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andrewg
11-26-2017 at 06:56 PM
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Long-Standing World Records: Pole Position (Arcade)

Pole Position is a classic arcade racing game released by Namco in 1982. I'm sure most of you have at least heard of this title and I’m sure many of you have at least played it. The goal of the game (like most racing games) is to go fast. However, the primary goal is not time, but high score. Score is achieved by getting a fast time, but also for passing other cars along the way. The riskier you play, the more cars you will be able to pass which usually involves barely squeezing between cars and around tight turns. At the highest levels it’s a game where one mistake might cost you getting a new personal best and crashing means resetting the game back to the beginning.

Pole Position is a fairly new game to me in some regard, but I have become more and more interested in putting up high scores for it myself. When I was probably 8 or 9 years old my father had a computer that had a variety of old arcade games, and I distinctly remember playing Pole Position. I thought it was a pretty cool game and thought “this feels a lot like Rad Racer for NES,” a favorite of mine. When playing, I also thought “this game ripped off Rad Racer” only later did I find out that Pole Position came out years before. I remember struggling with the keyboard controls for Pole Position and giving up after playing for about a half hour, but I very much enjoyed the game. Fast forward 15 years and I watched Richie Knucklez destroy the game at his arcade located in Flemington, New Jersey. At first glance, the way he played the game made me think he had no idea what he was doing. However, when actually watching his gameplay I realized that his aggressive and jerky steering wheel movements were actually required because of the speed of the game. I found it pretty impressive and I was told that Richie was one of the top competitors for the game, and that his high score put him in 3rd place overall behind two 80s competitors.

I have high skepticism when it comes to many of the Twin Galaxies’ world records from the 1980s simply because there was a time when word of mouth was good enough to get your name to the leaderboard. Some scores on the leaderboard just don’t make sense to me, and I wasn’t expecting to find much information regarding the top two Pole Position scores. I’m glad I researched it because it eliminated my doubts on the legitimacy of the high scores. The two top scores for Pole Position were set at the Video Game Masters Tournament in San Jose in 1984. Les Lagier claimed 1st in the tournament with 67,310, and Mike Klug claimed 2nd with 67,260. Each car you pass is worth 50 points and somehow Les managed to pass one extra car than Mike to win the weekend tournament. The cool part is that these two tournament scores remain the highest ever recorded scores for Pole Position. They are still the only two players to reach the 67,000 point mark after 33 years!

Last year, I visited Funspot in New Hampshire, and got the privilege to watch an upcoming Pole Position player, Graham Ogilvie. Graham was trying to best his top score of 65,550 while at Funspot and I decided to spend a few hours watching his play and discussing what the best strategies might be. I watched him top his best and I believe get a score of 65,600. He kept trying and I kept watching, and eventually he had a run where we both looked at each other as if to say “that was definitely a good run.” At the end of the races, the game tallies your score and you have to wait for the final score to calculate. The final score stopped at an EXACT 66,000. This would put him in 9th place on the Twin Galaxies leaderboard among other top 80s scores. He was very happy about it and I was glad I got to witness such a great performance. We didn’t get a video of the performance and thus the 66,000 score was rejected by Twin Galaxies. However, Graham recently upped his score to 66,260 putting him in the 5th place spot overall. I am very excited to see what happens on Pole Position over the next few years, and whether more people will join the competition.


Here's the write-up for the 1984 Pole Position tournament:
http://www.videoparadise-sanjose.com/lagier.htm
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Comments
  1. hanasu's Avatar
    I have high skepticism when it comes to many of the Twin Galaxies’ world records from the 1980s simply because there was a time when word of mouth was good enough to get your name to the leaderboard. Some scores on the leaderboard just don’t make sense to me, and I wasn’t expecting to find much information regarding the top two Pole Position scores. I’m glad I researched it because it eliminated my doubts on the legitimacy of the high scores.
    Can I ask why?

