What does 68.5 hours get you from world record gamers?
Apparently, not a damn thing.
One of the common themes in my professional life surrounds the world record video gaming communities and their habits of creating Beverly Hills 90210 plot points almost daily. As a guy who has written about and/or pushed out a lot of these types of stories into the mainstream press for years, my e-mail inbox often makes the remarks in The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters sound normal and balanced.
I often get asked and even expected to somehow do a write-up for every single retrogame high score out there, and sometimes put through a paper shredder if I choose not to or am too busy to do so. In some circles, it’s become an albatross at times where I somehow get categorized as being in a seperate “group” from “the gamers” despite holding numerous records myself and in some cases gaming since before they were a funny feeling in their daddy’s boxer shorts.
A year ago, I did a Q&A broadcast where I stated that particular community needed to step up and do more for one another. That it can’t be all me. I sure got a lot of nodding heads at the time, but recently push came to shove and, well, that community didn’t shove.
Earlier this year, Florida gaming veteran Ed Heemskerk topped the longtime longevity record for a single-credit play of an arcade game when he played Q*bert for 68.5 hours. The community celebrated it and the mainstream press gave it some love after I leaned on them a bit to do so. A short video of the end of Ed’s game garnered over 17,000 views on YouTube.
Ed’s run recently made the short list for RecordSetter.com’s “Best of 2012” voting. The list was up on Facebook, and voting took all of 6 seconds and could be done once every 24 hours. The Top Five records gaining votes would make the award-winning cut. I figured that, surely, the high-score retrogaming communities would flip at the idea of Ed’s marathon run beating out records for conga lines, juggling, and saying “Bazinga” on a radio show.
I was wrong.
Ed’s run got only 27 votes, finishing 13th in the voting. It ended up just behind “Longest Basketball Put Into Basketball Net” and just ahead of “Most Eggs Broken Over Someone’s Head in 15 Seconds” and 95 votes under the cut it would have needed to make it into the Top Five. Worth note is that I’m directly responsible for six of the 27 votes, meaning only 21 votes were cast outside of my home.
Yes, I promoted the voting process on my social media and my website. With over 500 followers who are part of these high score chasing communities, you’d think that they would have rallied behind one of their own and pushed Ed’s 68.5 hour Q*bert marathon to the moon, right? Help one of their guys get mainstream publicity and represent gaming, right?
Here was a chance for these classic arcade and retro console “champs” that request and demand so much attention to act like true champions and help someone get some more recognition of their own. They didn’t even show up. I’m disappointed.
They should be, too.
Good game, Ed.