Retro Gamer, with Editor, Paul Drury, is the UK's first regular magazine, dedicated
to the classic vidoe games and hardware of yesteryear. Published bi-monthly, every
issue includes a collector's edition CD, packed to the rafters with PC retro games
across all genres and also includes the latest emulators to help you relive those
unforgettable gaming moments.
Back to: Walter Day Conversations
1982 Frogger (aka Frog)
Undefeated World Record 442,330
Retro Game: RG magazine : Retro Gamer 14 (vol 2 issue 2) Link
Retro Gamer is the UK's first regular retro magazine. Each issue delves into
the glorious, ever-growing retro scene and covers all the classic games,
computers and consoles from your misspent youth.
Retro Gamer 14 (vol 2 issue 2)
Now with 30% more retro content!
This month RG leads with an in-depth look at the Atari 7800 console, rounding
up the best games for this often-overlooked system. We also interview Jon Ritman,
the man behind a string of 8-bit classics including Match Day and Head over Heels,
while former Zzap! 64 editor Gordon Houghton reveals his all-time favorite games.
Plus, we begin our epic coverage of the Star Control series, and there's a complete,
fully playable PC/Mac port of Star Control 2 on this month's coverdisc.
High Score Article:
American Mark Robichek can proudly call himself the world's best Frogger player.
After all, his all-time high-score of 442,330 has never been beaten, despite being
recorded over 20 years ago. Mark Robichek remembers the day he managed this
amazing feat. Mark continued playing video games when he went on to college at Stanford.
Mark Robichek's ACTUAL JOB: Link
Mark Robichek is the Vice President of Actual Entertainment. Once featured in
Life magazine as one of the elite video game players in the nation, Mark Robichek was known,
at one time or another, for having the highest score in the "world" on video games
such as Frogger, Moon Patrol, Pengo, Tutankham and Bagman.
From 1985 to 1995, Mark Robichek worked as a Project Manager and Applications Engineer at
ILEX Systems, Inc., in charge of large networked control systems (SCADA) for the
utility business. Then, he joined forces with long-time friends Franz Lanzinger
and Eric Ginner in the formation of Actual Entertainment. Mark Robichek is a member of the
American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), having attained the rank of Silver Life Master.
Mark Robichek is also an expert in the little-known sport of car rallies. Mark Robichek's
spare time is spent playing tennis, playing bridge, playing video games, playing word
games, and watching "quality" television.
Mark Robichek hosted a live chat on 3-Dec-97 at World Without Borders.
Life Magazine 1983
Life Magazine, Eric Ginner, Mark Robichek
Along with Eric Ginner, Mark Robichek achieved fame by being featured in Life Magazine
and Blip Magazine in 1983.
Back in the good old days of 1983, when Atari was still top of the heap of the
video game world, Marvel Comics published seven issues of their comic book-sized
video game magazine Blip...
Blip Magazine (1983)
In April, '98, Mark Robichek was interviewed by Blank Gaming...
Below, a snipet of what he said.
WWB GameZone presents....
Mark Robichek, President, Actual Entertainment
Mark Robichek is the president of Actual Entertainment, the force behind that lovable
arcade treat Gubble! It has been amassing a huge following, among those looking
for a fun and challenging family oriented game!
What is Gubble?
Product Model Year: 1997
It seems that creatures of Gubble's kind are particularly adept at loosening
screws, nails, rivets, and other such fasteners. So adept, in fact, that Gubble
has been kidnapped and sent to a dangerous planet to ply this skill. His captors
have instructed him to unfasten the screws and bolts on a large enemy ship, promising
to return him to his home if he is successful. Success will take good puzzle-solving
skills though (and perhaps a little luck), as the falling pieces from the unfastened
ship could put a quick end to Gubble's efforts. Not to mention the enemy creatures,
who would rather their high-tech equipment remain in one piece.
Gubble is a pacman-type game in which you move Gubble around the screen avoiding
the bad guys while hitting all the appropriate squares to complete the level.
Gubble rides on tools (like a screwdriver or a hammer) which is a unique idea
and leads to some new graphics, and advertising sponsorships. I felt the game was
fun for a while and then got a bit boring -- I didn't complete it. I would have
liked more strategy in where I had to move Gubble to complete a puzzle (like
with Chip's Challenge) and less emphasis on doing it quickly. If you like
pacman-type games, you would probably like this one.
