Posted February 16, 2006

Kelly Tharp will try to beat the long standing Q*bert world record at the Classics Video Game Contest starting on February 20, 2006.

Update: Kelly played for 44 hours to get one of the top scores on Q*bert, but the tape proof of recording was not working properly so he will have to replay


Kelly Tharp (Tapper)

Kelly Tharp Marathon Kelly Tharp vs. Q*Bert at Challenge Arcade Link Is Kelly Tharp an Ironman at Q*bert? Rumors say that Mousetrap is Next! 2/11/2006 Kelly Tharp will be showing up at the famous Challenge arcade to marathon on the game Q*bert in the Reading, Pennsylvania for a three-day run on one quarter, starting on February 20, 2006. Kelly Tharp has already gotten into the record books on tapper by winning the Marathon crown world record on December 4th, 2005 in Humble, Texas during the highly-acclaimed "Legends of the Golden Age" classic gamers reunion.
2/11/2006 Kelly Tharp vs. Q*Bert at Challenge Arcade Link
Kelly Tharp is preparing for a massive Q*bert Marathon Challenge not done since the Jeff Peters Marathon during the Golden Years of July 2, 1985 in Canada at the Iron Man Challenge. Reading, PA - February 11, 2006 -- Kelly Tharp, of Sellersburg, Indiana, will be Marathoning Q*bert at the nationally-famous Challenge Arcade in the Reading, Pennsylvania area for a three-day stint starting on February 20, 2006. Kelly Tharp has already won his way into the gaming history books by taking the Tapper Marathon crown on December 4 in Humble, Texas during the highly-acclaimed "Legends of the Golden Age" classic gamer's reunion. Kelly lasted 18 hours, scoring 9,437,400 points to beat the 9,100,175-point mark set by Famington, NY's Greg Erway on June 20, 2003. Since the beginning of organized video game playing, Q*Bert has been recognized as the most difficult game to marathon for great lengths of time. Due to its bizarre array of colorful screens, the game play is harder on the eyes than any other game of the "Golden Age" of arcade classics, and countless players have failed to beat the 22-year-old world record of 33,273,520 points set by Bob Gerhardt of Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada on November 28, 1983. "Most players can only handle one or two marathons in their career," says Walter Day Chief Scorekeeper at Twin Galaxies and editor of the Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records. "If Kelly beats Q*bert in addition to his prior victory over Tapper, he will attain a level of prestige few players will ever reach." Apparently, Kelly is an old hand at Mara honing games. Though his past accomplishments were never verified by Twin Galaxies, he reports prodigious scores on important titles: Jungle Hunt (521,620 points), Mousetrap (18,000,000 points), Q*bert (12,800,000 points), Burgertime (3,800,000 points), Battlezone (1.1 million points) and Robotron (27,000,000 points). He also claims to have finished Crystal Castles, Galaga, Kick Man, Pac Man, Paperboy, Dragons Lair1&2, Space Ace Cliffhanger and Marble Madness. The Challenge Arcade is located at the Berkshire Mall, 1665 State Hill Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610 (Reading area). Their phone number is 610-376-1650. The Challenge Arcade will be conducting an arcade championship during the weekend of March 17-19, 2006.
Kelly Tharp known as by the three initials LJM will be Marathoning Q*bert Kelly Tharp is getting ready to play his world record marathon
Paraphrase of Kelly Tharp: I will be going to Reading Penn on February 20, 2006 for a 72 hour Marathon on Q*bert. This will beat all previous marathon records, as it will be taped on February 20th and Mark Alpiger MDARULZ will have to pay me big bucks when I have accomplished this goal as the bounty winner. Mark get your checkbook out because failure is not an option!! Kelly Tharp Kelly Tharp is one of the world record holders of several games including Tapper, Jungle Hunt, Mousetrap, Q*bert, Burgertime, Battlezone, Robotron 2084 and he has completed some popular games including: Crystal Castles, Galaga, Kick Man, Pac Man Paperboy, dragonslair, Space ace, cliffhanger, and Marble Madness so he is quite the contender.
Kelly Tharp VS. Q*bert at Challenge Arcade Kelly Tharp and Paul Dean are the most recent Marathon Champions and world record holders of their games, Tapper and Frenzy from the Reunion of the Champions at Totally Amused Arcade on December 4, 2005. Paul Dean has also a marathon record on Spy Hunter from the 1985 Masters Tournament in which the famous Jeff Peters and Phil Britt were able to witness the spy hunter 1985 accomplishment and Walter Day with Dwayne Richard at the helm, were able to watch and witness the 41 hour Frenzy Marathon of Paul Dean. Kelly Tharp has put down his challenge on Q*bert at the famous Challenge Arcade Mark Alpiger has put down several competitive challenges and put up his own money for such bounties in order for players to come to Challenge Arcade and get some world records at Mark Alpigers Tournament. He encourages people to shoot for his bounties and is ready to pay out a few bucks in order to get these high scores broken. Kelly Tharp challenges Q*bert... at Challenge Arcade !! " on: Today at 04:23:14 PM "
Kelly Tharp well into Qbert Marathon at Challenge Arcade Kelly Tharp is Ready for the Challenge The report is that Kelly Tharp had made it to the Challenge Arcade and preparations were being made to begin his marathon run on Q*bert. The problem was that the recording equipment gave him many problems in the first several hours of recording his Q*bert marathon game. Unfortunately he could not start at his 1 pm start time because of the broken recording equipment and that was just the beginning of some very major problems. Walter Day had deputized Joe LeVan, as 'deputy referee', for the event in order to confirm Kelly Tharp's performance for Twin Galaxies. This occured one other time when Mark Alpiger was made a deputy referee for the 2005 Legends of the Golden Age Houston Arcade Championships event which was located in Humble, Texas. Some of the referee's jobs are not so glamorous because not only does the referee have to record the high scores but they must be in charge of the not so fun job of collecting and safeguarding all marathon run urine samples such as Paul Dean's urine