#602 Setting the new high score on a video game

It’s a big deal.

When I was a little kid my friends and I took pictures of the TV screen after setting new high scores. It was so important to us we’d even mail the photos to video game magazines hoping they’d splash them across their pages as a late-breaking scoop.

Two eight-year-olds defeat Bowser in epic battle

No-holds-barred streetfight in turtle-dragon-thing’s lair features fire balls and flying hammers

Yes, if you’ve been there you know the road to setting a new high score is paved with lots of swearing, thrown controllers, and empty soda cans. Blurry eyes, all-day bedhead, and expanding pit stains are the mark of these basement-dwelling champions.

Now, while cracking top spot at home offers a big rush, there’s something to be said about the rare moment you actually pull it off in an arcade.

After all, you’ve probably dumped a few buckets of quarters into the machine just to get to M. Bison, so the payoff is your treat for spending weeks of allowance and candy money. Also, you get to put your initials into the machine which means you can you can go with your actual initials, the AAA default, or the filthiest three-letter-word you know. Just make sure nobody unplugs the machine and have a couple witnesses so you’ve got proof of being the ASS at Tony’s Pizza Slice who racked up 171,000 points on Ms. Pac Man.

Setting a new high score on a video game is moment of total euphoria. Your heart speeds up and your brain flies off as you realize you’re making it big. Yes, you turned tightly on Rainbow Road, nailed a Tetris when the screen was full, and hit all the right notes on Cowboys from Hell.

The blisters, eyestrain, and malnutrition was worth it, you think to yourself, as you survey your dark and seedy den of empty chip bags, greasy pizza boxes, and dirty socks. And as that slow smile curls across your face make sure you take a moment to nod at the TV screen and bask in your glowing moment of guts and glory.


Photos from: here and here

Illustration from: here

49 thoughts on “#602 Setting the new high score on a video game

  1. It really saddens me that score doesn’t have the same impact that it used to have – now it’s more of an arbitrary number that only obsessed people try to max out and then post on YouTube.

    But, yes, the arcade magic of entering your initials – AAA – Amazing, Astounding, and Awesome.

  2. I agree, the bragging rights of getting your initials on the hi score list just isn’t the same anymore.

    Sure, you can still get high scores and bragging rights in your circle of friends and be satisfied, but then you venture into youtube and you find hundreds of people better than you’ll ever be, even without hackage…

  3. I just want to say how amazingly amazing this website is. No, seriously, I can’t even express how much I love this blog. I’m doing college applications now, stressing out, and this is so uplifting.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Happy New Year peeps!

  4. Needless to say, “winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” :D And, of course, “we’re not here to co-exist, I am here to win.”

    Therefore it’s not a big deal. It’s the ONLY deal. :D Meow.

    Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t be so competitive. And so do my friends. The two I have. LOL

  5. This is awesome. I used to play excitebike non-stop, trying to beat the best times set by my older brother and his friends. Probably the closest thrill I’ve had recently to the old high-score list syndrome is with the skee-ball game for iPhone/Ipod touch. They really captured that addiction to battle involved in climbing the list.

  6. Reading your post reminds me of all those terrific moments when we made it big. It was just awesome. :) :)

    Especially the part when you know you are playing just too well today.

    It made my day.

    Thankyou. :D :D

  7. I love this. Myself and a friend used to play one game relentlessly in an arcade till it got to the stage where we would kill all but one life off before we started playing and could always finish the game. Our names were constantly on the scoreboard.
    Legends in our own little arcade for months :-)

  8. Devon stole my comment! :-0

    I also enjoy this website immensely. We need a little more positive in this world. Thanks for your part in it.

  9. I took a picture when I got a high score in a Sega game and was in a game magazine once for it. Not easy to do as you get older though.

  10. My friend and I scored 2nd on Time Crisis II around 4 years ago at a movie-theater arcade! About two months ago we went back and remembering old times we started playing again, and turns out we were still there! Now 3rd though =S

  11. Tooooooooootally Awesome!!!!!!!!
    Except I only do that on Spider Solitare and Minesweeper *giggle*
    Still counts though
    PS. I LOVE this website. That should be the #1 awesome thing: this website :-)

  12. Despite the fact that I’m almost 30 and despite the fact that there are way better players of just about everything close at hand on the internet and despite the fact that nobody was around at the time I definitely busted out a lengthy, monumental victory dance not a week ago when I crushed an old high score in Geometry Wars 2.

