The Obsolete Gamer Show: Ben Gold


The Retrogaming season of OGS continues with another Twin Galaxies legend, Ben Gold.

Ben was a pro gamer and legend at 16 and a member of the inaugural U.S. National Video Game Team. In our extended interview, we discuss what it was like being a gamer during the 80’s, appearing on That’s Incredible and meeting, Walter Day for the first time. If you like classic gaming nostalgia this episode is for you.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Richie Knucklez


We start our new season dedicated to Retrogaming with the King of the Arcade, Richie Knucklez. Fans of Retrogaming will know him from his gaming achievements, the documentary film, King of the Arcade and of course, Twin Galaxies.

In our extended interview, we discuss his experiences running a successful arcade, being a retrogamer and his awesome collection of arcade cabinets.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Luminaries of eSports (Walter, Billy, Todd, Ben, Steve, TriForce)


If you are a gamer then you most likely know a little about eSports. eSports is big right now and is only going to get bigger over time. What people may not know is where eSports began. We talk with not only pioneers of gaming, but the first eSports team.

Our guest list for this episode includes:

• Walter Day: Founder of Twin Galaxies
• Billy Mitchell: Gamer of the 20th Century
• Todd Rogers: World’s 1st Professional Gamer
• Ben Gold: 1st World Video Game Champion
• Steve Sanders: Top 16 Gamer of LIFE Magazine 1982
• TriForce Johnson: Founder of Empire Arcadia

We talk about the founding of Twin Galaxies and the effects it had on the gaming world as well as the Life Magazine photo shoot in 1982 and the World’s first television broadcasted video game world championship hosted by ABC’s That’s Incredible. We also discuss the US National Video Game team and 35 years of eSports.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Triforce Johnson (Twin Galaxies 35th Anniversary)


The historic Twin Galaxies arcade celebrated its 35th anniversary as hundreds of gamers attended the event in Ottumwa, Iowa to pay tribute to whom many call the father of competitive gaming, founder, Walter Day. We welcome Triforce Johnson back to the show to talk about the history of Twin Galaxies and its importance in video game history.

Billy Mitchell: You play Pac Man?


We all know who Billy Mitchell is especially if you love classic games, but sometimes you can know somebody and get the reason you know them just a little bit wrong as Billy explains in this clip from our Q&A event at the Florida Film Festival for Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Walter Day


What do you talk about when you sit down with a legend like Walter Day? Crazy horror movies like, Deathbed and the time a 7 year old Japanese girl beat your friend in a video game of course.

Any gamer worth their controller or keyboard knows Walter Day and his work with Twin Galaxies and our conversation with him covers what was truly the birth of eSports and competitive gaming. We also discuss the changing face of gaming and the effect the internet has had on games and gamers alike and the legacy of Twin Galaxies.

You’ll want to check out this interview.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Terry Burtlow

A true retrogamer, collector of classic games oh and he just happens to hold 28 Twin Galaxies world records. We talk with Terry Burtlow about collecting, gaming and more.

Unfortunately, the video had issues in this episode, but it was a great conversation so we wanted to share it.

Alt F4 Episode 2: Dave Vogt

Alt F4 Episode 2: Dave Vogt

Alt F4 is back for another episode and this week we bring you multiple world record holder, Dave Vogt. Dave holds records in a number of classic games including Castlevania and has been featured on Twin Galaxies and Video Game Score Board.

dave vogt headshot

Obsolete Gamer recently posted his Gamer Profile and it was great to talk to him about his gaming history, the fact that his parents were gamers as well as his wife and that he is passing it on to his children.

Million Point “Mario Off” on 1337 Lounge Live

Million Point “Mario Off” on 1337 Lounge Live

Steven Kleisath and Stephen Boyer

Our friends over on 1337 Lounge Live are having yet another classic gaming event and we are happy to help promote it. On Friday, March 14th from 6PM to 1AM PST you can watch Twin Galaxies video game trading card members and Mario Bros champions, Steven Kleisath and Stephen Boyer go head to head live to see who can get the most points in the classic arcade game, the original, Mario Bros.

Now if you don’t know about 1337 Lounge Live you should:

1337LoungeLive is Jace Hall’s premium celebrity gaming channel on Twitch.tv which features weekly programming that spans game tournaments, new release showcases, and celebrity gaming events. In addition to classic gaming record holders, professional gamers and game developers, the channel has hosted events featuring such illustrious guests as legendary Marvel comics creator Stan Lee, Jon Heder, Kelly Hu, Roger cross and other cast members from “Arrow,” Dean Cain, Katrina Law and Dan Feuerreigel of “Spartacus,” Michael Rosenbaum from “Smallville,” Michael Jai White from Spawn, and more.

In addition, recently a number of record holders and champions in classic gaming have been appearing on the channel competing in marathons and other events. The cool thing is you can turn in and chat while watching and even Skype in with video and talk, so you should check it out.

Gamer Profile: Todd Friedman

[youtube id=”c4bvZZa5Mtg” width=”633″ height=”356″]

“The Legend of Zelda still stands the time as a fun challenging game.  The gameplay , music and story are just as fun as they were in the 80’s.   I can still play for hours.” –Todd Friedman

Todd Friedman

  • Video Game Trading Card #48
  • Todd Friedman
  • Favorite classic game is The Legend of Zelda for the NES
  • World record holder in DJ Hero 1 & 2 on the Nintendo Wii

Todd Friedman is a World record holder in DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2 as well as other records on the Nintendo Wii and the original Nintendo Entertainment system. An avid game collector, Todd owns over 1700 classic video games and 27 video games systems.

[Game Profile Wing: World Record Holders]

Gamer Profile: John A Pompa

John A Pompa

Name: John A Pompa

Favorite Classic Game: Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Quote: Out of all the games I own, and have played.  Super Mario Bros. is that one game that just never gets old. It was the first game that I ever owned (not played) when I got an NES for Christmas.  Everything about that game is just perfect, the game play, sound effects, music, tricks & secrets. The game is such a timeless classic that Nintendo has re-released it so many times now, and parts of the game and images and music still turn up in modern Super Mario games.

Bio: I love all games.  Both old and new, but the classic/retro ones, are the ones that appeal to me more.  I’m a collector of game systems and computers. It seems the older I get, the farther I drift back in these gaming machines.  The older stuff, and this is just my own personal opinion, has a much greater re-play value.  I mean  Batman ArkhamCity on the Xbox 360 or PS3 is great, looks amazing and is super fun.   But once it’s beaten, I will most likely never go back to it.  Yars’ Revenge on the Atari 2600 is a different story with me, that game could never get old.

I remember when my brother and I were younger, we would go to the arcade in our local Mall on the weekends.  Mom and Dad would give us a few dollars to get quarters with, and it was greatest feeling in the world, seemed like the possibilities were endless.  Who would have guessed, those same games in the arcade, would still be as relevant in my life almost 25-30 years later.  Now I’m older and have found new ways to keep these classics alive in my heart.  Places like Twin Galaxies and Retrocade allow me to compete with scores, talk about all these great games, and find others who share the same passions in life.  And with the streaming of the Internet, all these gaming generations can come together as one.  This is a great time for all video game players.

