Can anyone confirm the "method" used to achieve the long standing "undisputed" Atari Black Widow arcade world record of 930,100 points by James Vollandt in 1984? (same ? for David Rotramel and Craig Lopinski scores too)
Did he play 1 credit with no restarting games at higher warps from wave 21-104 in one go? Or, did he work his way up through them all to the wave 104 kill screen score by "freely choose starting warps" after re-starting new games repeatedly that gave him the higher warp bonus points he worked his way up to? (same ? for David Rotramel and Craig Lopinski scores too)
It is still very very hard to get those scores by working your way up to the higher warps for more points wave by wave and game by game (like Tempest). With Black Widow you must complete a full 4 wave cycle before the game allows you to access the next higher starting warp on a subsequent game (only every 4th level : 1,5,9,13,17,21 etc). If you don't make it past the first wave of a "warp cycle" the game bumps you back to the next lowest starting warp (4 waves back). So even if you "continue playing" a subsequent new game after earning a higher start warp, at some point most players would get stuck and or get bumped back to lower start warps when they "hit the wall" difficulty wise.
The TG "rules" are a bit confusing because they say "You may freely choose your Starting Warp. No continues are permitted." which seems to imply these had to be 1 credit runs?
(all due respect because we don't know how the old scores were done) Current gen BW players I've talked with don't think this is possible given the 6 life max cap versus the insane difficulty that requires almost random luck to get through wave cycles sometimes (esp 50+). The game does not allow you to "continue" from the wave you were last on when your game ends, but you can then "freely chose your starting warp" on the next new game and take advantage of higher warp cycle bonus starting points you earned through the previous game. By completing more 4 wave cycles during game-play, the starting warp goes higher and higher from the highest "start warp" on wave 21 (by 4's) up to wave 101 at the last 4 wave cycle.
I am curious because I think I might be a contender to take down that long standing record someday "if" it was achieved by repeat games and not a 1CC run (so are several other good BW players btw who have also reached the KS this way). As "proof" here are some pics (below) from some kill screen run attempts done on an Ultracade machine earlier this year (MAME). The game freezes at the wave 104 thunderbug wave (the 931,025 score below is from frozen "kill screen"). It actually gives you time to kill the thunderbugs for points but then locks up the machine. Not sure if this is time related on wave 104 or when you try to go from wave 104-105. I've gotten here several times now and it locked up right after I killed all the thunderbugs each time.
Attachment 6056Attachment 6058
And "if" those original Black Widow world records from the 80's were done by repeat game attempts taking advantage of the next highest start warp bonus, that would also mean I would have to record my play from at least wave 21 warp start, through all the games it took to make it to the last wave cycle at 101-104 to make an official WR on an official cab? (I would guess a TG referee witnessed this in the 80's if they did the same back then?)
Thanks for any info.
Using "Tempest" for historical purposes, we realized back in the 2001-2006 range that the earliest TG records were likely achieved from a starting point of wave 81. With precious few exceptions, the TG rules are that a player can start from no higher than the maximum starting level allowed when no previous completed game had an impact on the starting point...meaning when you first turn the machine on.
In other words, you could start from wave 9 in "Tempest", wave 4 in "Blaster", and I think wave 26 or so in "Joust 2".
I'm not sure who wrote the rules for "Black Widow" but if the possibility exists that the existing WR is likely from a higher starting level, write to Jace and ask that the category be split into "Start from Any Stage" or "Highest Starting Stage of x" where "x" is the maximum starting point when you first turn the machine on. That would resolve the matter in the same fashion that we did with "Tempest" years back.
Good luck !!
A suggestion : avalanche / cascade
And what about driving games like top speed / full throttle ? or Chase HQ ? Variations are not really too vary.
Sorry to keep holding my hand up and no disrespect to your efforts to put together this great list of Undisputed Champions, but I must raise an issue with Major Havoc given some info I have dug up similar to my questions about Black Widow and I-Robot as far as the circumstances about how these scores were actually set that demystifies them somewhat (I,Robot Demo Mode allows for leeching the timer; Black Widow allows warping to higher levels/scores via continues like Tempest).
It seems that at least some if not all of the top scores on Major Havoc used at least in part the "hand trick" from Level 13 on the Rev 2 rom. I would even have to admit that using this trick, partially, to set a higher score might be allowed to counter the problem on level 16 that seems to be a bug or built in anti-marathon measure. It would be a good way to build up at least one life per loop to offset cruel level 16 (unless someone knows how to get through that beast on 1 life that is).
As evidence I offer the following :
AnonymousMar 19, 2005, 12:51 AM
Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)
> Have you tried warping yet?
> Warp codes are as followed,
> RED: 23
> YELLOW: 46
> GREEN: 824
> AQUA: 315
> I'm sure the record holder used those to get his score.
> I don't consider these cheats, they are built it to the game.
Are we talking about the arcade platform?
No he didn't use codes. I was in the arcade when my friend(Ettore
Ciaffi) achieved 1,940,078(which was listed in the Guiness Book of
BTW. There is a way to repeat the thirteenth level indefinitely on the correct rom set.
Staten Island, New York.
TroyMar 19, 2005, 12:51 AM
Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)
I'm talking about the arcade platform. All the codes do anyway is advance
the level, you still have to get there.
Not sure if the 13th level rolls or not.