    To me, two scores set at the same event being so untouchable for so long would make me question if perhaps the settings or romset etc. on that machine were not correct.
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  2. danman1234's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by hanasu
    Can I ask why?

    To me, two scores set at the same event being so untouchable for so long would make me question if perhaps the settings or romset etc. on that machine were not correct.
    Exactly two scores (from a tournament no less) that are soooooooooo far above everyone else since then and literally I feel a ZILLION people play/played this game (Even BOTA 2017 the highest score was only 65,760). It must have been setup differently. Both of them finished almost a full 4 seconds faster than Richie who had pretty much a perfect run. There is no way those scores were on TG settings. Especially when the two people doing it are from the SAME tournament? Those scores will almost certainly never be beaten and given what we know about how things were back then its almost 100% due to the fact those games were not played correctly. I just read this post that says the ref didnt even write the scores down?!?! So was it just people TELLING the ref what they scored like most of the data for TG back in the day?? Plus it was noted it happened at the very end of the day so what are the odds that Mike has a score of 67,260 and good ol Les just happens to post a score 50 points higher at the very end of the day?!?! Come on... Plus someone said the only way to get that score its to have 4 laps faster than the fastest laps anyone has documented EVER. I have a lot of doubts about those scores. Perhaps they played on 5 laps vs 4 and a harder difficulty? (Less bonus time per lap and less cars to pass?)

    Anyone know what the different extend ranks give you as far as time?

    https://forums.arcade-museum.com/arc.../t-281561.html
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  3. francoisadt's Avatar
    What different settings would make it easier and be able have more points to reach 67,310?
  4. AtariKonami's Avatar
    As my post on KLOV shows, for Pole Position, there is only one setting (Difficulty G) that gives the highest possible score at four laps.
    https://forums.arcade-museum.com/arc.../t-281561.html

    If a setting for a 5th lap were available in the dip switch settings, an additional 10,000 points for distance traveled would be awarded, resulting in a score far exceeding 67,000.

    Please see the attached photos from the 80's regarding scores of 67,010 or higher:


    Michael Klug
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  5. andrewg's Avatar
    For what it's worth, I definitely believe the 80s scores. This instance well documents the tournament surrounding the scores and 67,000 scores definitely are within the realm of reason. The story adds up, and to my knowledge there is no setting that allows for more points.

    Michael, I met you briefly at the somewhat recent TG event in CA. You gave me your player card and I didn't end up looking at it closely until later on. Wish we could have chatted up on Pole Position :)

    My biggest question... any idea how much are Pole Position cabs going for these days?
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  6. andrewg's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by danman1234
    Plus someone said the only way to get that score its to have 4 laps faster than the fastest laps anyone has documented EVER.
    No, this was what is thought to be required to beat the current world record score of 67,310.

    These are some of the most believable scores from the 80s in my opinion.
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  7. paul dean's Avatar


    Pole position 1 fastest score by Michael Klug 67260
    Pole Position I - 67310 is the world record done by Les Lagier on the date of July 1, 1984.
    Pole Position I – 67260 is the second place world record done by Michael Klug on the date of June 27, 1984.
    The Pole Position I World Record scores were done at Space Shuttle Arcade, San Jose, CA.
    between June 27, 1984 and July 1st, 1984.

    The First Photo included – by Michael Klug
    Michael Klug Pole Position I – Photo with Les Lagier 67010
    Fastest Lap 52”21
    Average Speed 186.80 mph

    No. Score Time Name
    1 67010 214”70 LES – “Les Lagier”
    2 67010 214”49 MJK – “Michael John Klug” note: race time faster by Michael Klug
    3 67960 214”70 LES
    4 66960 214”34 LES
    5 66960 214”97 LES
    6 66960 214”71 MJK

    The Second Photo included - by Michael Klug
    Michael Klug photo of high score:
    Top 67260

