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The Evener
02-17-2020 at 09:36 PM
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When Pac-Man Just Overheated

Back in July 1982, Frank Breneman pushed our yellow dot muncher to the limit, clocking 4.5 hours of play to reach a score of 3,149,120. Breneman may have been tired but was still ready to steer Pac-Man through the maze before he reached the famous "kill screen" on level 256. But in a world where knowledge about 8 bit integer overflows wasn't widely known, gamers were left to ponder other explanations to describe abrupt ends to their runs. Breneman's overheated Pac-Man makes his report among the earliest published accounts of the kill-screen (Electronic Games magazine published a split-screen photo in their June 1982 issue, and gamers were achieving scores with killscreens earlier still).

I was curious if Breneman was listed on the Pac-Man leaderboard; a quick search confirmed that he's found there in 13th position. In seeing the Perfect Pac-Man scores (5 lives to start) at the top, I realized that along with Breneman's score, there are 22 others that were actually performed on 3 lives to start, which was the setting for competition prior to 1999. The first Twin Galaxies Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records (1998) cites the original track rule of 3 lives to start, even noting that the "Highest possible score possible is 3,333,180." David Race was the first confirmed gamer to achieve a perfect game on what was widely considered the "default" settings in 2012.

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  1. Barthax's Avatar

    Which magazine/paper was this from?

    [Edit:] Added a link in the discussion page for the track to here. :)

    LikesThe Evener liked this post
    Updated 02-18-2020 at 12:33 AM by Barthax
  2. The Evener's Avatar

    Oops, I knew I forgot something --

    The article was published in the Charlotte Observer, Saturday, July 17, 1982.

    ThanksBarthax thanked this post
  3. Snowflake's Avatar

    there was another clip i saw similiarly, where readers now will realize a kill screen is mentioned but the author and player had no clue. and yeah, the kid thought the machine just crashed and was planning to try it again at some point in the future hoping to make it further without crashing.

  4. francoisadt's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Barthax

    Which magazine/paper was this from?

    [Edit:] Added a link in the discussion page for the track to here. :)

    I do not see the link below in this thread?

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