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Matt Bradford

 

Matt Bradford

Name: Matt Bradford

Favorite Classic Game: TRON: Deadly Discs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk7dLhKzC8U[/youtube]

Details as to why it is your favorite: One of the first games I used to play (and got addicted to) with my Dad when we first brought home the Intellivision. Like many classics from that time, it connects me back to the 80s when gaming was still new to me, and I wasn’t spoiled by all the advancements that came after.

Bio: I’m a freelance editor/writer who contributes as daily news contributor for www.gamesradar.com and as 2012’s Puzzle Expert in the latest Guinness World Records Gamers Edition. I was also the Editorial Director for Twin Galaxies International until earlier this year. When I’m not living and breathing video games, I’m also writing for numerous radio stations and publications from my home in Barrie, Ontario; where I live with my most excellent wife, Marijana, and our soon-to-be gaming child.

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Lance Eustache

Lance Eustache

Name: Royal Lance Eustache

Favorite Classic Game: Street Fighter II

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePJsX2YdqAs[/youtube]

Details as to why it is your favorite: Street Fighter II was literally my escape to game when I was a child. When I got crap from my parents I would head to the arcade and start playing. I also played my cousins in SF2 as a kid. I sometimes sandbag just so the losers would stop whining.

Bio: Lance Eustache immersed himself into the video game culture by attending events such as PAX East, New York Comic Con, and MAGFest. When not at his day job, Lance writes gaming articles, tests his fighting game skills against top players, does referee work for Twin Galaxies, etc., etc. Lance is also part of local gaming communities such as StreetPass Network New York and Empire Arcadia.

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Ben Mullen

Ben Mullen

Name: Ben Mullen

Favorite Classic Game: NES Tetris

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvUK-YWYcaE[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite: NES Tetris has been my muse, my vice, and my obssession for quite some time.  To make a Long story short, I want to max out the score and join one of the most exclusive clubs in gaming history so doing.


What is your part in the movie: The movie itself follows the story of 6-10 of the best NES Tetris players in the world covering their training routine, love of the game, past present and future plans: I am one of those players I currently hold the lines record (well sort of, but i certainly did at the time of filming) and am in first place (amoung those who have not maxout out yet) sort of a “best of the worst of the best” haha

Bio: I’m a small town fellow from North Dakota who gre up playing very few video games, tetris was my favorite and remains so to this day.  I work as an Advisor at a Community College in Minneapolis, helping students navigate resources and decide on the best courses to take etc… I like cubed and fried SPAM… its a fact 🙂

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Matt Miller

MATTHEW-MILLER

Name:  Matthew S. Miller

Favorite Classic Game:  Night Stalker (Intellivision)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaqbN480Wog[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite: With seemingly endless game play and a crafty A.I., Night Stalker not only tests your skill and reflexes, it challenges your will.  Squaring off against a relentless and perpetually respawning invisible robot (from the 80,000 point mark on) along with three other omnipresent threats in an enclosed battleground, one is routinely faced with split second fight versus flight decisions, which provides edge of the seat excitement.

Bio:
Age:  32
Occupation:  Manager of Merge/Purge Services
Interests:  Gaming and attending heavy metal shows

Gaming Achievements:  I currently hold fifty individual world records and two team world records at Twin Galaxies.

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Brian Cady

Brian Cady

Name:  Brian Cady

Favorite Classic Game:  Tempest

Why it is your favorite:  It took so many quarters in my youth and helped get me into the IVGHOF.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa_b8C0KxfY[/youtube]

Bio: 

Brian Cady enjoys maintaining and restoring classic pinball and arcade games as much as he enjoys playing them. He was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural 2010 group, is the Vice President of the non-profit organization that produces the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show and is the Senior Twin Galaxies Referee for pinball.

Brian has worked in the IT field for over 15 years and held leadership positions at IBM, Washington Mutual and Microsoft. He also enjoys photography and writing and has had numerous articles published including several in the Pin-Game Journal. Brian lives in Bonney Lake, Washington with his wife Shirley (who has the world record on Sky-Line) and three children.

World Records

96,832 Tempest (Extreme Settings) 03/15/2009*
1,673 Bank-A-Ball (pinball)    06/13/2009*
386,430 Klax                        03/25/2010*
2,480 Space Fever (Game A) 10/01/2011*
2,160 Space Fever (Game B) 10/01/2011*
2,870 Space Fever (Game C) 10/01/2011*
* Scores were world records on these dates

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Eric R. Cummings

ERIC-CUMMINGS

Name: Eric R. Cummings

Favorite Classic Game: Destiny of an Emperor (NES)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsDzXAO0zqU[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite: It’s an NES RPG by Capcom based on events that took place in Second Century China that first puts you in the shoes of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei (The same guys from the ROTK and Dynasty Warriors series by Koei) to quell the Yellow Turban Rebellion. At first it seems like a Dragon Warrior clone in which your party moves at a high speed but upon further inspection, it’s a cool history lesson wrapped in the guise of an entertaining video game. Battles are fought in two ways, turn based and strategic with weapons and magic or a quick fight option where everyone fights at a high speed until stopped or one party is wiped out. The coolest thing about the game is the ability to recruit hundreds of defeated opponents to add to your stable of generals and incorporate them into your 5 man (7 man total, 2 in reserve) battle party.

Bio: I’ve been playing video games since the age of 3 when my Father bought one of the original Pong games in 1980. Raised in a small town with a tiny population, Sawyer MN, the only thing to do was swim, bike, and play in the woods or play video games. We owned the Intellivision, Atari 2600 and the NES before we moved to CT when I was around 12. It was around that age that I started really getting into gaming, absorbing the history, learning who makes what and anticipating releases. I participated in the 1991 Nintendo World Championships, which was taking place in Hartford CT when it came to my area. I loved that I got to play games that weren’t out and ended up reaching the Quarter Finals.

I own a massive video game collection with over a thousand games, over 20 systems and tons of first and third party controllers. I also hold many different Gaming World Records with various organizations and have a vast knowledge pertaining to the history of gaming. I’ve worked many different jobs over the years but my favorite jobs were 3rd Key at Funcoland, Managing a Video Store and Working for Twin Galaxies International. I currently run Gaming World Wide www.gamingworldwide.org and have big plans on the horizon.