sample once he was done with his 41 hour Frenzy world record score. In this way, no person may use artificial stimulants allowing them to stay up longer than everyone else when marathoning. This is a requirement for marathon scores over 12 hours in length, a necessary but not glamorous job. Kelly Tharp needs a world record score of 33,273,520 points to beat the high score of Bob Gerhardt which was set way back on November 28, 1983. (The goal is to last approximately 72 Hours in order to get a new world record and beat the Bob Gerhardt Q*bert High Score from 1983 - Of course strategies may be different and sleepiness will slow a persons reaction and score substantially) Will Kelly Tharp see the judges in three days with a new world record, only time will tell. URINE TEST REQUIREMENT (INSERT: There were other problems related to the Urine Test facility and it looks like Kelly Tharp will be starting over again on his Marathon attempt in September of 2006. Mousetrap could be another target on Kelly Tharp's radar for a new marathon world record score.)
Paraphrase of Kelly Tharp report: It has been reported that Kelly Tharp took small breaks and went back to the Q*bert game right away before losing to many men. His bladder did not give out as he only took one bathroom break. Many people walking into the arcade have continued to support him by watching him and were quite surprised that he had an iron concentration. He was even supported by the concession owners in the mall as they brought him some free food to keep him going on his marathon. This was a neat donation of support that the mall owners provided on their own. Kelly Tharp finally passed the Iron Man threshold and surpassed the Frenzy marathon record of Paul Dean's which had lasted 41 hours in December of 2005. This Kelly Tharp effort is considered the second-longest marathoner of the last 20 years with Brandon "Star Wars" Erickson being in the lead with a 54 hour journey on one quarter done in May of 2005. What is the longest time of any video game marathon that has been verified? Jim Vollandt "Iron Man Contest" "Canada" 67.5 hours which is close to the holy grail 3 day mark of marathoning.
Press Releases - Twin Galaxies 2/22/2006 Kelly Tharp Ends at 19.9 Million on Q*Bert Link
Finishing with 44 Hours, Tharp Took over 6th Place, passing scores from 1983 Kelly Tharp's Attempt to Break 22-Year-Old Q*Bert World Record Ends at 19,966,580 Million Points and 44 1/2 Hours. If approved, Tharp Takes over 6th place in the "All-Time" Rankings. Now, Twin Galaxies has to review the entire videotape of the performance before giving the final seal of approval. Kelly Tharp has finished his marathon on the legendary arcade video game, Q*Bert, possibly the most difficult video game in history to play for long periods of time due to its bizarre geometry and colorful screens. For more background information on Kelly's quest, go to this story: Man Attempts 72-Hour Marathon to Break Video Game World Record Kelly reports that his eyes could no longer see the screen at the end and he was helpless to stop his men from dying, even though he was wide awake and had plenty of stamina still left. To see Kelly's ever-changing position on the all-time Q*Bert rankings, go to the Q*BERT CHARTS. Link Kelly Tharp now surpasses the Jeff Peters Q*bert Iron Man High score of 19,498,150 done of July 8, 1985 in Canada after the Third Annual Masters Tournament in 1985. When ever you can beat an Iron Man High Score you have done well. In order to get the number one world record high score held by Bob Gerhardt from November 28, 1985, Kelly Tharp would have to play for 72 hours. His score is 60% of the standing world record and Mark Alpiger's bounty money is safe and sound because there was no score which would beat the James Vollandt, Joust high score which was played for over 67 1/2 hours which is the best iron man score ever recorded or seen in person by Walter Day, Twin Galaxies Referee.
Kelly Tharp Q*bert Marathon on Day Two and Beyond February 22, 2006
Joe: Paraphrase from Challenge Arcade: As Joe from Challenge arcade has updated the message boards throughout the marathon he relates the message that Kelly Tharp looked "pretty perky" and was still quite alert even after not sleeping for almost two days. Kelly Tharp is still going and is almost at the 48 mark, not giving up and not taking to many more breaks. Media will show once this mark has been accomplished as this is quite a feat that will hit the news media and the world as a major accomplishment. Still minimal breaks and just one jog to the bathroom, which I am calling the iron bladder of one Kelly Tharp. This is quite a quest that every one is getting interested in since Kelly has now surpassed Paul Dean's 41 hour effort on Frenzy, from this past December, to become the second-longest marathoner of the last 20 years except for Brandon Erickson which lasted 54 hours in May of 2005 at the Ground Kontrol Oregon Arcade. If he can beat Brandon Erickson we might see a 66 hour marathon which is approximately the amount of time to beat the old world record of so many years ago.
Kelly Tharp near end of 44 hour Q*bert Marathon Paraphrase: Now at 36 hours Kelly Tharp is getting quite a stubble of a beard as he has no time to stop for a shave and shower. Looking a ragged and tired, but not giving up Kelly Tharp knows he has another day and a half to go in order to get this Q*bert Marathon World Title. Kelly Tharp hits the 42 hour mark at 8:00am and is looking a bit beat up as he has passed 19 million points, in which not to few have seen. That puts Kelly Tharp at sixth place so far on the TG scoreboard, can he keep going?
Kelly Tharp loses vision on day two of the incredible Kelly Tharp Q*bert Marathon It happened on February 22, 2006, 11:00 am