What level was your friend on when he finished his record game?
There was no follow up response to this question, which may mean nothing, but the fact that Darren brought up the Rev 2 level 13 hand trick makes me wonder if this is how Ettore and others have set such high scores over 1.2 million points. They may have used this to build up lives to deal with the Level 16 problem where you have to give up a life to get through the level which makes marathon-ing this title very very hard given how low it scores and the lack of free life possibilities.
Here is an ex TG ref who appears to have the answer to this question finally from a 2007 CAGDC forum thread about Pac-Man :
Re: Billy Mitchells 1999 Pac Man acheivement
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2007, 01:54:02 PM »
Major Havoc....I have pointed out to them many times...with witnessing 2 of the top scores as proof...other score is obvious enough...that the rom set with the hand trick to replay level 13 over and over forever was used. A later revision of the rom set fixed the bug so you can't do it. Also, looping on 1 level forever versus progressing the game to the next level goes against TG policy...yet these scores remain.
All TG has is the word from arcade owners as these scores are from the 80s...so no video proof etc. so they refuse to remove the scores that are now UNBEATABLE under current TG settings.
I would love to set a score for Major Havoc...but figure little point...cuz it still would be 4th or so even if I had mastered it beyond the higher scores....not worth playing it for that.
If TG had videos or even pictures of the game just before it ends to verify they still were on level 13 they would remove them...but since no proof required back then except word of mouth from arcade managers, they remain...go figure. If that game was as popular as the pacs or mr do or donkey kong or Billy Mitchell opposed them and stated what I stated, you'd bet those scores would not remain there. This is part of what had me drop from the TG staff.
Can anyone verify further whether or not the top or top three TG scores on Major Havoc (arcade) used the Level 13 hand trick in any way? What was the final level these scores reached especially the #1?
I'd have to agree, the hand trick was used. There just isn't a way that I can find or see that would allow you to be able to play the game to that score playing normally. I guess the best thing to do since we can't get the scores removed or the track split would be to create a new track and ignore the current track. It would be nice to see some competition on this game to find out what a good score really is. As far as Black Widow goes I'm in with your view. The scoring rate if you played straight up would not be high enough to obtain the record score. I'd say that the top 3 players at minimum used the continue and warp from the highest possible level to obtain that score. Again we can't do anything about that so the best thing again is to just start a new track and state that this track is for max starting level of 21? and that the other track is for using any level you want to play from.
Only took me a few tries to match the TG #2 arcade WR using the hand trick (Wolfmame .152 on Rev 2 Rom).
1,494,078 points and I never left Level 13 :)
I also forgot that using the hand trick on Level 13 means you go back to that level again "as it was", meaning all keys collected already stay with you and any sparks you killed stay dead making this even easier to repeat (other than those bloody space fish of course). As an added bonus it also unlocks the clock you cannot get, but unfortunately it does nothing as far as I can see.
I could have played through faster and left more oxygen at the end for more points, but I can see it wouldn't take more than a good run on the space fish to crack 2 million points this way (extra lives every 100k plus the free life for the breakout game).
Time for some track clarification.
To clear this up once and for all, I started a new arcade track for Major Havoc at the link below that bans using the hand trick on Level 13 :
I also found even more references to the old 80's records using this trick from the same ex-Tg ref above :
Major Havoc...I have tried to DQ the current arcade scores cuz I know for a FACT they were done using set 2 which has a flaw where you can play level 13 over and over again...forever. I could marathon the game scoring millions if I wanted to playing that rom set.
set 3 of the rom set for Major Havoc, FIXED the code flaw that allowed the above. Anyone playing Major Havoc using set 3 will not be able to touch the set 2 scores.
...yet those scores remain. I think they even would be in violation of the current TG leeching rules..as they aren't trying to advance the game...but just replay level 13 forever.
However, how do you view a case like Major Havoc....that has that hand glitch in set 2 and earlier...allowing you to replay level 13 forever. Set 3 and later corrected that glitch. The result is with the later rom sets, you can't compete with the scores using the set 2 rom set. The current Major Havoc arcade scores on the TG scoreboard were ALL played with set 2.
The only way to compete against those is play set 2 and just use the hand glitch and play level 13 over and over again for hours.
Cmon...that's definitely avoiding most of the game...against the spirit for sure...as proven by the correction of it in later rom sets.
I really wish TG would clarify this in some official way so other gamers know exactly how those 80's scores were set using the Level 13 bug. For decades players have given up on or not even tried to advance Major Havoc scores because of these old "undisputed" records that all leeched Level 13. Just adding a note to the current track that explains the bug that was allowed in these Masters Tournaments back then would help clear things up and maybe help stir up competition again.
I think you're on the right track, pun intended, by just starting a new track and trying to encourage competition on it within the active CAG community. I did the same thing with Rally-X on default settings as the 80's scores were undoubtedly done on that setting and I'm sure the Robotron playing community has created their own track(s) to bypass the fact that the top score from the golden era has a non-zero number in the ones digit. I think this is the best we can do given the circumstances.
Just a few more that quickly come to mind...
Commando - Tim Balderamos
Paperboy - Phil Britt
Cheyenne - Donn Nauert
Spy Hunter - Paul Dean
Champion Baseball - Gus Pappas (perhaps the greatest percentage disparity between 1st and 2nd place in TG arcade records with multiple entries)