In the field of athletics, there’s a few legendary records which stand the test of time, most notably Bob Beamon’s world record of long jump, which remained unbroken for 23 years. But in the field of video games, that’s outdone by the record of Scott Safran who has been the world record holder on Asteroids since 1982.
Until this week that is.
While it’s yet to be officially confirmed by Twin Galaxies, the closest gaming equivalent to Guinness World Records, an Oregon man named John McAllister has just topped Safran’s score.
Safran scored 41,336,440 in a two and a half day session beginning on November 13 1982. He quickly disappeared from the public eye and it wasn’t until 1998, when Twin Galaxies tried to hunt him down to celebrate Asteroids being re-released, that the gaming world discovered he had died in 1989.
There have been few serious attempts to beat the score over the years, mainly because doing so is as much a feat of physical endurance as gaming skill. Even if the player holds up, some elements are out of their control: one attempt in 2004 ended when the game machine broke down.
Wired reports that McAllister stayed awake from Saturday until late Monday evening to beat the record. As there’s no pause button on an arcade console, any food or bathroom breaks he took had to be earned by racking up bonus lives and hoping to make it back to the machine before his unmanned ships crashed and burned for the last time. He finally took the ultimate gaming honor with a score of 41,338,740.
This being the 21st century, the entire attempt was broadcast online via webcam. Archive of the gameplay is still available, and frankly, anyone who watches the entire thing probably deserves to also be in the record books.