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Rudy J. Ferretti

RUDY-FERRETTI

Name: Rudy J. Ferretti

Favorite Classic Game: Well I have been asked the question so many times and so many to choose so, it will have to be Castlevania NES

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSiXdRJDAEM[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite: This game was the ONLY reason I rushed home from school each day to play the NES, I was intrigued by the colors, the originality and the secrets. I loved the idea of being a Vampire Hunter locked inside a castle and no way to turn back, scoring points and learning how to defeat and master the game and the enemies and bosses. The music was so advanced for it’s time and I could remember playing it in my head and talking about it at recess at school, and  the problems we had with certain enemies and bosses in the game, and although there were games similar to this game out there, NOTHING compares to the game and the series in itself, and everyone one of them were unique in their own way, I will and have always been a fan dark/evil games and movies but, this game and series is prob the biggest reason why I started playing the NES…

Bio:

  • Rudy had been gaming since he was six years of age. Born May 27, 1979, In New Rochelle, N.Y.. He discovered that he could compete and keep up with the best gamers in the World. I Discovered Twin Galaxies in 2000 and the first score I saw that I Knew I could match was Pitfall two for the Atari 2600, after that I started submitting on the NES going through many battles on many titles and systems. I won many and lost many that’s what a real champion is all about winning and losing. I have a colorful collection of many World Titles that range from fastest times to highest scores and even some that I have lost the 1st place spot on were and will always be notable scores. Some Include one of the most popular games Splatterhouse for TG 16 I was the first high score champion and have lost and regained the score since, I hold the World title on the Sega Genesis Mutant League Hockey with a 43-0 Shutout only to not score higher do to CPU going crazy in the game, A Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES, I was the first high score champion and still am to this day.
  • Other scores include Monopoly for the NES 2:!6 Bankruptcy of the Computer, Lethal Weapon NES Max score 602,700, Wizards and Warriors Max Score NES, Home Alone Max score NES 141,340, Castlevania 3 Max score NES 999,999 Nes Monster in my pocket 9,999 max score, Super Mario GB 999,999 Land I have many other scores on multi consoles and have been listed in Guinness gamers edition all 5 years and in 2008 he was featured more than any gamer in the entire world in the book, Video Game collector magazine, Retrocade and in several other books in hopes to be in more.
  • Rudy has appeared on Coin-Op TV, Retroware TV and has been on several podcasts on various sites over the years, he is also a World Class Flash gamer on Retromundi.com,
  • I have been to many events, and have performed and obtained world records on gaming LIVE and on the Spot.
  • Two notable facts about Rudy J. Ferretti, I was the only gamer in history that flew nearly 3000 miles to prove in person that my score On Jaws for the NES was not by a Turbo Controller due to that fact in my prime my finger speed was second to none, I was not only the person to ever Crack 2600 Points on Twin Rifle a novelty Arcade game but it was done on my first try in Las Vegas at the Pinball Hall of fame at the end of several tried I shattered the Record of 2600 points and obtained a whopping 9100 points In front of Walter Day  but, it did not stop there a year later on the same machine in the same location, I not only broke the record on ONE try but , I did it in front of Todd Rogers scoring and looping the game 9999, with a new score of 10,200 points after NOT playing the game an entire year.
  • The game I revolutionized was for the Atari 2600, the time the score was a sub 40k, I was the first person not only to brake 40k, I scored over a million on the game only to kill off my remaining 50 plus lives in reserve. The game was Muppets Pigs in Space.
  • Plagued by politics and and hate and corruption over the years in gaming, Rudy has never truly maxed his performance potentials in gaming and to this his dreams of having the all around gaming league continue but, Rudy says the most important goal and Record of ll is to maintain his record of holding the most NES perfect/max scores that stands at 14 to this  day as he continues to play to add to that number and although he may not hold the Tetris score yet, Rudy has placed himself into history of a TOP all time NES  player and one of the best all around video gamers in history……
  • What’s next for Rudy? will just have to wait and find out.

TGI Trading Card Profiles: Patrick Scott Patterson

Patrick Scott Patterson

Favorite Classic Game:  Lode Runner (Commodore 64)

Details as to why it is your favorite:  Great blend of a platformer and deep strategy with plenty of levels and different challenges.  Timing and memorization is key throughout.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukUPa_FmoGY[/youtube]

Bio:  Patrick Scott Patterson – After more than 30 years of playing video games, The OriginalPSP has moved into recording gaming history and helping push gaming culture and the people in it into pop culture where he can.  Scott competed in numerous gaming contests in the 1990s and stays active today with several world records on both classic and modern gaming platforms.

Video Game Trading Cards to Premier at 56th Philly Non-Sports Card Show

Video Game Trading Cards

Twin Galaxies International announces that it will be an exhibitor at the 56th Philly Non-Sports Card Show to introduce the video game trading cards to the industry and media, conduct celebrity card signings and present awards.

137-FRONT-ANNA-CRAM-1-video-game-trading-card

Twin Galaxies will display more than 200 published trading cards – including the completed “Superstars of 2011” set.  Samples of cards from the forthcoming “Superstars of 2012” set will be on hand as well. In addition to honoring video game champions who hold world records, these sets will commemorate the history of the worldwide video game industry by honoring iconic industry pioneers, historic events, landmark milestones and noted video game personalities.

A number of gaming celebrities on the cards are planning to attend the event to sign their cards for the public.  Celebrities already confirmed to attend include Billy Mitchell and Walter Day as well as CEO of Twin Galaxies International Pete Bouvier.  More appearances will be announced upon confirmation.

The Philly Non-Sports Card Show is the premier event for non-sport and entertainment card collectors. The “Philly Show” is one of the countries only exclusively non-sport only trading card shows and is the largest of its kind.

twin galaxies logo

Collectors will find a diverse array of trading cards depicting The Walking Dead to Wacky Packages and Star Wars to Marvel Comics. The show boasts card dealers, artists, publishers, manufacturers, free exclusive promotional card give-aways , and more. Exhibiting manufacturers include Breygent Marketing, Cryptozoic Entertainment, Famous Fabrics, Non-Sport Update, Rittenhouse Archives, SideKick, and shopTopps.com.

The artist line-up for the 56th Philly Non-Sports Show is outstanding and features the top sketch card artists in the field of trading cards. Those artists include: Axebone, David Gross, Rhiannon Owens, Sean Pence, Elaine Perna, and Tony Perna. Top artists from Ireland Trev Murphy and Veronica O’Connell will be exhibiting at their first-ever U.S. card show. Together, these artists
have worked on Marvel, Star Wars, Dexter, Vampirella, Bettie Page, DC Comics, and many, many other trading card titles.
Admission to the Philly Non-Sports Card Show is just $8 daily. A two-day pass may be purchased for $12. Show hours are Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM.

The 56th Philly Non-Sports Card Show will take place at the Merchants Square Mall, 1901 S 12th Street, Allentown, PA, 18103.

Complete show details can be found on Non-Sport Update’s website at: http://nonsportupdate.com/philly.

The Interview: Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards

Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards

About a week ago, we announced Twin Galaxies video game trading cards being featured in the non-sport update price guide. Obsolete Gamer was able to speak with Walter Day and Grace Snoke of Twin Galaxies International about their trading card rollout.

Twin-Galaxies-Walter-Day-card

How did the idea come about to create video game trading cards?

Walter: The Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card Set was originally created to celebrate Twin Galaxies’ 30th Anniversary. But the vision for the card set soon expanded to encompass the history of the worldwide video game industry, with cards created to honor the iconic industry pioneers, the world champions, the video game personalities, landmark milestones and events and significant people who, through their creative contributions, have enriched the global video game community. The card set already honors people including Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell in addition to the most recent world record holders on the hottest new games on the Nintendo Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.

What were the requirements in selecting who would be on a card?

Walter: The basic requirement to be on a card is to contribute something of importance to the global video game culture, either as a business person, a creative professional or a superstar gamer.

What has the reaction been by fans and those featured on cards?

Grace:  Many of the individuals featured on cards feel honored to be on the cards.  Tommy Tallarico, for example, was excited and recommended other individuals, like Nolan Bushnell, and others to appear on cards and asked us to contact them.  The response of the fans has been curiosity and excited.  They’re interested in seeing where this goes and how it will expand.