    This is the second place world record score done by Michael Klug. This is the photo for June 27, 1984 at the Space Shuttle Arcade, San Jose, CA. Original photos provided.
    Thank you,
    Paul Dean
  8. CONSOLEPLAYEROFTHECENTURY's Avatar
    [QUOTE=paul dean;bt12656][ATTACH=CONFIG]44993[/ATTACH]

    Pole position 1 fastest score by Michael Klug 67260
    Pole Position I - 67310 is the world record done by Les Lagier on the date of July 1, 1984.
    Pole Position I – 67260 is the second place world record done by Michael Klug on the date of June 27, 1984.
    The Pole Position I World Record scores were done at Space Shuttle Arcade, San Jose, CA.
    between June 27, 1984 and July 1st, 1984.

    The First Photo included – by Michael Klug
    Michael Klug Pole Position I – Photo with Les Lagier 67010
    Fastest Lap 52”21
    Average Speed 186.80 mph


    No. Score Time Name
    1 67010 214”70 LES – “Les Lagier”
    2 67010 214”49 MJK – “Michael John Klug” note: race time faster by Michael Klug
    3 67960 214”70 LES
    4 66960 214”34 LES
    5 66960 214”97 LES
    6 66960 214”71 MJK

    The Second Photo included - by Michael Klug
    Michael Klug photo of high score:
    Top 67260

    This is the second place world record score done by Michael Klug. This is the photo for June 27, 1984 at the Space Shuttle Arcade, San Jose, CA. Original photos provided.
    Thank you,
    Paul Dean[/QUOTE]


    I
    think the time has come YOU post links to the videos of your spy hunter run, I cannot find them anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Did you do the score ?????

    Sorry I know you personally and all but at the same time It should be avail and if it's not, tell us where to get it!!!!!!!!!!
  9. AtariKonami's Avatar
    Regarding danman1234 post:
    "Both of them finished almost a full 4 seconds faster than Richie who had pretty much a perfect run. There is no way those scores were on TG settings."


    Please note the lap time in the photo of 52"21.

    I viewed the 66,260 video from Graham at:
    https://www.twingalaxies.com/showthread.php/172640
    Unfortunately, the lap times are not entirely visible.
    It appears that his fastest lap times are about 53"40
    While his play is very good, the lap times are too high to achieve a score above 67,000.

    I also viewed the 66,510 score from Richie at:

    Due to low quality video, it is difficult to view the lap times.
    On the high score screen, it does display a fastest lap of 52"83.
    Richie is capable of scores exceeding his current submission of 66,510.

    The answer is right there, faster lap times result in a higher score.
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  10. redelf's Avatar
    56.50
    53.03
    52.83
    not sure of last lap time
  11. redelf's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by paul dean


    Pole position 1 fastest score by Michael Klug 67260
    Pole Position I - 67310 is the world record done by Les Lagier on the date of July 1, 1984.
    Pole Position I – 67260 is the second place world record done by Michael Klug on the date of June 27, 1984.
    The Pole Position I World Record scores were done at Space Shuttle Arcade, San Jose, CA.
    between June 27, 1984 and July 1st, 1984.

    The First Photo included – by Michael Klug
    Michael Klug Pole Position I – Photo with Les Lagier 67010
    Fastest Lap 52”21
    Average Speed 186.80 mph


    No. Score Time Name
    1 67010 214”70 LES – “Les Lagier”
    2 67010 214”49 MJK – “Michael John Klug” note: race time faster by Michael Klug
    3 67960 214”70 LES
    4 66960 214”34 LES
    5 66960 214”97 LES
    6 66960 214”71 MJK

    The Second Photo included - by Michael Klug
    Michael Klug photo of high score:
    Top 67260

    This is the second place world record score done by Michael Klug. This is the photo for June 27, 1984 at the Space Shuttle Arcade, San Jose, CA. Original photos provided.
    Thank you,
    Paul Dean
    You saying there are photos of the scores above. If so please lets see them and end this and get on with playing the game.
  12. AtariKonami's Avatar
    John,

