BREAKING NEWS !! New World Record on 'Zookeeper' (Arcade) !!
As reported March 6th. 2004
Hello fellow gamers:
Last year saw a huge increase in interest in the classic 1982 Taito arcade title 'Zookeeper', coinciding with the first 15M point jump captured on film, and several 20M+ point games, one of which became the new world record at the time.
Since then, Shawn Cram, who hails from Maine in the USA, has invested much time into the title perfecting his strategies. All his hard work has paid off, as he raised the bar on the title, and the world record, to a verified 35,732,870 points, eclipsing his previous personal world record best by well over 10 million points in the process !!
The new world record was set at the Funspot family entertainment center in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, a veritable museum of over 160 well-kept classic arcade and pinball machines from the 1987 and prior era, and the site of dozens of current world records set over the past five years.
Shawn, his brother Jason, and their good friend Greg Bond, have all been hammering away at Jack Gale?s long-standing world record of over 20M points throughout 2003. The competition was friendly, but serious. Each wanted to land an elusive multi-million-point jump that could potentially launch their personal best record into the stratosphere. The game allows for the potential to jump all the animals at once for a maximum theoretical jump bonus of 30 million points.
To date, only Jason has been able to achieve a verified jump of 15M points, although the entire game, which ended up to be 28M points, was unfortunately never captured onto videotape in its entirety. Some players, since the new world record last year was announced, have written to Twin Galaxies claiming one, two, even four 30M point jumps in a single game back in the day, but these claims are all unverified, and the Twin Galaxies policy is very precise. All gaming submissions must be videotaped for Twin Galaxies authentication purposes.
In his new world record game of 35M points, Shawn did not land a 30M-point jump. For that matter, he never landed a 15M or even an 8M-point jump. What he did manage to do is reach the 64th stage, further than any other verified performance on this title. Throughout his game he achieved several awesome jumps, a few of which were more than a million points.
Shawn also did not employ the banned leeching tactic in any of the coconut stages, in which a player can progressively score up to 300,000 points per jump without ever leaving the stage. This tactic has been banned since May/02.
But rather than go into specifics now, I am about to let you live through highlights of Shawns game, as I did while authenticating his videotape submission. Some interesting statistics follow afterwards.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
Stage 1 3,420 points which is pretty routine by now for Shawn, but the fact is, most gamers cannot pass 2,500 points
Stage 9 445,670 points (score at end of stage) which is the first stage where the lions make their appearance. Shawn corrals 2.
Stage 13 1,232,220 points and Shawn gets his first big jump of the game for 250K
Stage 16 2,146,020 points and Shawns best jump this game increases to 500K
Stage 17 4,523,220 points. A lot happened this stage. For starters, Shawn died three times, at 2.5M, 3.7M and again at 3.8M. On the plus side, after the first game death, he pulled off his first mega jump for 1M points. He could have called it quits but Shawns a trooper and kept going.
Stage 31 9,479,770 points. 'Oh, that was close !!' Shawn said to himself. He had a really tight squeeze to deal with in the upper section of this escalator stage.
Stage 32 14,570,470 points and Shawn died at 10.3M reducing his total remaining lives at the time down to 4. However, that was the magic number as he pulled off a 4M-point jump shortly thereafter !! In total, this was his most point-productive stage as he raised his score from end of stage 31 by more than 5M points.
Stage 41 21,209,620 points during which another massive 4M-point jump was pulled off, bringing his score past the 20M mark.
Stage 48 27,055,120 points. Although a life was lost at 24.4M, his next life produced another mega jump, this one his only 2M jump of the game.
Stage 50 25,560,420 points. At this point, Shawn has five total lives remaining. His brother Jason must have just come by to check on his progress, as Shawn told him 'Jason, the record is GONE !!'. They chatted a bit, and I could make out Jason asking him briefly how high had he reached. Shawn did not exactly know for sure, but was well aware that he crushed his previous personal best.
Stage 53 30,444,620 points. Another mega jump of 1M points is snagged, bringing his record past the 30M barrier. I seriously doubt Shawn knows as he is concentrating hard on his game.
