemed like the game changed speeds on me and would get harder and easier at times during the end. In the beginning the rocks were really easy to shoot. Later in the game I thought that they had changed patterns again and were coming at me instead of flying away or going the correct way. I started to tell people that I was seeing Scott Harold, allthough I knew he wasn't there I would look over to my right and I would see something that would make me think that he was there. Getting down to 2 ships at the end. I had 20 or so ships and went and took my last bathroom break. I came back and had 10 or so ships so I thought things were good. I kinda lost focus for several minutes and really didn't think that I had to play anymore. I wasn't thinking very straight at this time. So I thought that I would leave my safety zone, whatever that meant at the time and go and finish the game. I started to fly around randomly just playing the game. All of a sudden I was down to 2 men and I woke up. I realized that I had to get a certain score for the group of people in the room and the people on line. Good thing the subconscious was still working as it took over and things cleared up for the next 15 minutes. I finished the game off with 5-7 ships stocked up and didn't really try hard or had any feeling of panic for the rest of the game. I think this happened because purposely throughout the game I didn't push the score rollover button so that I would know that I had some several hundred thousands banked to make sure I passed the record. I didn't have any major pain in my hands. The back of my neck and muscles attached to my arms from there knotted up and would sometimes burn or hurt really bad for short periods at the end but that would never stop me. My moving fingers, left side, went numb or unresponsive a few times. It would cause my ship to turn left instead of right because the left button finger wouldn't move off of the button. Anything that was black would show millions of little white dots on it. I did have trouble walking or standing at times. My balance was just off and I would kinda get lazy or something and start to lean. We had a wind storm come through and it blew over the barbecue in the back yard, tree branches would fall on the roof. We had battery back up supplies and luckily the lights never flickered during the storm. When I finally went to bed at around 1:00 am Tues I turned off the lights and would still be seeing stuff. I closed my eyes and would open them again and still see stuff in the room that wasn't there. After about 5 minutes of this I closed my eyes again and they didn't open again till around 8:00 am the next morning. I got up for a couple of hours and took a nap later for a couple of hours. I never really ever felt tired, but my mind wasn't all there for a couple of days. Plans for next marathon. I'm really not sure about this one. Defender has been in the talks before and I'm going to revisit it again. I did some scoring rates samples several months ago and came up with around 1.25m per hour. If that was sustainable throughout that would still take over 64 hours or something. I barely survived 58 hours so I don't think this is possible at this time. I had a great time with all the people that helped make this a great event. Thanx to everyone who showed and gave support. See ya next time John McAllister





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