February 24, 2013
New Word Record In Q*Bert
The name Q*Bert sounds like a typo in the gaming dictionary of twelve year old kids that religiously play Halo. But to men and women in their late thirties, Q*Bert was a pioneering 8-bit arcade game of the early eighties. Most don’t consider Q*Bert as hardcore (if such a term is applicable) as Pac-Man or Pong, but for its time this game was another outlet of gaming goodness.
Released in 1982 by Gottlieb, Q*Bert struck arcade gold with its simplified version of completion and 8-bit color schemes. The game has you playing in the role of Q*Bert, an extremely disturbing and ugly Pac-Man looking ball with a hose attached to his/her nose. At the time that this game was released its controls were more than easy to maintain: using no buttons, a joystick, and the players pacing and time. The object of the game was for Q*Bert to change the colors of the tiles of the pyramid that he stood on by stepping on them in a certain pattern. If the player managed to turn all of the tiles to the same color then he/she would progress to the next level.
Like many other 8-bit games of the eighties, Q*Bert found its way into a library of old and forgotten titles that faded as the gaming industry continued to evolve. That is, until George Leutz decided to revive it again. Leutz, a 38 year old inhabitant of Manhattan has set a new record for Q*Bert, scoring 37,163, 080; effectively breaking the 33, 273, 520 point record that was held by Robert Gerhardt for nearly thirty years.
As aforementioned, Q*Bert isn’t an impossible game to master. In fact, Leutz chose Q*Bert because it uses “just one control, no buttons, so I can eat while I play,” while also citing the game as one of the only games that he played as a kid that he was good at. Clearly his repertoire for skill in gaming was very low.
Leutz played Q*Bert for 84 hours and 48 minutes, smashing the previous record of 68.5 hours held by Ed Heemsherk in Florida last year. Once Leutz lost his last life in the game, he passed out on the arcade owner’s couch for twelve hours of sleep.
At 20 years old, I have a different view of this kind of behavior to games than I did at 15. Actually, I don’t; his tendency to smash a Guiness world record at the age of 38 is just impressive. There are those who would like to think otherwise, categorizing him as a no life or deadbeat in society that couldn’t leave behind the glory days of arcade greatness. Are we anyone to judge a human being for having a good time?
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of an individual going to amazing lengths just for the fun of playing a game. Just last year Taiwanese teenager Chuang died from heart failure after playing Diablo 3 for over 40 consecutive hours. Again, the behavior doesn’t seem pathetic to me at all. Gaming is much less a hobby today than it was thirty years ago. And with that being said, it should be recognized more as a lifestyle.
Is it a destructive lifestyle? I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.
Image Credit: www.vgmasterz.com