For Kelly Tharp, the quest is over. for some reason at about 44 1/2 hours his site gave away and he could no longer see the screen. His Q*bert high score was a decent 19,966,580 points, which put him firmly in sixth place on the Twin Galaxies scoreboard, just beating the great Jeff Peters of the Golden Era. If you are going to beat somebody it might as well be Jeff Peters, and by about 1/2 million points in change. Jeff Peters has held many world records and it is no small job to beat that previous iron man score. However that is not the world record. Jeff Peters was quite the prodigy as he did this score at the ripe old age of 19 in the "Canada Iron Man Contest" which was right after the June 28, 1985 Third Annual Video Game Masters Tournament. Kelly Tharp being twice the age of Jeff Peters is quite the accomplishment as the modern era old sage is able to beat the high score of the young lad from the classic era of 1985. Will Jeff Peters stand still for the thrashing. Only time will tell. Kelly Tharp believes he could go much longer if his vision was clearer. A possible eye saver would be sunglasses or a tinted glass, and believe it or not Kelly Tharp is not done yet. He plans on doing this marathon again some day as he still has some ump in him. He states he could go another day for sure. His body can take this type of punishment, but he has other high scores he will go after next, which will also be marathons. What do you do when your eyes are watering so much that you can no longer see? It is hard to watch your men die off one by one and not save them because you just cannot focus enough to get them to safety because of the extreme watering of the eye after staring at the screen for almost 48 hours of play. He had to watch over 300 men die one by one as he had this many in storage according to some estimates. Neither the extra 300+ men turned over and the actual 10 million digit showed during his game which is unusual because most programmers don't think a score like that can be achieved so they leave out the 10 million digit when programming video games. The bummer is that there is no place to put the high score initials. For a total of three restroom breaks I'll say he did pretty good. He is now an official iron man at the age of 39 years old, not quite beating the age of Paul Dean who was actually 40 years old when he did his Frenzy 41 Hour Marathon. But Kelly Tharp is still young and ready for another marathon. Hopefully this brings excitement to the hobby of playing classic video games in a major marathon, for others to take on the challenge.
February 24, 2006 9:27am Jeff Peters Reply to the Kelly Tharp High Score which beat Jeff Peters score which he did at the Iron Man contest in 1985:
To: Paul Dean, Ya know, I'd love to go for the world record on this again :) Its a shame Kelly 'just' beat me. We'll have to arrange something in the future at one of the classic gaming events. :) I played a game of Qbert last week to see if I still remember how to play the machine and can still get very high scores with only having lost 4 lives :) Thanks for forwarding the info!! take care, Jeff Peters - Q*bert Champion
February 24, 2006 10:34 pm TO: Jeff Peters Great to here that you would be interested in regaming your q*bert high score again, as Kelly Tharp just barely beat your score from 1985. I am sure that if you call Walter Day in order to regame, it would be a huge media event, just like Kelly Tharp's world record attempt. Good luck! Paul Dean
Kelly Tharp retort (LJM) after his 44 hour marathon February 23, 2006 Day 2 and Beyond, Q*bert 7:00 Pm Will Kelly Tharp try again to beat the 72 hour Q*bert World Record?
Paraphrase: Kelly Tharp has loved the many good wishes and support of the other players/owners/ and customers of this Q*bert Marathon and is very enthusiastic about regaming. Will you Regame? YES!!!!!! I can beat this record, states Kelly Tharp This game was a learning tool in order to do things much differently at my next attempt in which I will be using a "clicker" to count all of my men and a stop watch so I can rest every 10 hours in order to be able to see the screen clearly for all three days which are required to beat the high score. A tinted overlay will be used if that is ok with Twin Galaxies because of the heavy glare one notices while playing this game The rest benefit will be the most important strategy in the next gaming session so there will not be a tearing of the eye from eye stain in Q*Bert Qubes.
Twin Galaxies Forums Forum Index -> Coin-Op Video Games Link Author Message pacmanfevr76 Location: St. Louis, MO, USA Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 10:58 am Post subject:
Unless my calculator is broken, 72 hours won't even be enough time for Kelly Tharp to pass the record. Even if it was, eyes don't last that long. LATER: Boy, did I call that or what? Not even two hours passed before he finished. Although, that was about eight more hours than I figured he would last. _________________ Douglas Loyd 49 TG world records, so far (10 other scores to be submitted) HIGHEST SCORE: 3,296,110 (12/23/04) LONGEST PERFECT: 299,990 (12/14/05) Currently working on: PS2 Tiger Woods 2002-2006 (23.1% complete) A surprise game
permafrostrick Keeper of the Rules Location: Baltimore, MD Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:52 pm Post subject:
pacmanfevr76 wrote: Unless my calculator is broken, 72 hours won't even be enough time for Kelly Tharp to pass the record. Even if it was, eyes don't last that long. yep...I just read that story. This is my first visit here in a couple months. I have been very busy with work, moving etc. I hope to get regularly active here least on the weekends. I did a second marathon on Q*Bert on Memorial Day weekend in 1983(was not officially recognized) where I stopped serious play at 24.8 million at the 44 hour mark. Kelly is scoring about 20% slower than I do. That is extremely significant for a marathon. Any player of Q*Bert serious about a marathon needs to train and get where they can easily score at least 500k/hour. On my 25 million game even at the 40 hour mark I was still having an hour with 560k scored. I don't know if 23 years later if I have the endurance that I would need to do a long marathon like this anymore. I think it would take a few smaller marathons first like 24 hour and 36 hour ones to see how my body and mind recover from those before going for a 48-72 hour length marathon. The only time I could do that though would be on a whole week vacation as I think it would be 1 day of rest and prep, then 3 days of play then 2 days of recovery time. Personally that isn't worth it now days. However, I would love to set a nice WR for 5-man Q*Bert. I think the existing 2 million score is good but that can be outdone. bounty to motivate me? Hehe