Stage 55 30,529,420 points. Shawn has six (6) total lives right now. I cannot tell for sure who is watching, but think I hear Anna Cram in the background (his brother Jasons wife, who happens to work at Funspot). Shawn is telling them, as time permits, 'I just got to take my time and get what I can'. Few questions are asked of him now out of respect for his concentration.
Stage 58 32,576,370 points and the first and only time Shawn loses a life in the 'Coconuts' stage. He falls thru the gap at the lower right.
Stage 61 35,497,470 points, possibly the turning point in Shawns game, if you will. He entered the stage with 33.3M points, and quickly died at 33.4M. On his next life, he nailed a 120K then a 500K leap (Jason said 'Nice'), then another 500K jump ('Awesome'), and finally a 3rd 500K leap, which was instantaneously followed by a game death. Shawn finishes the stage with two (2) total lives remaining, the first time he was down to two since stage 17.
Stage 63 35,578,370 points and Jason asks Shawn 'How many boards is this ?'. Shawn has no clue. He tells him 'I broke 30 (million)', but has not idea how far he has reached. At this point, Shawn has been playing for a little over an hour.
Stage 64 fatigue must have set in. Shawn died at 36.6M and then again at 36.7M. All he could think of after so long was expressed with a simple 'What is it, what is it ??' or maybe it was Jason that said this, I cannot be sure.
The final score was displayed?35,732,870 points, and a new world record !!
Shawn 'Thirty five !!'
Jason 'Put your initials up'
Shawn 'There you go. Thirty-five. That is good for me. That will do for awhile.'
Jason 'You have it one tape ?'
They talk a bit more before deciding to zoom in on the final score, and then having Anna Cram access the technicians screen to verify that the settings were in accordance with Twin Galaxies approved settings governing this title.
As she scrolled thru the screens, they took notice of the bookkeeping screen that indicated 4,312 game tokens were received on the machine. Either Shawn or Jason commented 'Those are all our credits !!'
With that, Shane said 'I think that is all we need', and the taping came to an end seconds later.
What would a world record report be without some cool statistics to digest ?
For starters, here is a detailed recap of Shawns points accumulated per stage, and I apologize for how messy this looks, but EXCEL was not kind to me with the cut and paste into this thread, and this is how things look left-justified...it looks really bad right-justified !! . If anyone knows a better way to do this, please let me know.
So you know, the columns are stage number, cumulative points thru end of stage, points in that stage alone, big-jump points (120K+), and all other, including Lion capture points.
Code:End of Total Big Jump Other Stage Points Points Points 1 3,420 3,420 0 3,420 2 15,870 12,450 0 12,450 3 26,570 10,700 0 10,700 4 56,070 29,500 0 29,500 5 131,620 75,550 0 75,550 6 151,370 19,750 0 19,750 7 159,370 8,000 0 8,000 8 295,070 135,700 0 135,700 9 445,670 150,600 0 150,600 10 530,270 84,600 0 84,600 11 538,770 8,500 0 8,500 12 697,520 158,750 0 158,750 13 1,232,220 534,700 250,000 284,700 14 1,331,520 99,300 0 99,300 15 1,344,020 12,500 0 12,500 16 2,146,020 802,000 620,000 182,000 17 4,523,220 2,377,200 1,490,000 887,200 18 4,803,720 280,500 0 280,500 19 4,816,220 12,500 0 12,500 20 5,202,920 386,700 250,000 136,700 21 6,373,670 1,170,750 1,000,000 170,750 22 6,432,970 59,300 0 59,300 23 6,443,470 10,500 0 10,500 24 7,376,370 932,900 620,000 312,900 25 8,054,670 678,300 250,000 428,300 26 8,237,670 183,000 0 183,000 27 8,248,170 10,500 0 10,500 28 8,396,320 148,150 0 148,150 29 9,292,670 896,350 620,000 276,350 30 9,467,170 174,500 0 174,500 31 9,479,770 