Arcade’s perennial classics are seemingly without contenders

One of the most common questions I get doing what I do is why Donkey Kong world record stories seem to be coming out all the time.  In the wake of the most recent, which was Quebec’s Vincent Lemay coming just 2,700 points shy, I had to give this some deep thinking about that.

Clearly 2007’s The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters kicked off a flurry of interest in chasing the Donkey Kong record as well as overall interest in the world record chasing scene.  While it only SEEMS that stories on new DK scores are the only ones that have gotten mainstream press since (stories on Pac-Man, Frogger, Q*bert and others have gained some press, too), I couldn’t help but notice that arcade gaming’s perennial classics are sitting dormant.

While most of the early eighties arcade classics vanished by the end of the decade, three games from the era came out fairly unscathed… none of them called Donkey Kong.

Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga and Centipede never really went away.  Even as the 1990s came and went, nobody ever had to go too far to find an old, beat up original of any of those machines or one of the shiny new re-releases that came out around the turn of the century.

Oddly, especially given the Donkey Kong activity today, none of them have any active contenders.  The Ms. Pac-Man record of 933,580 has stood since the middle of last decade, while the other scores have stood for far longer.  The Galaga marathon world record of 15,999,990 has been in place since 1989 while the Centipede marathon high score of 16,389,547 has stood since 1984.

Where are the contenders?  From my seat as the guy who’s pushed out more news stories about classic arcade world records than anyone not named Walter Day and as the guy who gets e-mailed daily by video game “champs” who want their names in lights… well, I can’t understand this.

It would be easy press… INCREDIBLY easy press… getting the mainstream media spotlight on anyone who set a new world record on Ms. Pac-Man or the Galaga or Centipede marathon world records would a slam dunk.

So where are you challengers?  Who out there is going to step up to the challenge on any of these three games?  I’ll even make you a deal and state that anyone who breaks one of these scores is guaranteed an interview and a free mainstream press blitz from me, no matter what else I have going on at the time.

All someone has to do is bust an all-time high score on one of the all-time arcade classics mentioned here.

Get to work.


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