This past Monday morning, Brandon Erickson, a friend of Ethan and Cary's from college and a teacher in the Portland Public Schools, began an atttempt to break the all-time record on the 1984 Star Wars arcade game. I just read the following heart-breaking announcement on Ground Kontrol's site (the retro-arcade at which the attempt was made):
After over 54 hours of continuous gameplay, Brandon was overcome by a combination of fatigue and especially difficult gameplay and was forced to end his game just 18 million points shy of the 300 million point record and settle for second place...an amazing accomplishment in itself. Congratulations, Brandon!
Cary and I went and visited Brandon last night at about 10pm and he seemed to be going strong, using a back brace to stay upright at his stool and dependably beating the game every two or three minutes.
The most tragic part of Brandon's noble and quixotic quest was the fact that he has already seemingly been cheated out of a quite similar record. In February, he set the record for "Tournament" mode on the same game with 20,891,403 points. Then, one David Palmer "remembered" that he had, the previous year, scored 31,660,614 points. He could provide no other source of verification besides "witness" whereas all of Brandon's attempts have been verified on video and all the other top scorers seem to have been checked by referees. Check out Twin Galaxies for the unbelievable proof.
To now get so close to the unapproacable 300,007,894 record (suspiciously held by the same David Palmer) and not get there is just too much for one person to have to take (especially when the third-placers are so far back). Until that Palmer character can produce a video of either of his records, I'm going to consider Brandon the official IDFDZ Star Wars World Record Holder (for whatever that's worth).
If you want to find out more, you can get a DVD of Brandon's Tournament Mode record game and read an article about Brandon's record setting attempts in the Willamette Week and see Brandon's original announcement of his attempt on classic-games.com.
Also, Brandon (sort of) did the whole thing as a fundraiser for Portland Public Schools (I kicked my ten bucks in to his $746.25 total) and the contributions are still open. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute.