Sunday, November 9, 2008

World Record In Geekiness

I have loved video games ever since I was a kid. I remember coming downstairs at my cousins house while they were playing Mario 3, on the NES, seeing it for the first time and not even knowing with to do with myself. It was enthralling, not just to play but to watch, and to imagine the possibilities that lied within the fact that with nothing but a tiny little controller you could command the actions of what was unfolding on screen.

As time went on I continued to love gaming, although in the last few years my interest has dwindled, probably due to the fact that I am so fucking busy now. One thing that I still make time for, though, is sitting down and playing through some of the classic games on an old Nintendo, if I can find one.

Me, Karl, and Dave started a habit of sitting down to chill and play Tetris on most nights, going head to head over our top scores and passing the controller around. Karl and I eventually got to the point where nobody could touch our scores, and we stayed there for a while, posting our all time top scores above the TV with tape so we could try to beat it later. Not long after that, though, my playing reached a new level and even Karl was getting left behind. My scores were reaching nearly unheard of heights, rivaled only by fuzzily recollected stories of friends or relatives who had supposedly gotten higher ones back in the day. The top score that I got, on the NES version of Tetris, was 620 thousand and some odd change.

Daniel Anderson - 620,XXX

Now, I thought that this was probably a pretty good score, but I wanted to see it in context. I searched online and found all sorts of claims that blew mine out of the water, including several 999,999 point games. I found videos too, but nothing offically verified and I wasn't sure which system some of them were on, because that changes the point structure and the difficulty greatly. Eventually I just gave up. It was Stefanie's NES, and she moved, and I kind of just stopped playing and forgot about it.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I sit down with a documentary that I had long wanted to see, "The King Of Kong: Fistful Of Quarters." The film follows the long held rivalry between long time Donkey Kong record holder Billy Mitchell and the underdog Steve Wiebe. It is a really amazing and fascinating movie and is surprisingly moving. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in either gaming, documentaries, or metaphors for the fall of Western Civilization.

Obviously, the ladies are flocking to these events.

Much of the film, however, is about the creation and current management of the official world record scoreboard for gaming, called Twin Galaxies. Twin Galaxies is a website that reviews submitted video, as well as participating in live competitive events, to determine the highest official score of nearly every game that you could think of. All of this talk of world records holders and official scores sparked something in me, so I cruised over to Twin Galaxies to check out there scoreboard for NES Tetris, fully expecting to be greeted by a sea of 999,999 through 999,990's. This is what I found...

1 - 977,427 - Harry J. Hong - 12/26/2007
2 - 620,260 - Ted Sotoropolis - 03/27/2005
3 - 606,061 - Jesse A Kelkar - 03/02/2008
4 - 571,450 - Mike J Hayes - 03/29/2006
5 - 550,338 - Michael Sulpher - 02/26/2005

I am shocked. I just discovered that if I would have had a camera running on some of these nights, I would hold the second highest NES Tetris score in the world.

I am going to either go out to my cabin, where the old NES is, and bring it home, or I am going to head out and try to find one at a pawn shop. I am then going to set up a video camera and get to work, and I am going to record that score. I hope that the world is ready for a new Tetris Champion.


kbpeterson said...

Dan, does this mean that you and I are potentially some of the best NES Tetris players in the world? I don't recall what my high score was. Did I break 500k? I think I did. I can't believe those are the high scores.

Good luck, I think you could be number 1. I'm right there with you if you want to practice.

jimmy jimmy said...

Holy Shit.

You and Karl need to get back on a strict Tetris regiment. It would be an honor to say two of my best friends are World Champion Tetris Champions.

Can I direct your winning video and give myself IMDB credit?

Jennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stefanie p. warmouth said...

i have your high scores written down SOMEWHERE. i know i didn't throw them out. i think they might be with my NES in my parents' garage. we'll find out in december.

The Moth said...

Yes Karl, it does. I was actually thinking the exact same thing. You definitely were breaking the top 10.

Joel said...

thats really freakin awesome. like, insaaaane. you have something to brag about to people forever now. im sure that factoid will make the ladies go insane!

Ben Mullen said...

do it... but the leaderboad has changed significantly since then. But for the most part most people still cant crack 700k do that and you can have 4th