Walter:  There has been a lot of support in the initial card sets, which resulted in us going beyond the initial 100 cards that were planned. Already, TGI has held numerous autograph sessions that featured celebrities pictured on the cards appearing at events to sign their cards. Public support for these autograph sessions has been very strong and exciting. On March 16, 2012, at the Smithsonian Institute, Walter Day presented to Nolan Bushnell (Founder of Atari) an enlarged version of his new Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card (#165) in front of a crowded auditorium. Both Nolan Bushnell and the audience were very appreciative of the cultural importance of the video game trading cards.

Twin-Galaxies-Billy-Mitchell-card

Can you tell us a little more about the upcoming magazine issue featuring the cards?

Grace:  Sure can.  The Non-Sport Update is a bi-monthly publication which contains two parts, the magazine itself with articles and features on non-sport trading cards – like the new Big Bang Theory Cards and other cards distributed by Cryptozoic Entertainment.  This upcoming edition contains information on the 56th Annual Philly Non-Sports Card Show in Allenstown, Penn., where we will be featured and premiering our card to the non-sport trading card industry.  Inside the main magazine is a flyer that talks about the Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards and information on the cards.  There’s another full page toward the back of the book, titled “Trains, Planes and Video Games” which talks about the history of video games and the fact that Twin Galaxies International and Non-Sports Update will have a feature displayed at the Smithsonian launch event “The Art of Video Games,” March 16-18.

The front cover of the Non-Sport Update Price Guide features a number of cards available in our card set and promotes the fact we will be featured at their upcoming card show.  The Price Guide contains pricing and information on a large number of card series both past and present.

patrick-scott-patterson-trading-card

Can you tell us about some of the rare and error cards one can get?

Walter:  Rare cards are produced as limited editions that are individually numbered on the back, with each card having its own registration number. The rare cards are randomly distributed among the plexiglass collector’s cases, with the promise of at least 2-3 rare cards in each case. So far, there have been about ten cards produced with only 100 copies printed and individually numbered and five others printed with 500 copies individually numbered. In the cards planned for Series C (coming out in April at the Philly Card Show) and beyond, there are plans to produce numerous cards in limited runs of 50 cards only — and a few as low as 10-25 copies total. These cards will be distributed randomly in many of the forthcoming sets. There have been numerous cards that were printed, released in very small quantities and then with re-called due to typos that were later discovered. Already, there is competition among collectors to get these error cards, too. There have been three error cards so far and two other cards that were re-released due to data changes on the backside text.

TRIFORCE_TRADING-CARD

Do you think these cards could become valuable the way baseball cards are?

Walter:  Yes, the Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card Set is the gaming industry’s first set of trading cards and we hope to position it to be on a par with TOPPS baseball cards and become the definitive card set that commemorates gaming accomplishments in all genre of gaming.

What about those who want to have their card signed, any advice?

Grace: Definitely.  Throughout the year we will be doing various card signings at multiple locations.  For example, Midwest Gaming Classic, which takes place March 24-25, will be doing a card signing ceremony.  People will be able to get some cards signed at the Philly Non-Sports Card Show in April.  Information about upcoming shows, once they are solidified, will be posted on the Video Game Trading Cards website.

Some of the individuals who appear on cards will sign cards and send them back if you include a self-addressed stamped envelope.  With their permission, we may post their contact information on the website.  Understandably, some individuals may not wish to have their personal information made public.

Trading-Card-RED-CARPET-CEREMONIES

What would you say is the most valued card out right now?

Grace: I honestly couldn’t say.  I’m interested to see what the appraisers say in a few months.  I’d suspect that some of the cards that are rarer will be more valued, especially those that are signed by the relevant person.

Walter:  We have already been in discussions with PSA – a firm that specializes in grading and authenticating trading cards – to establish the Video Game Trading Cards as certified collectibles that are preserved and graded in the same way that TOPPS and other more establish baseball cards are.

Do you have a favorite card?

Grace:  My favorite card has to be the Video Games Live Card where I was introduced to Tommy Tallarico and his team after we presented them with their card at a Video Games Live Concert in Sioux City Iowa.  I have always loved video game music and the fact they’re being recognized for the art of music in video games with this card is awesome.

How can we keep up on changes and new releases?

Grace:  We recently launched a website dedicated to the trading cards at http://www.videogametradingcards.com.  This site will contain links to press releases, press coverage, event pictures, information on upcoming events where cards can be purchased, checklists for cards in various lists, updates on individuals who have agreed to be on cards, how to order cards and more.   The site is constantly being updated with both current and past events.

 

The Interview: Nolan Bushnell

This was originally posted on Twin Galaxies and is reposted with permission of Twin Galaxies and writer Matt Bradford. You can see the original Interview here.

Nolan Bushnell

Nolan Bushnell hasn’t worked a day in his life. At least, there are very few he’d consider “work”. From his early days at Atari, to launching Chuck E Cheese, and now his current adventures at the forefront of interactive entertainment and education, the aptly titled “Father of the Video Game Industry” has led a life rich with innovation, excitement, and most of all: fun.

So how did he find time to talk to us? We have no idea – but you can bet we took advantage of the opportunity. Join us as we pick Nolan’s brain on the future of gaming, why it pays to remember the past, and what it is to be a gaming icon.

 

 

nolan-bushnell-image

Let’s begin with one of your most recent achievements; your British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Fellowship Award. What did this mean for you?

Well, what was really nice about that is [gaming] was being represented or thought of as a truly creative endeavour, and that really is sort of a transitional point in some ways from being a hobby and just about games. I mean, I’m not sure if Monopoly—as wonderful a game as it is—ever got a BAFTA [laughs].

It was a nice win for gaming. When do you first recall video games receiving that level of recognition?

I’d say probably in the very late 80s or early 90s. One of the pivotal games that I’ve always felt represented a big shift was Doom. Somehow, the graphics, the immersion, and the ability to feel like you were in another world…I think it was truly excellent. And then, to add to that, do you remember Myst and those kind of games?

The point and click adventures…

Right, the point-and-click adventures. One of the things that happened with those is the graphics and the sound and the experiences were so compelling; like, I felt like I visited those islands. So all of the sudden, there became an ability to really capture the emotive experience of being somewhere else. Of course, movies give that to you in the abstraction—one’s interactive and one’s passive—and so I kind of think that was where I felt it was really good. Before that the technology was so rough, the best we could do was sort of a cartooney view of the world, which was not immersive.

Are modern games hitting that mark in terms of immersion?

Absolutely. Now it’s almost de rigueur; you do that all the time. It’s not novel or new to be immersed in a strange or fantasmagorical world.

You hit on a topic that sometimes polarizes the gaming community; that is, the idea that modern games don’t offer the same degree of immersion or skill level as some of the more classic games. What’s your take?

I think that both camps are right. I mean, let’s face it, in some ways the early classic games are much more finely tuned and in some ways better produced because we could not rely on graphics to steal the show. We really had to make sure the challenge was right, the timing was right, and the difficulty was right at every level or else the dog didn’t hunt, as they say.

And in some ways the arcade world—the coin operated world—was a very, very good development world because each quarter was a vote. We as developers got immediate feedback from our customers as to what they liked and didn’t like, what they found objectionable, and when they would quit putting quarters in the machine. That feedback mechanism was very, very good for the early days.