12,600 0 12,600 32 14,570,470 5,090,700 4,500,000 590,700 33 14,987,170 416,700 0 416,700 34 15,145,870 158,700 0 158,700 35 15,158,370 12,500 0 12,500 36 15,544,620 386,250 250,000 136,250 37 15,899,720 355,100 0 355,100 38 15,994,020 94,300 0 94,300 39 16,004,620 10,600 0 10,600 40 16,508,920 504,300 120,000 384,300 41 21,209,620 4,700,700 4,120,000 580,700 42 21,408,620 199,000 0 199,000 43 21,419,620 11,000 0 11,000 44 22,073,720 654,100 250,000 404,100 45 23,983,920 1,910,200 1,740,000 170,200 46 24,082,620 98,700 0 98,700 47 24,093,120 10,500 0 10,500 48 27,055,120 2,962,000 2,620,000 342,000 49 28,381,720 1,326,600 750,000 576,600 50 28,560,420 178,700 0 178,700 51 28,576,920 16,500 0 16,500 52 29,090,120 513,200 120,000 393,200 53 30,444,620 1,354,500 1,000,000 354,500 54 30,518,920 74,300 0 74,300 55 30,529,420 10,500 0 10,500 56 31,620,920 1,091,500 870,000 221,500 57 32,239,870 618,950 120,000 498,950 58 32,576,370 336,500 0 336,500 59 32,588,970 12,600 0 12,600 60 33,387,270 798,300 620,000 178,300 61 35,497,470 2,110,200 1,740,000 370,200 62 35,557,270 59,800 0 59,800 63 35,578,370 21,100 0 21,100 64 35,732,870 154,500 0 154,500 Total -> 35,732,870 23,920,000 11,812,870 Now for some more cool statistics !! Total Point Summary Big Jump 23,920,000 66.9% Other 9,350,820 26.2% Coconut 2,111,650 5.9% Escalator 180,400 0.5% Lion 170,000 0.5% 35,732,870 100.0% Big Jump Summary 4M 22.4% 500K 14.0% 1M 11.2% 250K 8.4% 2M 5.6% 120K 5.4% 66.9%
As you can see, Shawn had ten (10) stages in which he scored at least a million points. And the coconut and escalator stages, combined, represents a small fraction of his score.
Considering that his lowest single jump was a little over 10% of his total score, Shawn earned this one the hard way, fellow gamers !!
Technically, the working title of the game is 'Zeke the Zookeeper', although most gamers tend to call the game simply 'Zookeeper', similar to how fans of the Atari arcade title 'Charlie Chuck's Food Fight' tend to call it simply 'Food Fight'.
The appeal of 'Zookeeper' is easy to understand. It is not too difficult to understand what to do. Do not run into any animals, and if jump them if you have to, or net them if you can. That is pretty much it !! Of course that is all easier said than done, as most gamers cannot clear the first 9 or 10 stages, and for some gamers, the dreaded coconut stage, especially when invisible, and the tough 4-level escalator stages, are their waterloo.
Zookeeper is truly different than many titles that have bonus stages as you can actually lose a life here. All of them, for that matter, if you are either careless or don?t have the skill set to clear it properly.
I talked with both Shawn and Jason Cram, as well as Greg Bond and others about this title. There is definitely a universal appeal to it. Many other Funspot gamers including Donald Hayes, Steve K. and Bryan Wagner are also very interested in the title, and with that many star players all trying to improve their skills at the title, who knows how far it can reach down the road.
A lot of new and interesting strategies are developing on the title, including the all-important grouping strategies which are critical if you want to have a better than average chance at landing the multi-million point jumps that are possible, though extremely difficult to land.
If you think about it, Shawn probably jumped at least 3,000 times the entire game, maybe a lot more (assuming 50+ jumps per stage). So, out of well over 3,000 jumps, one tenth of one percent were in the 2M and over range. Still, these three jumps make up almost 30% of the entire score !!
But for now, Shawn is the man of the moment on 'Zookeeper', and Twin Galaxies congratulates him for being the new verified world record holder.