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35 Years Later, I've Still Got It... - Elf M. Sternberg
35 Years Later, I've Still Got It...
This weekend I was at a politically critical event down in Georgetown with Omaha, and while she had to be there for all sorts of reasons, I was just the ride. I mean, I knew some of the people there, but once I'd said my hellos I didn't have a role there.

I wandered out to get some air, and wondered if rather than booze, I could find a coffee or a Coke somewhere. I strolled up the street and passed by a coffeeshop (closed, of course), and a barcade, one of those bars full of nostalgia machines from the 80s. It was mostly pinball (which can't be easier to maintain than video games), but upstairs there were a few uprights. Turning the corner, I saw a Defender. Defender is my machine; I once played for over 30 hours in front of one on a single quarter; I've seen Mutant Wave 990,000 and Level Zero.

It was a bit like religion. I put my hands on the controls and my hands knew what to do. Every reflex built from literally hundreds of hours of playing was still there. Not as sharp as they used to be, of course, but still solidly and really there. The knowledge about how to handle mutants, bombers, and swarmers. The secret line. Baiter timing. The four-star Smart Bomb trick.

Normally, I play for an hour on one quarter. The game lasted only twelve minutes. That's four times longer than the developers of the game expected anyone to ever learn how to play, but for me, it was terrible. 165,000? I can do better than that.

And someone had. Someone had the legendary score, 999,975. I'll see you in Hell, Mr. C.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
resonant From: resonant Date: May 3rd, 2016 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)
" I once played for over 30 hours in front of one on a single quarter"

How did you go that long without peeing?
elfs From: elfs Date: May 3rd, 2016 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
You don't! There's a trick. Every 255 levels, the game wraps around, and you get a "level zero," which is just like Level 1, only it has a hidden feature: if you get EVERY humanoid and drop them in the valley just to the left of the mountain, the game will slow down a LOT, effectively pausing for three minutes.

255 levels is about three hours of play. If you're good enough to get there, you ought to be good enough to grab all 10 humanoids without killing one or ending the level early, ne?

Edited at 2016-05-03 07:09 pm (UTC)
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: May 16th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was the Atari 800 version, but my record was about three minutes.. except for one single time when I lasted for about ten.
3 comments or Leave a comment