In reality, very often graphics can actually cause fuzziness in the gameplay. For example, I play tournament chess. We wouldn’t think of playing on anything other than the classic wood, knight, queen, king, and bishop chess set. There are brilliant and wonderful chess sets, but to have to worry about whether what you’re moving is actually a bishop or actually a rook because the design is kind of funky…that’s not part of what chess is. Chess is about no ambiguity, and often times really good graphics will introduce a level of ambiguity when it’s not wanted or not needed, or is actually destructive to the gameplay. If you go back to game theory, sometimes you want to introduce abstractions and sometimes you don’t. It depends on what the creator or director of the game wants. Gratuitous abstractions are not good.

Can you think of games that demonstrate both extremes?

The one that harkens back for me is a game called Zaxxon from the early days of the coin-op business. That was very, very confusing to a lot of people. In some ways, though, Tempest had a level of abstraction that was quit obtuse, which people found very, very compelling.

Today, Portal is a game in which there’s some abstraction that are really wonderful integrations to the gameplay. As for games that are using gratuitous abstractions, there are a few of the Zynga games [Farmville], but that seems to be working for them!

To be called the Father of Arcade Industry is a huge honor, and a lot to live up to. How does it feel to carry that title, and how are you keeping that moniker alive?

Actually, to tell you the truth, I don’t focus very much on the rear view mirror. I’m always focusing on what I’m doing, and right now while I’m doing some help with Atari on the 40th Anniversary, my real drive is to fix education using some of the things I know about how to immerse kids and how to addict them to activities that can be educational as well as entertaining.

Does that involve game theory? Are you drawing on your experience as the founder of Atari?

Massively. We know for a fact that video game play increases the IQ. There’s been study after study after study, and it’s absolutely true. What happens though, is video games are, in fact, addictive and people who play an excess amount of video games find that they end up being able to creatively problem solve, but they’ve got no data to fall back on. They’re what we call “processors with no memory”. I think that it’s important to keep a well balanced life.

You’ve been in the gaming world for quite some time. Who else do consider an unsung hero of the video game industry?

I think Steve Meyer doesn’t get talked about a lot, but he was absolutely pivotal in a lot of the creative thought that Atari is known for. Ed Rothberg [Battlezone] is another one who did some wonderful stuff. Joe Decuir in the later stuff in terms of being a brilliant coder. That’s kind of the early days. Of course, I’m a big fan of Will Wright [Sim City], and I think John Carmack from Doom has done wonderful things too. He’s not necessarily unsung, though.

What about some of the indie developers coming up. Any on your radar?

Yeah, the guy who made Minecraft, this Markuss “Notch” Persson. I just think that that is brilliant in its simplicity. There’s this rule in gameplay: maximum richness, minimum rules. He’s kind of done that, and created this very, very compelling world space.

It’s seems right now there’s a lot of gameplay innovations vying for domination. You’ve got motion controls, social gaming, graphical enhancements, and all that. Is there anything you see as coming out victorious in the next couple of years?

Oh yeah, for sure. We all know the direction; we all want to have essentially an artificial universe. Whether we’re talking about the Holodeck or Westworld, we want virtual experiences that are real. I’m not sure if we’re ever going to get jacked in like Neo.

It’s funny, I just finished a science fiction book that will be published in a few months, Video Games 2071. It’s set a hundred years in the future from the first video game. I timed it from Computer Space, and I sort of let my technology mind run wild as to what I think the ultimate video game would be.

Which is almost the Matrix, right? Being unable to separate the video game space from the real world?

Yeah. It’s kind of a reverse turing test.

Do you see us getting to that point?

Getting close. I think we can get real close. And with what I consider the technology to be, that is not just possible, but probable…and probably sooner than what I postulated in my book.

We’re talking a lot about future trends, and Twin Galaxies lives in the more competitive domain of gaming. Do you think competition is still going to play a key role in the video game experience going forward, or is that going to be replaced by social and cooperative experiences?

No. I see a lot of signals that say competitive gaming is going to explode. I predict that within two years there will be several television channels devoted to nothing but watching other people play video games.

Understand that what happens is players become audiences. People watch basketball and baseball because they played it as a kid, so they know the rules intimately, and in some ways they project their aspirations from then onto the players now. That mechanism is part of our psyche, and that’s going to happen in games. You have to have enough of the audiences, and you have to have the right games, and the right dynamic. I believe that someday somebody will put it all together in a very short while.

There was a time in 70s and 80s when that appeared to be happening, but it never fully took off. What is different now?

The games were not designed for viewing that well. The field of view was constrained. I think in some ways they should almost design a game sport that is designed for third party watching.

Assuming competitive gaming does take off as much as you predict, will there be a need for score keeping organizations like Twin Galaxies?

Not only that, I think there’s going to be opportunity for Video Game Halls of Fame for great players– which clearly are score based, and all kinds of those things. Remember that what we have is a social phenomena, and surely as there’s walks of fame and a lot of these things, once it becomes a social phenomena, people want to experience it aspirationally.

You’ve give us a lot of insight into what’s the come, but what about what’s already happened? Looking back, what has been your proudest achievement?

My family of eight children, being married to my wife, and having a really nice home and support structure. The most important thing is really your family and friends. All the other stuff is window dressing.

The reality is, am I proud of things that I’ve done? Absolutely. But, you know, they were a vehicle for creating an interesting life for myself and my children in some ways. I’ve had really, really fun life. I haven’t worked a day in my life. Well, actually, that’s not true. We all want these ideal jobs, but there are times like [at CES] where the last thing I wanted to do is go down to the consumer electronic show and fight the crowds, but yet I was curious. So is that work? Is that play? I don’t know.

Speaking of your career, it seems far from over. Aside from the educational initiative and your continuing work with Atari, what else is keeping you busy?

I’m also on the board of a company, CyberSecurity, that I really love. I get involved with companies that are doing important and interesting things. Right now, part of the thing that I really like is I don’t have to be CEO. CEO is really a hard job. It’s all consuming. I think as I’ve got older, I’ve found it’s really fun to not be CEO [laughs]. It’s really fun to—I don’t want to say dabble—but to have an impact on a broader set of issues.

I am absolutely, in my core, an existentialist. The journey is the reward.

Are you playing anything right now?

I still play Go. I am playing some Portal. I am playing a lot…an awful lot…of the Atari Greatest Hits on the iPad. It’s a wonderful articulation. It brings me back and, you know, it’s almost like a time warp. I was playing Lunar Lander today and just having a ball. It was like time travelling back to 1976 or whenever it was. I got the Atari joystick and button thing for the iPad for Christmas, and I’ve just been having fun playing Missile Command.

What about your work in the industry? Anything up your sleeve?

I’m actually doing work on a truly interactive movie. Imagine, if you would, 100 people in a theatre playing an interactive movie. I’ve got a design, and one I think would be spellbinding. I’ve driven the cost out of it, and I think that it’s possible the first few interactive movies can make 20-percent of what Avatar did with the fraction of the budget.

You know, a lot of people think that it’s horrible to give away all your secrets, but I’m almost the opposite. I like to bounce those things off people. I’ve found that an unproven idea you can’t give away, let along have somebody steal them [laughs].