US National Video Game Team, 1986 Steve Harris, Perry Rodgers, Jeff Peters Jeff Peters lasted 40+ hours on his 19,498,150 Q*bert game at the Iron Man contest in Canada. Link Q*bert, Arcade, Points [Marathon] World Rank 6 Score 19,498,150 Score Type Points Player Jeff Peters Upland, CA. USA Date Achieved Monday, July 08, 1985 Date Verified Monday, July 08, 1985 Verification Method Referee Verified By Walter Day Score Status Active Location Johnny Zee's Family Fun Ctr. Victoria, BC Canada Rules Points [Marathon]
Kelly Tharp survives on Peanut Butter throughout his Q*bert Game Play Link
Kelly is currently surviving on the following sugar and protein: Chick-Fil-A, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Lance's peanut butter crackers for his marathon attempt at Q*bert. He was nearing the 15 million mark with several hundred lives still in reserve when another bathroom break was needed. He dashes to the bathroom in the arcade, generally only losing 4 or 5 lives in the process, as he is both a marathon Q*bert player and a skilled athlete when it comes to the bowels.
Q-Bert Champ Seeks Perfect Score (Page 1 of 2) NEW YORK, Aug 4, 2005
Doris Self playing Q-Bert (CBS/The Early Show) (CBS) Most video game champions end up retiring long before they get their first real job. However, The Early Show contributor Laurie Hibberd recently met a woman whose passion and skill for video games seems to only be improving with age. And, she's nearly 80. For the "Young at Heart" series, Hibberd went to the classic video game championships in Laconia, N. H., where gaming wizards from across the country gathered to bump, flip, and shoot their way into the record books. Among them was 79 year-old Doris Self of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Her game of choice is Q-Bert. She tells Hibberd, "Some of the younger kids memorize patterns and all, but I just sort of go with the flow." Her technique may not be very complicated, but Self is no amateur. She's already listed among Q-Bert's top players in the official Video Game And Pinball Book Of World Records. Ranked No.1 in 1983, Self slipped to second just two years later. Now, after more than two decades, she's mounting a comeback. The competitive spirit Self reveals in Q-Bert is more often seen during her card games. Self notes, "The girls who I bridge with think I'm nuts going down to the arcade to go play games with kids. 'What's the matter with you?'" Long before Self was winning money at cards or spending it in the arcade, she was a pioneer in the airline industry, one of the original flight attendants for Eastern Airlines. She says, "The plane I used to fly on is hanging from the ceiling" at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Doris Self playing Q-Bert (CBS/The Early Show) Link (CBS) It was during her Eastern Airlines career that Self met and married pilot Paul Self. They had two children and were married for 32 years until Paul died in 1980. She says, "My daughter took me to a movie. I didn't have much to do because I had taken care of him for a good year before he died. And she walks up to a machine. I had never seen an arcade game before, and she said 'Mom, come here you'll get a kick out of this.' Famous last words - there I went." Not only is Self still playing, but experts say she's at the top of her game. "Doris Self is an exciting phenomenon," says classic video game scorekeeper, Walter Day. "Her skill set is even better. What she has done in practice has already been higher than 20-some years ago." Back at the tournament, Self settled in for a long weekend, complete with snacks and a stuffed mascot by her side. Ultimately, there would be no new record. "There were too many interruptions and too many distractions," she says. "I have a stand-up Q-Bert that I'm used to and they put me at a sit-down. They didn't have a stand up and we had to alternate chairs. I had a chair, then put a pillow on it; then I'd get used to the chair." So is she done with Q-Bert? "No," she says,." Three o'clock in the morning, I come out and play Q-Bert. It's so relaxing and fun." Q*bert Collects Quarters Doris Self plays Q*bert until wee hours of the morning And it's easy to play Q-Bert at three o'clock in the morning, when there's one in the den. "I knew it was her dream to own a machine," says Billy Mitchell, who delivered the Q-Bert to her home. A video gaming legend, Mitchell holds records on several classic games - including Pac- Man. Now, he's hoping to help Self regain her title. "She was always so giving. So good-willed," he says, "So now it's time to come back to her a bit. Or so I hope." It seems like such an unlikely friendship, but it works. He says, "We have the same controlled obsession and passion to win at video games." And that passion to win has Self training for yet another tournament, this