Gubble Playstation programmer
This game should remind you strongly of an old Atari arcade standup, Crystal Castles,
where you used a trackball to maneuver Bentley Bear around a series of stair step
maze levels, in witch Berthilda's castle, touching each floor segment to pick up the
all of the gems.
Bentley was also plagued with wandering nasties who would like nothing more than to ruin
his day. Well, we can't accuse Actual Entertainment for ripping off the idea, because
one of them was the programmer responsible for the original Crystal Castles.
(Mastered by Frank Seay with a World Record of 910,722)
Arcade Programmers: by Atari, Franz X. Lanzinger & Scott Fuller
Franz Lanzinger Gamer Profile
Santa Clara, CA
GCS Grey: Where did you get the idea for Gubble? Link
robichek: The idea for Gubble... It all started in the mind of my long-time best
friend and co-founder, Franz Lanzinger. Back in the early 80's, he created a game
called Crystal Castles for Atari. In a way, Gubble is Crystal Castles brought to
Windows 95 (and Mac, too). My favorite description of Gubble comes from an on-line
reviewer who described it as "3D Pacman" but with much better graphics.
Crystal Castles Level 1
Gubble4Ever!!!: Mark Robichek, why didn't you just make Crystal Castles for Windows?
Why come up with a new character?
robichek: Good question, In this industry, one will often find that old
games (even really old ones) are often owned by companies who do not want to
give up the rights. That was true with Atari and Crystal Castles.
Peter Cohen: Mark Robichek- What's the "Skil" connection? Did you get the trademark
licensed? Were they cool about it? Did they even know? :-) robichek: Yes, Peter.
When we got the idea to have an alien using tools to remove things, we decided
to chat with all the major tool companies. Sears Craftsman, Black & Decker and
Skil. Skil thought that it sounded like a great idea and gave us the rights to
use their tools in the game. Plus, it's nice to know that a video game has some
element of "skil" in it!
Peter Creath: How many copies have you sold, and at what rate? Did it start off
selling fast? If not, how long did it take to pick up? Has it been pretty steady since?
(It's hard to remain positive when your game is selling only a few copies a day!)
Finally, about what percentage of the retail price do you receive (as a company)?
robichek: Well, I can tell you that over 17,000 have sold into the channel as of
Nov. 1. It is more difficult to find out how many have actually sold, but it is
probably about 75% of that number. It has been selling amazingly steadily since
May. Word of mouth is a wonderful sales tool! Out of the retail price, the stores
take about 30%. The distributor takes another 6% or so. What's left is split between
ourselves and our US partner.
Don't confuse Gubble with The Glob - Epos 1983 video game which another high score earner
Donald Hayes / DBH
has a world record from way back in 1984. Link
1983 Life Magazine Article - snipet Link
ABC-TV's "That's Incredible" Broadcasts History's First Video Game World Championship,
was conducted January 8-9,1983. Eric Ginner, ended up in fifth, may have been
Frogger's prime victim. Link
Dan Guttman, editor of Video Game Players Magazine, sent a reporter to The
Electronic Circus. Though everyone was bone-tired, the photographer had Eric Ginner,
Steve Sanders and Billy Mitchell posing in athletic pyramids on top of the Circus bus.
What about the U.S. National Video Game Team? Who were the first Inductees?
Eric Ginner, Mark Hoff, Leo Daniels, Billy Mitchell, Steve Harris, Ben Gold,
Tad Perry (Seattle, WA) and Chris Emery (Winnipeg, Canada) with Walter Day as
Eric Ginner and Mark Robichek have been friends for some time. Eric is a
20-year-old accountant. Mark Robichek, 23, designs electronic systems that help factories
run more efficiently. They both live in Mountain View, California, which happens
to be about 5 miles from where Atari has its headquarters.
FRANZ LANZINGER (FXL)
Headquarters: Actual Entertainment
1030 E. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087-3759
Phone: (408) 730-8465
Company: Actual Entertainment makes PC games with lasting appeal that are
"actually entertaining" for gamers and novices alike.
Mission: To lead the market in developing intriguing and innovative PC games
that will appeal to gamers and novices alike.
Management: Franz Lanzinger, President & CEO
Gubble Playstation Programmer
Classic Gaming Expo Distinguished Guest:
Franz worked as a programmer and game designer at Atari Games Inc. and Tengen.