People don’t realize how bumpy the road to innovation is. Could any of the thousand companies come up with the iPad? Absolutely. And I think some people did. You know, people were talking about Apple Computers and that five years before, but what you have to do is execute properly. A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to execute properly.

And that was Steve Job’s genius.

Exactly. And in some ways it was Atari’s genius. At one point in time, we had about a 90% market share. That’s really, really hard to do unless you had the secret sauce. Anybody could have done what we were doing, but we did it first and best.

That said, the Fairchild Channel F was out almost a full year before Atari. How did Atari succeed where it failed?

This is going to sound very dismissive, but…they were really crappy games [laughs]. Quite candidly, the technology was not extensible. It was viewed a tiny little step on the pathway to a multi-game, which is where everyone was going. Everyone wanted to do a multi-game. Once you have a multi-game, it has to be good enough, and [the Fairchild Channel F] just wasn’t. The Magnavox Odyssey, they basically had huge returns, and actually in some ways—and i hadn’t realized it at the time—but kind of poisoned the well for consumer games going forward.

How so?

When we took the Atari Pong to the Toy Show, we sold none. Nobody wanted to touch it, because there had been enough people that had heard about Magnavox and some of those things, and so they just didn’t see it. If it hadn’t been for Sears, I’m not sure if we could have gotten it launched. Of course, it turned out to be one of the most successful consumer product launches for ages, but it was a real, real struggle. When you look at it, what was the difference between Pong and Ping Pong games. You could say, well, “was there really that big of a difference”. And it turns out it was massive.

Yeah, you could say that. 

—–

Twin Galaxies thanks Nolan Bushnell for his time and for laying the foundation for what TG staff and members enjoy on a daily basis. Look for Nolan in our Trading Card Series and keep watch for his next big projects.

Video Game Trading Cards Featured on Non-Sport Update Price Guide

Video Game Trading Cards

There is already a video game hall of fame so why not video game trading cards? Well, we have those two and soon they will be featured in the Non-Sport Update Price guide. Here is the official press release.

Non-Sport Update Price Guide cover

Twin Galaxies recently launched Video Game Trading Cards featured on the take-along Non-Sports Update Price Guide and announces Twin Galaxies presence at the Philly Non-Sports Card Show.

Launched in the second half of 2011, the Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards are gaining popularity amongst gamers and trading card collectors as more sets are scheduled to be added to the unique collection of video game trading cards which focus on the gamers, developers, games and history of the global gaming community.

The April/May issue of Non-Sport Update features The Big Bang Theory on the cover and includes three exclusive promotional trading cards: The Big Bang Theory Seasons 1 & 2, Tarzan 100th Anniversary, and Marvel: Greatest Heroes.

The April/May edition of the Non-Sport Update Price Guide features the Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Cards on the cover and announces that Twin Galaxies International will be on hand at the  56th Annual Philly Non-Sports Card Show April 21-22 in Allentown, Penn.

Non-Sport Update Price Guide inside

This edition ships to stores March 9 and will be available at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and local comic and card shops across the U.S. at the end of March.  Individual copies can be ordered directly through the publisher.

Anyone interested in ordering a copy can either check their local newsstand or hobby shop towards the end of March or they can order through Non-Sport Update after March 9.

Single issue and subscriptions can be ordered direct from Non-Sport Update via their online store:  http://www.nonsportupdate.com/nsu_store.htm

To learn more about the trading cards or to place an order, please visit: http://www.videogametradingcards.com

Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters

Ecstasy of Order

Following in the unexpected success of The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a small army of video game documentaries have come out in recent years.

The latest, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters debuted Friday night, October 7 as the Austin Film Festival.

Before starting my review, I’d like to disclose that I personally know a number of people in this film.  While part of the Twin Galaxies staff from 2008 until early this year I personally verified and entered many of the scores of the Tetris players who appear in this film.  I also competed in the Nintendo World Championships 1990, an event that is important over the course of this film.  Overall, I will have a unique point of view on this film that others won’t, and may see this film differently than most.

Ecstasy of Order centers around the 2010 Classic Tetris World Championships, an event set up in Los Angeles by NWC  1990 runner-up Robin Mihara.  While Tetris had long been one of the most iconic video games in history, there was no one person considered THE Tetris champion, so Mihara rounds up the top ranked players in the Twin Galaxies database and some others, including NWC 1990 Thor Aackerlund, to come to California and compete on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System version of Tetris.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTK6MnPa8Zo[/youtube]

The film spends a great deal of time on the back stories of the various men and women invited to Los Angeles to compete along with some deep looks into the deeper strategies of the top Tetris players.   Viewers will get to see some reunions and some first-time meetings as the champs converge on Southern California, with the film wrapping up with the big Classic Tetris World Championship event and some surprise moments.

First of all, I’m thrilled to see a film that features this group of gamers.  Those who’ve watched King of Kong, Chasing Ghosts, High ScoreDoctor Kong and the rest might think that Twin Galaxies is only about arcade video games and the same general group of players.  Far from it.  Every gaming platform is tracked by Twin Galaxies and the Nintendo Entertainment System crowd is often more competitive than the arcade side of things, from top players such as Tom Votava and Andrew Furrer to the many players included in this film.  Something that features them in this manner is long overdue.

It is also very nice to see vintage footage and mention of 1990s gaming contests such as the NWC 1990 and Sega’s Rock the Rock from 1995.  These were very large scale events with very big prizes that somehow fell by the wayside in gaming history, despite being bigger than most of the events before them and since.

Tetris-Competitors

The comparisons to King of Kong will no doubt come up in most reviews, so they might as well be touched on here.  Ecstasy of Order does not have an underdog good guy, a blow-dried bad guy, a conspiracy theory, talk of gummy substances or a guy in a Halloween costume complaining about cherry pit spitters on Jay Leno.  If that is what you want to see you won’t find it here.

What you will find, however, is a video game that is at least as iconic as Donkey Kong, a great number of charismatic players showing respect to one another and the thrill of live head-to-head competition.  You will get a true view of the camaraderie that exists in many gaming communities as you meet players from all walks of life.

Ecstasy of Order may fire up players to chase down 999,999 scores on the NES Tetris much like competition on Donkey Kong fired up into full swing after The King of Kong.  Tetris max-outs and Level 29 could become the “Donkey Kong kill screens” for the NES generation to chase down.   I know it made me want to fire up Tetris again, and unlike original Donkey Kong arcade games anyone can obtain a chance at becoming the next Harry Hong or Jonas Neubauer with a quick trip to eBay or Amazon to purchase the classic NES stuff needed to become the next Tetris master.

Ecstasy of Order - Movie image

Overall, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters is a fun trip with an all-time classic video game where the viewer gets to meet some fun new gamers along the way.  A relaxing and fun 92 minutes that should appeal to both the hardcore Nintendo Entertainment System fans and the casual viewer who might want to see what exists within Twin Galaxies and classic high score chases away from the arcade scene.

You can learn more about Ecstasy of Order, including upcoming screenings, at www.EcstasyOfOrder.com.

 

BurgerTime World Record attempt accompanies launch of new version on Wednesday

BurgerTime World Record

In celebration of the XBox Live release of Burgertime World Tour on Wednesday, a new world record score will fall on a version of the original classic.