    Definitely awesome.

  13. Hello. This is kind of an “unconventional” question , but have other visitors asked you how get the menu bar to look like you’ve got it? I also have a blog and am really looking to alter around the theme, however am scared to death to mess with it for fear of the search engines punishing me. I am very new to all of this …so i am just not positive exactly how to try to to it all yet. I’ll just keep working on it one day at a time Thanks for any help you can offer here.

  14. Maaaan, I beat the highscore on the oldschool pinball machine at our local Castle-fun-park (it’s kindof like a chuck-e-cheese) in grade 7.

    Highlight of my entire youth.


  15. I remember it taking weeks for me to beat zelda on nintendo as a kid! Mario wasn’t as bad but i remember it taking a while as well. For score, we always tried to beat eachother at everything. It is weird that scores value have seemed to change? oh man, the other day i was craving bbq. I searched for the best i could find and thought of checking out Competition BBQ Secrets. man, i was so glad i did! the best ever!

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  18. This post should also apply to beating your OWN high score for Brickbreaker on any blackberry phone.

    The most AWESOME feeling.

  19. I’m 35, my son 11. We play PS2 every day to try and beat each other in races … though no scores there.

    We play Need for speed most wanted … the drifting races gives huge scores if you can string abunch of corners together.

    My son holds the current best score on a 10 lap drift course, I think the fifth one you unlocvk as you go along in the game.

    His score? 650 000!!!! How the heck can I beat that? I’m 35, for peet’s sake!!!

  20. there are moments when u score the maximum but there is nobody to bear witness and share ur elation.but the struggle,frustration and the ‘im not quitting’ attitude pays off in the end.wish i have this attitude everyday and every moment.thanks!!!it was awesome

  21. Man, I got the high score on Centipede at a Pizza Hut on time, and like a day later the thing was gone. Awesome: No one got to beat my high score. Not Awesome: no one got to see my high score.

  22. Very awesome! I am grateful to have had this feeling more than a few times and the feeling of awesome never gets old!

  23. I actually have to say, as a video game lover this is my favorite one so far. My brother, once got a highscore, when he was eight on a racing game, 3rd in the world! ( or so we thought ) XD. That practically took out all of our allowance from 3 weeks. But, put my name and his name together. ( GaA ) He was practically revered for the rest of the week. Now my brother and I use the name GaA on every video game, do whenever I hear someone with a mic on my PS3 they laugh because they think we’re like lady GaGa.

  24. Sorry, I left something out. When I was young, beating my day at a video game was truly AWESOME, because I would stand up and scream YES!! It was even better when my dad was so good, my brother and I teamed up against him and kicked his but together. I still am happy when I play competitively and win but I’m not so competitive anymore and I usually enjoy to play Co-Op more. Btw, also when I was young I thought Co-Op was a word for cop or something! xD

  25. Wow how true… Even tough now a days it’s not with epic games like tetris or pacman or super Mario the same glory is still around. I remember the day when I first got a 17 killstreak on Call of Duty, sure it’s not the best out there but I was the ruler in the lobby.

  26. I really want a button that says : Really Awesome!! Cuz this article was beyond awesome !!!!

  27. I love setting a new high score!! It’s hilarious when you start saying ” yes!!! Yes!!!” and “die die!!!” And when you make it to the next level or het the beat hight score ever all you can say is… AWESOME!!

  28. I may not be in college but im in high school sec 2 and this blog really takes my mind off the current stress of exams.
    One day for an intire year im gonna do everything this site tells me too once a day

  29. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your website. It appears as though some of the text within your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Kudos

    1. YES, I recently emailed Neil and told him I was having problems and I read several others are too, since the new “program” was installed about 1 month ago: the one you speak of; “Reply” moving to another area of the page and at times “Comment” button is gone altogether. I know 2 people who are getting the post 1 day late, so on weekends, 3 days late. Something has glitched!
      Neil said nobody else has said anything and has no control over world press and we don’t know how to reach a human there!!! Maybe write Neil, you may be heard.

  30. Thanks for your article. I also believe laptop computers are getting to be more and more popular these days, and now are often the only sort of computer found in a household. This is because at the same time they are becoming more and more inexpensive, their computing power keeps growing to the point where they are as potent as pc’s out of just a few years ago.

  31. When I was twelve, a few years back, I went to a children’s museum with my cousins, my aunt and my uncle. My uncle was furious when he couldn’t beat my high score on Pacman, since it was from “his generation”.

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