    Sent you the photos by email.
    I can see them when I view this thread.
    No idea why you (or the rest of the world) cannot see them.
  13. redelf's Avatar
    Lets see if these show up now. Thanks for sharing


  14. redelf's Avatar
    These are gold Mike, never knew they existed, Thanks a lot for sharing them.
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  15. hanasu's Avatar
    imgur.com, among millions of other sites, exists to host images so that they can be seen.
    Likespaul dean liked this post
  16. AtariKonami's Avatar
    Photo hosted at:
    https://i.imgur.com/rbMYb3A.jpg
    Thankshanasu thanked this post
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  17. danman1234's Avatar
    Richies fastest lap is only 0.6 seconds slower so over the entire race a full 4 seconds was lost? That certainly is in the realm of realistic. But looking at this Richies time was 216"70 which is only 2 seconds less than the 214"70 from LES and yet his score is 600 points less? So LES passed four more cars? Why would there be that many more cars to pass especially finishing the race faster. Course the photo shows times of 214"70 that did pass one less car. Is the game really this random? All those 214" times assume at least THREE more cars passed than Richies time does. Very interesting indeed. Great scores for sure are these done at other places versus this one arcade?
  18. francoisadt's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by AtariKonami
    As my post on KLOV shows, for Pole Position, there is only one setting (Difficulty G) that gives the highest possible score at four laps.
    https://forums.arcade-museum.com/arc.../t-281561.html

    If a setting for a 5th lap were available in the dip switch settings, an additional 10,000 points for distance traveled would be awarded, resulting in a score far exceeding 67,000.

    Please see the attached photos from the 80's regarding scores of 67,010 or higher:


    Michael Klug
    What I do not understand is you have second place on the scoreboard of exceeding 67000 which can only be achieved by setting difficulty to "G" but the track rules stated

    Practice Difficulty: "C" Rank

    Which is different than what you have played the game. So all the scores above 67K is impossible for setting C and should be on a separate track for setting "C".

    It is therefore unfair to expect others to play on setting "C" whereas you confirmed
    on the post here the only way to get 67K is setting G.

    Please explain.
  19. redelf's Avatar
    Practice diff really doesn't matter in that it doesn't affect the real race parameters. You can't score more with a diff practice setting only the race diff matters in the overall score. Think of the practice as just qualifying, you can qualify on all the practice settings and get the same score.
  20. redelf's Avatar
    Now that we have that issue taken care of lets move on to how to beat those scores.

    Thanks to Mike we have all the numbers on how to beat the game and what it takes in terms of times and such. Lets talk about the details of how to get those times. I was able to play last night and got a new PB 219 finish time, only 5 seconds away from those 214's.

    Lets start with shifting gears. I'm doing it at around 120 mark but it seems that you can do it at 90 - 130 and get the same results. I'm looking at when I pass the yellow sign on the left before the first turn and seem to be at around a speed of 232 when I do.

    Next up is the first turn which can be done perfectly since your not going at top speed on the first lap. You should come out of that turn going 237 and then all the way to 244 before the end of the next turn. You can have one skip or slight skid sound but the car can't turn sideways otherwise you will lose speed and you will need to start over.

    The only other thing that I'm learning or am leaning towards is to stay on the inside of the turns as much as possible. I haven't proved to myself that this is quicker but it seems to be the case on the qualifying lap.

    Last item is the hairpin curve. There seems to be a few different set ups on how the cars are lined up. Many of those set ups are bad and only a couple are good. Haven't really figured out this at all and am left to the randomness of things. Still trying to figure this out and working on different ideas but that is taking lots of time.

    Current goal is to get a 67k score, getting the record may be beyond my tolerance of playing the game over and over again to get the ultimate perfect race, I'll settle for a near perfect race instead for now.
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