time in Lond on in August and just one month shy of her 80th birthday. "It's a challenge," she says with a smile. "Why do I shoot craps? Why do I play poker? I play to win." Self will travel with her friend Mitchell, who hopes to shield Self from the distractions that come with being such a prominent player. Self already has beaten her old record on the machine in her home. So, if things don't work out in London, she may just go for the record, right there in her den. World Records: 1984 Video Game Masters Tournament results (as printed in the 1985 GBWR) Q*bert 1,112,300 Doris Self unknown Ft. Lauderdale, FL World Records: 1985 Video Game Masters Tournament results (as printed in the 1986 GBWR) Q*bert 1,895,565 Tom Gault Duluth, Minn unknown News: Link 80-year-old woman trains to regain Q*bert record>> 10:19 AM Jakub Wojnarowicz Trippy. Now, Doris Self, of Fort Lauderdale, eats, drinks and sleeps Q*Bert, the classic video game from the early 1980s, practicing day and night. And, if she breaks the Q*bert record, she'll be history's oldest video game world champion. "I was the Q*bert champion in 1984 with a score of 1,112,300 points," remembers Doris Self "At that time, I was the oldest video game champ in the world at 58 years old, a fact verified by Twin Galaxies' scorekeeper Walter Day ( It's still listed in Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records, the gaming industry's official book of records." Though Doris Self' score was bested in 1985, she still retained the status of "oldest" champion until 2003 when John Lawton, 72, of New Hampshire, captured the Depthcharge title. "I was sad when I lost the title I had held for twenty years," laments Doris Self. "Then I got a call from gaming legend Billy Mitchell, who offered to loan me a Q*bert machine to practice on and win back my title. Billy made me promise that I would give up poker and practice Q*bert everyday."
80-Year-Old Still Going Link Thanks to Q*bert, this older gamer won't stop playing. by Patrick Klepek, 05/26/2005
Just when you thought you might be getting a little old for gaming, along comes 80 year old Doris Self of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A self-professed fan of the classic video game Qbert since the 1980's. Doris Self was the Qbert champion in 1984 with a score of 1,112,300 points. You think you're too old to be a gamer? Not a chance. 80 year-old Doris Self of Fort Lauderdale, Florida likely holds that rank, a self-professed fan of classic video game Q*bert. Self has been working her Q*bert magic since the 1980s. "I was the Q*bert champion in 1984 with a score of 1,112,300 points," said Self. "At that time, I was the oldest video game champ in the world at 58 years old, a fact verified by Twin Galaxies' scorekeeper Walter Day." Over the years, however, her grip on these titles has slipped, mostly recently losing claim of oldest gamer to 72-year-old John Lawton of New Hampshire. If anything, these events have only fueled Self's desire to reclaim what was once hers. Nowadays, she's refining her Q*bert skill, with the hopes of eventually taking back her titles. "I was sad when I lost the title I had held for twenty years," said Self. "Then I got a call from gaming legend Billy Mitchell, who offered to loan me a Q*bert machine to practice on and win back my title. Billy made me promise that I would give up poker and practice Q*bert everyday." Stay tuned to and official video game record keepers Twin Galaxies to see if Self is able to enter the high score ranks once again. How did Gottlieb's video game, Q*bert get its funny name in the first place? Link The programmers and designers had are meeting and someone was playing with the word CUBE. Someone else suggested HUBERT since it was a real name and rhymed with CUBE in a way. Then someone else had a brainstorm and wrote CUBERT on the blackboard. Everyone kind of liked the sound of it and we were all sitting there nodding and getting used to it, when I think it was Rich Tracy, our art director, who rewrote it as Q-BERT and somehow the asterisk got stuck in there and we all knew we had found it. It felt right. Eighty-year-old Florida video gamer looks to reclaim world record Canadian Press, Toronto, ON, Canada Eighty-year-old Florida video gamer looks to reclaim world record Doris Self is used to turning heads when she plays video games
By Neil Davidson The Canadian Press - Doris Self Turns Heads
August 4, 2005 -- Doris Self is used to turning heads when she plays video games. Link "To find an 80-year-old white-haired woman sitting at an arcade game, it amazes them," she said. Self's expertise is even more remarkable. The Florida resident is headed to Croydon, England, later this month in search of a record Qbert score at the Classic Gaming Expo-UK. Doris Self at London, England CGEUK Contest Summer of 2005