Groton, CT gamer Eric Cummings will be firing up his classic Nintendo Entertainment System and taking aim at the official world record score on the original BurgerTime cartridge for the system.  According to Twin Galaxies, the current BurgerTime world record on the NES version is 225,650, a score Cummings has been able to triple in practice games.

Cummings is no stranger to NES world record scores, currently holding the record scores on titles such as Contra, Shadowgate and Super Dodge Ball and appearing in theGuinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2011 for Bonk’s Adventure.  The broadcast will abide by Twin Galaxies rules and is being recorded for official submission to the organization.

Read the rest here – http://www.examiner.com/arcade-game-in-national/burgertime-world-record-attempt-accompanies-launch-of-new-version-on-wednesday

World Record for Galaga Arcade Changes hands

Galaga World Champion Andrew Laidlaw
Galaga World Champion Andrew Laidlaw

Talk about beating the buzzer, Andrew Laidlaw regained the tournament world record on Galaga right before the end of the New Year. On New Year’s Eve Twin Galaxies announced that Laidlaw scored an incredible 4,525,150 point on the classic arcade game in a tournament setting where he only had five total lives on the hardest difficulty setting.

Laidlaw had held the title before, but lost it to Phil Day in 2009. Andrew told the Denton Arcade Examiner. “It feels great… this isn’t going to wear off for a while. The first time was magical in a way, this time it’s a huge relief!”

So what was the previous high score held by Day, would you believe 3,275.720? Even though Day admitted that he believed Laidlaw would beat his score he did not believe it would be by over 1,249,430 points.

Day has since retired from Galaga competitions so Laidlaw will have to wait for another challenger. Andrew has considered aiming for the marathon Galaga record where you can play with as many extra lives as the game will give you, but that record is a hefty one at 15,999,990 points set way back in 1989 by Steve Krogman.

Wow, good luck with that one and if you beat it we will be sure to report on it.

King of Kong Movie Review

King of Kong Movie Review by Honorabili

“A modern day video game version of the story David and Goliath.”

Steve Wiebe at the arcade
Steve Wiebe at the arcade

This movie is about people who strive to be the world champions at the games they love the most. In this case we are talking about classic arcade games such as Donkey Kong, Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Galaga, and Defender.

Throughout most of the movie, we see this build up of rivalry between Steve Wiebe, the underdog, and Billy Mitchell, the top champion for many arcade games. Billy Mitchell comes off as an arrogant person but after having seen this movie many times I do see the point behind some of his speeches. For example, he says that you will know in World War I aviation who the Red Baron is because he was the top ace fighter pilot but you probably won’t know the name of the other aviators because they weren’t number one.

The movie has many famous arcade top players and influential people such as:

Steve Sanders, Billy’s friend and the author of Master’s Guide to Donkey Kong
Walter Day, top referee for video game world records and founder of Twin Galaxies
Brian Kuh, a Donkey Kong expert, was the number 2 DK player for years
Robert Mruczek, head referee at Twin Galaxies
Greg Bond, the MAPPY world champion
Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt, the Missile Command champion and a controversial player
Mark Alpiger, Crystal Castles (foot category) champion

Billy Mitchell
Billy Mitchell

The movie touches on what it takes to be a champion. Not only that but it explains that these old arcade games require a level of dedication and reaction that is no longer found typically in modern video games. Getting higher and higher scores in these classics is a real achievement that requires true skill building and mastery.

King of Kong shows world class competitive gaming since its roots in the 80s. It shows that people lie about their achievements and that when that lie won’t protect you when it’s time to compete against a real champion that does get a real high score at an official competition. In this case I’m referring to the competition between Billy Mitchell and Steve Sanders, where Billy Mitchell humbled Steve.

The competition shown reminds me a lot of the kind of drama and competition behind world class chess games. Bobby Fischer and some others always come to mind.

Pacman Kill Screen
Pacman Kill Screen

We see Billy Mitchell succeed in his gaming, personal, and business life. He owns a chain of restaurants and sells Rickey’s, a very successful hot sauce as well. In 1999, he played a perfect game of Pacman reaching the kill screen, the point where the game crashes because it runs out of memory. He even says that he feels as though all this good fortune happens to him there’s probably some poor bastard out there with the reverse fortune.

The movie presents us with Steve Wiebe who at the time got inspired to go for the Donkey Kong world record, was unemployed, and looking for something to do with his life. His family and friends talk about him saying that he was never the best at anything but he always tried and failed. He played sports and music and drew but they say he never did anything successful with those talents. Steve Wiebe is a good guy that’s a teacher and a family man. He’s the average Joe.

The experts talk about Donkey Kong and picture it as pretty much the most brutal arcade game ever. Billy Mitchell himself says that the typical Donkey Kong game lasts less than a minute.

Walter Day at Funspot
Walter Day at Funspot

We are presented with Twin Galaxies, the international score keeper organization for video games for the world. They were created by Walter Day and started out as him going around to different video arcades and eventually opening up his own arcade. Twin Galaxies has grown into the official record keeper for video games according to the Guiness World Book of Records. In the movie, we see the meticulous review process that these gaming world record referees go through. They must analyze every second of every footage submitted either through VHS or DVD usually, unless it’s a record that is taking place live at a tournament.

Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt
Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt

The conflict in the movie starts when Steve Wiebe beats Billy’s high score for Donkey Kong and the Twin Galaxy people discredit the achievement by going to Steve’s house when he wasn’t there and inspecting the insides of Steve’s DK arcade console. Since Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt had sent Steve the motherboard for his DK machine, they said it was not authentic and disqualified the high scores. There’s bad blood between Mr. Awesome and Twin Galaxies with Mr. Awesome saying that they approved a bunch of scores which weren’t valid and TG saying that Mr. Awesome is a liar.

Since Steve’s high score was discredited, he decided to travel to Funspot, one of the top classic arcade tournament locations in the world, where Twin Galaxies would see him perform live. Steve calls Billy to challenge him to go to Funspot to compete live against him.

Billy Mitchell and Doris Self
Billy Mitchell and Doris Self

Now although the movie paints Billy to be an arrogant villain, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Sure, he might be arrogant but that doesn’t mean he’s evil. We see him donate a Q*bert machine to Doris Self, an old lady that wants to enter the tournament. I don’t agree with all of Billy’s actions through the film but if you follow up on what happened with Steve and Billy after the film, the story gets much more interesting.

When Steve goes to compete and Funspot, he’s met with people that treat him well like Walter Day but also he’s met with people that are spies and asskissers to Billy like Brian Kuh, the former 2nd place record holder for Donkey Kong. Kuh even hangs out behind Steve, watching him play, which adds stress to Steve as he tries to attempt a live world record on the machine. Billy doesn’t go to the tournament but he has Doris Self deliver a video tape with a new high score that Billy shot for “fun” to further try to discredit Steve’s attempt. Doris even says that Billy is a pretty devious person as towards his strategies of attacking his competitors. Steve actually beats Billy’s score live at the event and even triggers the kill screen for the game, which crashes the game. It was the first time ever that the kill screen was triggered at Funspot. As the machine was going to reach the kill screen everybody at Funspot was standing in awe around Steve Wiebe as he earned the high score and the achievement. However, Billy submitted a video taped game with a higher score, around a million points, undermining Steve’s attempt. “Not even Helen of Troy had that much attention,” Billy says regarding people watching the video of his achievement. I thought it was an underhanded thing for him to do, sending in a video rather than show up in person to compete against Steve like a real warrior. When Steve wants to see the tape, they refused to show it to him which was a dickish move from Brian Kuh.

