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Thread: New World Record on "Zookeeper" (Arcade) !!

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    New World Record on "Zookeeper" (Arcade) !!

    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 ?'
    Shawn 'Yeah'

    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.

    **********************************************

    STATISTICS

    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 !!

    **********************************************

    AFTERTHOUGHTS

    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.

    Robert
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    Congratulations Shawn,

    I was at Funspot last year when you set the record in late May, but unfortunately for me, I was playing Crazy Climber one row back and had no idea you were setting the record. Missed your game, but was there immediately after your game finished. Keep up the good work!

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    Sorry About the Stat Section !!

    Hello all:

    Man, I have these really awesome looking charts in EXCEL but for some section I can't get it to look nice and pretty.

    Brien tried to help and this is as good as it looks. I'll try to get ite to look better.

    Robert

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    wow, the fact he survived through 64 stages impresses me more than the final score. That amazing to go through 64 stages.

    I'm kind of surprised he doesn't go for more big jumps on the earlier levels. I guess when you can survive to stage 64 pigging out on earlier levels doesn't matter that much(?). I mean by pigging out just trying to line up for big jumps for big points.

    Even on early levels like the Moose level I have gotten 125k and even 250k jumps.

    The level with a 4 million jump...that's cool. You have to watch the adrenaline after big jumps like that. I would get greedy and then go for too much and likely die off.

    In the final stats, it shows 170,000 for Lion. is that right? That can't be right. That's only a few lions captured the entire game. Lions start at 30k and go up to 70k then loop back to 30k and cycle from 30-70k.

    How can he have only gotten 170k in lions that whole game?

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    Nope...It's True !!

    Hi Rick:

    I kid you not...170K in lions the entire game !!

    My findings were meticulous. He captured lions as follows...

    Stage 12 - 60K (2-30K lions, I believe)
    Stage 33 - 70K (1 lion)
    Stage 52 - 40K (1 lion)

    Pretty impressive ? I have one better. I didn't bother to track this level of detail, but as for what makes up his "Other Points", I'd have to say that 99%+ are jumps up to 60K, and only a fraction of 1% are captured animals.

    Shawn maxed out his jump potential by retaining as many animals running around as possible by stage-end. That's no secret, it's just common sense.

    Now...think of what his score could be if he had nailed an 8M jump or higher !! But lasting 64 stages, that's flat out awesome.

    Robert

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    Re: Nope...It's True !!

    Quote Originally Posted by RMRUCZEK
    Shawn maxed out his jump potential by retaining as many animals running around as possible by stage-end. That's no secret, it's just common sense.
    Yes, I realize this and played using that strategy myself. however, on stages that have a hammer as the final item....I would try and delay getting it until just before the stage is ending.

    There is pretty much no time left for jumping, but you can capture a few lions with a few whacks of your hammer just as the stage is ending.

    I remember even on the levels that end with a hammer being able to capture at least 2-3 lions each time doing this.

    Sure, you let them all out in the beginning...but as you are jumping to survive and get points, you also build up the walls. With a final hammer, you can actually capture quite a few.

    I had a game I played in MAME recently where after the 40k lion level, I had 1.8 million points.

    From the 2 lion levels, I already had 250+ k from captured lions as I got 4 or 5 in the 30k lion level then 4 in the 40k level.

    ...then you have a few where the hammers are first....so you don't even think about trying to keep anything in....and use those hammers to knock in the few that happen to go the opposite direction around the cage...so they come back out going the same as the others ...assuming you also are facing/moving that way....which is the key to the entire game.

    ..but then it loops back around where you have a hammer as the last item on a level...so I would use same strategy of getting all going same direction...or nearly all...normally 1 or 2 happen to get going other way anyway....and get a few healthy point jumps in....and get items if handy....then still delay getting the last hammer until just before the timer runs out ending the stage....to bag a few lions.

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    Different Strategies

    Hi Rick:

    That's what makes this game so appealing. You could use the lions as your primary source, concentrate on setting up big jumps, or a mix of both.

    Greg Bond, I think, had a game last November where by a very early stage he was over 1M due to some unexpected big jumps. Now, I on the other hand...

    Robert

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    Sweet

    VERY nice score! Congregations! :D
    Stephen K. Boyer
    Former Twin Galaxies Sr. Referee
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Mario Bros. 2-Player Team: 1,517,380 ( Arcade Medium World Record )
    Mario Bros. 2-Player Team: 788,970 ( Arcade Medium NO POW World Record )
    Mario Bros. Single Player MEDIUM 4,260,210 ( MAME World Record )

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    Great job -- congratulations.
    How long was the total playing time for the world record game?

    Dan Coogan

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    About an Hour

    Hi Dan:

    I believe that it fell somewhere between 1:05-1:15 if I remember correctly.

    Robert

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