Doris Self - A long love of Q*bert Doris Self first tried her hand at video games some 22 years ago in Plantation, Fla. Her husband had just died and she found herself with time on her hands. That changed one day when her daughter took her out to the movies and then pizza at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. "After she ordered, she went over and started playing this game. I had never seen an arcade game before," Self said in an interview. "And she said 'Mom, come over here. I think you'll get a kick out of it.' Well mom got a kick of it. And mom started going to the arcade." It was 10 minutes away from her house and open 24 hours a day, and soon Self became hooked on Qbert. It was too busy during the daytime so she went at night. "I remember the first morning I came in at 7 o'clock and my daughter was just going out to work. She looked at me and shook her head. Then she said 'I don't believe it.' I said 'Well it's your fault, you showed me.' " Qbert is a furry orange orb whose task is to hop around a pyramid, changing every piece to a different color. The task gets more difficult as the game progresses, especially when assorted enemies get in the way. Billy Mitchell, now 40 and a champion gamer himself, met Self in 1983 at that Florida arcade. Q*bert Doris Self - Q*bert "Doris Self was the old lady who played Qbert," he recalled. "She was 58 years old, she was full of spunk. She was the old lady and we were all the wise-guy kids in the arcade and we got along great." "It was not uncommon to see Doris Self walk in there at 11 p.m. and walk out at 7 a.m." Mitchell compares her to Granny in TV's Beverly Hillbillies. "Well she's far more stubborn than her and she's a little spunkier than her," Mitchell said. "She's a lot of fun to be around." Mitchell helped Self get back in the gaming saddle again several years ago after a break, lending her an arcade version of Qbert. And when a 72-year-old New Hampshire man dethroned her as world champion, Mitchell convinced her to try again. "I play every day," Self says. "If it's 3 o'clock in the morning, I just play until I feel like I can go to sleep and then I go to bed." She is no fan of modern games, however. "I've tried quite a few. I don't care for the newer modern games at all, but I do play a few of the classics because I got started on them. I always end up going back to Qbert. "Well, it's a challenge that I can beat eventually if I work at it. Pac-Man I could never master." Now that's Mitchell's game. On July 3, 1999, at the Funspot arcade in Weirs Beach, N.H., he scored a perfect game on Pac-Man. The score of 3,333,360 took him five to six hours. He completed 256 mazes _ "every dot, every energizer, every blue guy." "You literally exhaust the game's memory," he explained. "The 256th screen, the left half of the board is normal and the right half is computer garble." He has also set world records on Donkey Kong and Centipede. Mitchell is part gamer and part restaurateur (his family owns the Rickey's restaurant chain in Florida and he sells hot sauce). He counts several Canadian classic gamers among his friends and rivals: Hamilton's Rick Fothergill, known as Captain Canada for the Canadian cape he wears, and Dwayne Richard of Grande Prairie, Alta. Their bible is the Twin Galaxies' Official Video and Pinball Book of World Records, which tracks gaming accomplishments ( under the guidance of Walter Day. Self goes for her record _ 1.8 million points _ on Aug. 13, 2005.
Q*bert Who made it all happen with the Q*bert phenomenon? Warren Davis, Senior Software Engineer, Classic Q*bert Mastermind: Warren Davis studied at computer engineering and landed a job at Bell Laboratories. This job consisted of new iteration of the company's operator system and then onto the Voice Recognition research and development department. He eventually moved on to Gottlieb, which was a well-known pinball manufacturer who planned to go heavily into the new untapped video game market. This was a free wheeling time and the management said, "just make a game that is interesting enough for us to sell." It was a collaborative culture which lead to Warren's most famous creation, Q*bert. This was an exercise in gravity and randomness. The basic pyramid structure always intrigued him so he put into the form of a game. The playfield was put into a seven level pyramid structure with a falling ball which was affected by artificial gravity. The original name for q*bert was Snot's and Boogers, which is why the main character has such a large snout. Q*bert was originally going to use his snout as a weapon having nose debris shoot out. This idea was eventually rejected. Dave Theil was in charge of the sound and Jeff Lee was the graphic artist. The synthesized noises are actually a random number generator converted into noises being thrown to the speech chip. Rick Tighe installed a pinball flicker inside the cabinet which gave a blunt thud when Q*bert plunged from the pyramid. Hubert is the main bouncing character which vaguely rhymes with 'cube', becoming 'Cubert'. With an asterisk and a moniker the whole thing was set in stone. Q*bert. Q*Bert's simplicity and charming detail made it a big hit. 25,000 cabinets in all were sold since its release in 1982. Qberts cubes was one sequel but Warren didn't want to dumb down the game so he created a real sequel called Q*bertha. This sequel was released in the 1990's via Mame. It is a bit harder with the same challenges. In 1984 there was a video game crash and that was the end of Gottlieb. The premise is to turn all of the cubes the same color without being whipped out by the relentless coiled snake became the past time of many and it still holds mass appeal over 20 years later. Other threats come from "Ugg" and "Wrongway," two purple gremlins who bounce along the side of the cubes. And on top of all this, Q has to deal with "Slick" and "Sam," two green mischief making pineapples who turn cubes back to their original color when they hop on them. Q*Bert collecting qubes to build his pyramid, whilst avoiding the qube-stealing attacks of the villains has been a several decade old obsession by some.