Robert Mruczek
Robert Mruczek

What’s kind of fucked up for me, according to what the movie shows, is that although they discredited Steve’s original video tape after they spent much time dissecting it, they pretty much immediately accept Billy’s tape as a legitimate submissions although he sent in a copy of a tape and it wasn’t really a good copy. The copy had VHS lines and the tape skips during some moments, something that according to what Robert Mruczek says earlier, is not allowed for a video submission. You see Steve’s face full of pride for getting the high score and the next day his face is filled with disappointment as Billy even from Florida steals his moment remotely from the comfort of his home. This part of the movie ends with a heartbroken Steve Wieve crying as his attempt and achievement is undermined yet again.

The movie shows Walter Day playing his guitar and that was kind of neat to see him at his home doing an everyday normal thing. He’s been running Twin Galaxies for a long time and although he should be retired from it he continues to do it for the benefit of his friends and colleagues.

Sad Steve Wiebe
Sad Steve Wiebe

9 months later, Steve starts to train to compete live again because Twin Galaxies let him know that the Guiness Book of World Records will hold a new tournament. It’s funny to hear one of Steve’s kids quote Billy Mitchell, “Work is for people who can’t play video games.” The way the movie is made obviously favors Steve and it’s kind of one sided in that way, with Steve calling and leaving Billy messages (since Billy doesn’t pick up from what the movie showed) but I thought Billy could have done a better job trying to defend his honor. I felt like Steve had everybody against him, even his family from the things they said to him like his girl saying that some people ruin their lives to break records.

Billy Mitchell with Steve Sanders
Billy Mitchell with Steve Sanders

So Steve Wiebe goes down to Hollywood, FL for the tournament, which is Billy’s hometown and expects to compete against him but Billy never does. Steve Sanders, which is one of Billy’s close friends even goes to the competition and he’s enough of a good sport and decent that he introduces himself to Steve Wiebe and his family. I thought that was a noble thing for him to do. He was even talking to him and praising him and his efforts and this is a guy that wrote a world famous strategy guide on the game. What’s kind of disappointing is that Steve Wiebe isn’t as well off as Billy yet Billy won’t compete against him even in his hometown. That seemed like a really cowardly thing for him to do. Wiebe even goes to Billy’s restaurant but Billy refused to talk or see him.

Mitchell ignoring Wiebe
Mitchell ignoring Wiebe

Billy does eventually show up to the tournament but he walks in and ignores Wiebe. Steve Wiebe says hello to him and Billy passes by and says “There’s certain people I don’t want to spend too much time with” which is kind of like a slap to the face. I wished he would have been a better sport and although yeah you can say the movie favors Wiebe’s view, even this should have been obvious to Billy that he was making a mistake reacting like that, especially when he knew he was being filmed. Billy says that if you don’t compete when the pressure is on that you’re not good enough but he refused to do that during this movie. He painted himself as a hypocrite by saying that and then not following his own words.

Steve Sanders thinking 'are you serious?'
Steve Sanders thinking ‘are you serious?’

I was particularly proud of Walter Day and Steve Sanders for the way they treated Steve Wiebe and recognized his struggle and true merit. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Sanders is sitting next to Billy and Sanders says he believes Wiebe is trying to do the right thing and then Billy says that he’s not familiar enough with the situation and they’re just sitting there with Sanders looking like “are you seriously going to be like that?” Walter Day apologized to Steve Wiebe for the way that Twin Galaxies had treated him and they made peace finally.

Although the film is now outdated because the rivalry continued, you can always check up on the Steve Wiebe vs Billy Mitchell rivalry at Twin Galaxies.

To view the latest scoreboard for Donkey Kong, click here. When I wrote this article Steve Wiebe was the current world record holder for Donkey Kong. You can view the high scores for Donkey Kong Jr. here.

***

Steve Wiebe cheers
Steve Wiebe cheers

Overall, the movie I thought was shot with good taste and it was put together in an exciting way that keeps you glued to the screen. Even people I know that don’t care too much for video games thought it was an amazing movie and were glad to have seen it.

I recommend anyone who has an interest in video games to watch the movie.

You can visit Steve Wiebe’s website here.

You can read up more on Billy Mitchell at his wikipedia page here.

In conclusion, Steve Wiebe’s struggle is an inspirational story to all of us.

High Score movie review

High Score movie review

In the same kind of movie category as The King of Kong, High Score shows us the struggle of a video game champion trying to topple the top score for Missile Command.

The full movie can be seen in hulu or just click play on the embedded video below:

Let’s talk about the film… (I’ll assume you watched the film or that you don’t care if I talk about a spoiler, in this review)

Overall Score: 8 out of 10

Although the movie is only about 50 minutes long, the movie is done with good taste and character and the gamer Bill Carlton is a good sport and has a great attitude when it comes to life and his gaming goals.

Bill Carlton
Bill Carlton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill is a world champion at Asteroids as well as Missile Command. The movie is about his fight to try to beat the Missile Command machine as he stays up for many hours and days trying to reach and beat the top score of 80 million. The problem is that the machine that Bill bought kept crashing, resetting, or overheating and as soon as that happened, it was game over.

If you have seen The King of Kong or you know about Twin Galaxies you will understand how he videotapes every hour of gameplay to try to submit for an authentic world record. If you don’t know what Twin Galaxies is, they are the Guiness World Book of Records approved association for keeping track of all authentic records for high scores for all video games. Click here to visit the Twin Galaxies website. They are very serious about their job and in order for a score to be accepted, you must be either playing at a world tournament or you have to record yourself playing on a machine that has been authenticated as being an original, unmodified machine.

The movie brings up some good points, such as showing that in some places of the US other than drinking and drugs, video games are one of the few escapes from reality people can have. Other than that, we see a fellow gamer that does not play modern games, bringing up that his kid can wipe the floor with him on PS2 gaming, but his son is afraid to even dare challenge him in Missile Command.

Many old games, like Missile Command, take a very long amount of time in order for you get high up there as far as world class high score record breaking goes. Bill anticipated that it would take him a good 2-3 days to reach the 80 million mark. A problem though is that the machine could not take the strain of his challenge.

Bill Carlton is frustrated
Bill Carlton is frustrated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like brought up in The King of Kong, some machines will simply have a kill screen where the game will simply crash and you will simply just keep dying, giving you a Game Over screen. Usually this is a problem of the game running out of RAM or having it’s design limit reached.

I wish the movie would have been longer and that they would have bought Bill another Missile Command machine so that he could take himself to the limit and see if he could really topple the number one score help by the now gaming-retired Victor Ali.

Bill is still in the number 10 position currently for the Twin Galaxies scoreboard, and it would be nice to see him rise in ranks. Keep it up Bill!

If you want to see what the current scoreboard looks for Missile Command, click here! Otherwise… keep on gaming!