Early on in his career he programmed and designed the ground-breaking arcade hit,
Crystal Castles. A terrific video game player himself, Franz even held the world
record for the arcade version of Centipede for six months in 1981.
He left in 1990 to co-found Bitmasters and served as their President until April
of 1995. Franz then joined together with Mark Robichek and Eric Ginner to form
Actual Entertainment where he currently serves as Chairman.
Here's a list of some of Franz' other exceptional work:
Program & Design:
Toobin' (NES, conversion) Ms. Pac-Man (NES, conversion) Krazy Kreatures
(NES, original) Rampart (NES, SNES, conversion) Championship Pool
(SNES, original) NCAA Final Four Basketball (SNES, original).
Ms. Pac-Man (Genesis, conversion) Championship Pool (Genesis, NES, Gameboy, original)
NCAA Final Four Basketball (Genesis, original).
Classic Gaming Expo™ (CGE) is a trademark of
CGE Services, Corp. (C) Copyright 1999-2004
All rights reserved.
LIFE Magazine Article, (January 1983)
LIFE magazine was preparing its "year-in-review" edition for 1982 and
had decided that video games would receive significant coverage.
The players selected for the LIFE photo session included: Ben Gold and
Mike Lepkosky from Texas; Mark Robichek, Todd Walker, Eric Ginner and
Doug Nelson from California; Billy Mitchell and Ned Troide from Florida;
Leo Daniels, Joel West and Sam Blackburn from North Carolina; Darren Olson
and Kent Farries from Calgary, Alberta; Jeff Brandt from Illinois; Matt Brass
from Montana; and Steve Sanders from Missouri.
This initial clique of seventeen kids would number close to one hundred
players by 1985, mostly as members of the U.S. National Video Game Team.
Mark Robichek of Mountain View, CA, topped Tutankham;
Eric Ginner Link
Eric Ginner's ACTUAL JOBS:
Eric became a video game fanatic when Asteroids appeared in local arcades in 1980.
He spent many hours perfecting his skills, which led to several national high scores
on games such as Robotron, Millipede, Centipede, and many others. The highlight of
his video game career was winning the Centipede World Championship in 1981.
This hobby eventually turned into real jobs. The first was writing articles on
video game strategy for Joystik magazine. In 1984, Eric began working at Atari
as a game tester. He spent the next several years helping test and develop many
games for the various Atari game machines and computers. He ventured into the world
of programming in 1990 and went on to do programming work on five Lynx games and
two Jaguar games. In 1994, Eric left Atari to join Bitmasters, where he worked on
two games. Then it was time to join those other guys at Actual Entertainment. Eric
was the lead programmer on Gubble and Gubble 2 and then moved on to another company...
we miss him!
Along with Mark Robichek, Eric achieved fame by being featured in Life Magazine
and Blip Magazine in 1983. Care to have a look?
In his spare time, Eric enjoys playing video games, poker, bridge, and watching sports.
Eric programmed the following games:
Ms. Pacman (Lynx)
Checkered Flag (Lynx)
Batman Returns (Lynx)
Pool Champion (Windows)
Crescent Galaxy (Jaguar)
NCAA Final Four Basketball (SNES)
Eric Ginner (1983)
Editor's Message by Doug Mahugh
JoyStik Magazine, Writer Eric Ginner
In this issue, you'll find strategy pieces written by three well-known players:
Eric Ginner, Tad Perry, and Ben Gold. These three young men are part of a nationwide
clique that includes the top coin-op players in the U.S. It may come as a surprise
to you (as it did to me) to learn that such a group exists. These players talk to
one another on almost a daily basis, in spite of the fact that they live all around
(Eric Ginner, Joystik Magazine Contributing Writer, 1983)
Eric Ginner, who has been contributing his strategies and observations to JoyStik
since January of this year, is perhaps the best known of the group. He first earned
national recognition in the Atari World Championships in 1981, and since then he
has won numerous contests and set many world records.
One of the world records Eric Ginner has held was the Millipede record, at 1,506,864
points. Last February, that record was broken, or rather shattered, by Ben Gold, who
scored over four million points. Ben was also one of the featured players in the
recent tour of the U.S. Olympic Video Game Team, and he has appeared in two nationally
televised contests, both of which he won.
Paul Dean, spy hunter champion, Millennium June 28, 1985