Q*bert Description A two-legged, big-nosed, orange creature jumps diagonally around on a pyramid, changing the color of the blocks he lands on. Avoid most moving objects and characters while luring Coily, the snake, to his demise by jumping off the edge of the pyramid onto one of the flying disks. The game has nine levels of four rounds each. Q*Bert collecting qubes to build his pyramid, whilst avoiding the qube-stealing attacks of the villains. Description A two-legged, big-nosed, orange creature jumps diagonally around on a pyramid, changing the color of the blocks he lands on. Avoid most moving objects and characters while luring Coily, the snake, to his demise by jumping off the edge of the pyramid onto one of the flying disks. The game has nine levels of four rounds each. Know anything more about this game?Click here to contribute a description or other text information. Thanks! Cabinet Information The dedicated upright cabinets include a 'knocker' solenoid that activates whenever a character falls off the pyramid. The effect creates a rather loud "knock!" inside the cabinet whenever the device is activated. The solenoid is the same type that was used in many older pinball machines to indicate that a free game had been awarded. Conversion The main PCB can be configured to play both Q*bert and Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert. This can be performed via a ROM swap with some basic wiring to a switch. Game Introduction The orange character who you control in this game is Q*bert. The purple characters are your enemies and their names are Coily (the spring-like snake), Ugg (the pig-like creature) and Wrong-Way (the sharp-toothed creature who moves upside down). The friendly green creatures are named Slick (the one with the dark glasses) and Sam (the one with the white bulging eyes). Game Play You must have Q*bert hop on all the squares of each pyramid and change them into the color that they are required to be. Every time Q*bert is hit by something, he says "@!#?@!". You must be careful and be sure that Q*bert does not fall off the pyramid. As the attract mode explains, green is safe, nothing else is. The first dangerous things to appear are the red Whammy Balls. They drop down onto the second row and bounce down in random directions before falling off the bottom. Next is Coily. He begins as a large purple ball that acts just like a Whammy Ball until it reaches the bottom row. After a brief pause, it becomes the snake and will relentlessly chase Q*Bert around the pyramid. Ugg and Wrong Way appear together. They are oddballs in that their gravity is different. They bounce around the sides of the blocks (Wrong Way on the left, Ugg on the right), going "down" until disappearing off their respective "bottom rows". There are three different green things that appear. Unless the enemies prevent you, you will want to make it a point to collect anything green. Slick and Sam appear together and do the same thing. They bounce down like Whammy Balls, but everywhere they land, the color of the cube changes to something other than the target. As such, they become quite a nuisance in later levels. If you can grab them, you will stop their mischief and net 300 points. The little green ball is among the least common of things to see because they are so useful. Collecting the green ball not only nets you 100 points but starts a brief time freeze where you can hop around without interference. On each side of the pyramids, there are discs that Q*bert can use to escape from the bad guys. Everytime Q*bert jumps onto a disc, it will carry him back to the top of the pyramid. It is best to use a disc whenever Coily is close behind, so when Q*bert uses a disc at that moment, Coily will jump off of the pyramid. Killing Coily also clears the board of enemies (very handy). You must have all squares changed to the required color to proceed to the next round. After all four rounds on a level are completed, you will proceed to the next level. On the first level, you only need to jump on a square once to make it the correct color. At level two, you need to jump on them twice. At level three, you only need to jump once, but jumping on a square already at its target color changes it back! At level four, two jumps are required and jumping on a target color changes it to the intermediary color, requiring you to jump on it once more to change it back. At level five, jumping on a target color changes it back to the original color. It just gets harder from there as you may need to jump on a square three times or more. Also, as the game progresses, the pace gets faster. By about level six, you will be going about twice as fast as at level one. Level nine repeats infinitely. Miscellaneous This game was licensed to Konami for Japanese manufacture and distribution. The game was also sold as a bootleg version by Jeutel in France. Some of the manufactured boards were simple conversions from Jeutel's Q*bert bootleg boards, with some very basic hardware modifications. One of the main differences between Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert and the original is that the flying disks on the sides of the pyramids change positions randomly throughout the game play. There is also a bonus round after levels two and five. The idea of the game is fairly simple: jump around a large pyramid with many blocks of cubes. When you jump on a cube, the cube changes color. When all of the cubes have changed to a specific color, you move on to the next level. Of course, the game is not quite that easy. You must avoid several different enemies who are out to stop you. One of those enemies is Coily, who is a large purple snake. If Coily appears on the screen, you must be very careful as he will chase you around the entire pyramid. If Coily is able to catch you, he will destroy you in a "Python" type squeeze. You will also have to deal with Wrong-Way and Uggs. They are some colorful looking guys who bounce around the pyramid looking for you. You must also avoid the occasional bouncing colored balls. The balls drop from the top of the screen, and roll down the pyramid. Sam and Slick appear later in the game. They will randomly appear on the screen, and jump on cubes to change their color back, so you will need to jump on them again. You don't have any kind of weapons, per se, in this game, but you do have a few resources for your defense. Occasionally, a green ball will roll down the pyramid. If you can jump on the green ball, all of your enemies will stop moving for several seconds. You also have several colored disks off to either side of the pyramid. If you jump on a disk, it will fly up to the top of the pyramid, and drop you off on the highest cube. If your timing is good, Coily will jump right off the pyramid as he attempts to catch you. There are nine levels of difficulty in Q*Bert. Each level has four different pyramids to conquer. When you finish a pyramid, you are taken away to the next one. As you move farther into the game, your enemies get faster & smarter. Trivia Several early units were shipped with "@!#?@!" on the marquee instead of "Q*bert". Part of this game's unique charm is the pure gibberish that comes out of the machine's speech synthesizer. There was an erroneous rumor going around that the designer of the Furby is the original programmer of Q*bert. This is untrue. The original Q*bert arcade game was designed and programmed by Warren Davis with graphics by Jeff Lee and sounds by David Thiel. The designer of the Furby may have been one of the programmers of a Q*bert conversion to a home system (such as the Atari 2600), hence the confusion. Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert never went into production and no dedicated cabinets are known to exist.

Back to: Walter Day Conversations

Click here to bookmark this page!

Frenzy Champion Paul Dean
Thank you,
Paul Dean,, Spy Hunter Champion, June 28, 1985

Free Web Counter
hit Counter

Spy Hunter Game Music

Spy Hunter

Click here to bookmark this page! ---------------------------------

[Coin-Op World Records]

Click At Desired Graphic Text For Each Introduction

Biography Commentary Questions

Click On Below Graphic Text For Spy Hunter Introduction

Tournament and Guinness Book Results From 1983-2004

Click On Below Graphic Text For All Video High Scores thru 2004

The Golden Era

Click On Below Graphic Text For Material On The Golden Years Of Video Games 1980's

Click the Below Graphic Text to read my Conversations With Walter Day

June 9, 2004 Walter Day states, "No Replay Necessary" for Paul Dean

Find A Video Game Auction Near You

Home Page

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

--------------------------------- Click here to bookmark this page! ---------------------------------
Qbert Quest Pinball; Released March, 1983

Q*bert Quest Pinball Help Q*bert light up his pyramid by hitting "cube targets and rollovers. Completing pyramids builds high scores. The three villians advance in seven steps to steal cubes from the pyramid. Hitting their targets will stop the attack and save the lit cube. Stopping all three villians during the first step of their attack earns an Extra Ball. Completing the yellow-lane loop shot also helps player earn an Extra Ball. Hitting yellow spot targets pushes the villains back delaying the attack. Completing six pyramids earns a Special (operator adjustable). Player collects pyramid values at the end of each ball. 1983 D. Gottlieb & Company 165 W. Lakes St. Northlake, IL 60164 Qbert Quest Pinball Type: Solid State Electronic (SS) Production: 884 units (confirmed) Specialty: Widebody Design by: John Trudeau Art by: David Moore Q*bert says, "@!#?@!". The End Thank you! Paul Dean