VGA has started a new section of interviews called On Gaming which will be interviews with various people about video games. It would be difficult to open this new feature with someone more fitting than the King of Video Games himself, Todd “Mr. Activision” Rogers. His skill and experience in gaming gives a staggeringly huge area to ask about, but we did touch on some very good topics here. This is a very interesting look into pro gaming…
VGA: I’m sure this question has been put to you in nearly every interview you have done, but… Roughly, how many records have you claimed and how many of those are you ranked #1 in the world?
Todd Rogers: Well you caught me while I was in a terse mood tonight. Let’s put an answer to this once and for all. My “Claimed” records ARE official world records and the total would be around 2040 or so give or take minus any new records anyone recently has set that broke any of mine. I didn’t have to create and make up hundreds of variations like another previous Twin Galaxies referee just to pad my quantities to get over some 5000. What’s the point of having a world record IF you only have one other gamer playing the same game. Some inside people would condone such activity but for me being a real gamer I do not see the challenge in such things. Back to your question the referee that was current at that time “2001-2003” ran into some personal problems and he lost possession of all the video tapes that he had mine included. When the dust settled about 1700+ scores of mine were lost forever even though that referee verified all of them. But since they were not input into the data base that is why my “Official” world record total is much less. I hope that shed some light to this long overdue explanation.
VGA: Are there a few games that come to mind as being the most difficult to get a high ranking record? If so, why?
TR: Sure there are always a few that come to mind, and some of the easiest games are some of the hardest games to play such as the arcade game Zoo-Keeper if you do not know certain methods you will never get the big points. The Atari 2600 PitFall is another easy but complex game that will have you on the edge of your seat. One wrong move and you have to reset even if its 19:33 minutes into the game if you nick a log if you are going for the perfect score.
VGA: Your records on the Twin Galaxies score board are a mix of high scores and speed runs. Between beating the clock and getting the highest score, which challenge do you enjoy more often?
TR: That is a tough one I’ve always gravitated towards games that peek my interest which ever they may be “shoot em up” ,” racing” , “ puzzles” or maze games. I look for the challenge that the particular game has to offer and then extrapolate from that point on. My son Chad is versed like I am at games he excelle’s more at sports games then I do I guess they would offer me more of a challenge but I do not enjoy playing them.
VGA: Amongst your many accomplishments, one stands out for me personally… How did you keep yourself going to reach 85 hours of non-stop play in 2001 playing Journey Escape?
TR: Well that is easy insomnia helps when you are needing to stay awake. Secondly do not over do the food consumption eat foods that are soft like fruits and drink temperate water as cold fluids will put a chill on the bladder. Preparation is everything, if you do not feel confident in your game play and or able to stand the duration of the hours involved then don’t because your health is more important than just playing a game for bragging rights.
VGA: To this day, you hold the world record on Dragster for the Atari 2600 which you obtained back in 1980. How many attempts do you think you made before getting your 5.51 time?
TR: Well it was only one attempt and I got that record. But oh you are meaning how many attempts in total before I reached the score of 5.51. Well let me think I played it for 2 years probably every day and each game lasts 5-6 seconds hmmmmmm maybe upwards of several thousand to be that good at that game. All I know it’s too many to count and impossible to calculate. I still to this very day try to play dragster every day just to say I am still current with my skills.
VGA: I’ve read that you’re a referee for Twin Galaxies for several systems (Atari, Intellivision, and Game Cube). Have you caught people trying to cheat? What would be an example of cheating that possibly only the Twin Galaxies team would be able to spot?
TR: Here is an easy one. Dragster time of 5.26 tell me why you think this is a fake score. And it is not just because the Dragster time is better than my world record. Just by looking at the score is obvious. Do you think you know the answer?……. I do.
VGA: Are you currently working on any new world records? If so, what games?
TR: I was going to try and set the world record on Garfield for the Atari 2600 and play it for 100hrs. That would be setting three world records at once. One for the longest game play “100hrs” Two for making the highest score on that game and three having the highest score trackable meaning at the 54hr mark my score will be over 1000 digits long. The Twin Galaxies data base wouldn’t be able to list it all they could do was just say 1000+ digits because their binary tracks wouldn’t hold 1000 digit score. So I have sort of abandoned that idea because of my mother’s current health situation, She just turned 85yrs old ya know.
VGA: What are you currently playing and have you traversed to the online gaming scene?
TR: Currently I am playing Wizard101 it is a free to play MMO style of game that is online developed by the KingsIsle company. All ages of people can play it and it is easy enough that anyone can play but hard enough that it offers a number of complex challenges that make you think before you react. Me & Morningdove play it together much as we do most games. But I like Wizard101 because it gives the players a street level view of interactivity and you can game together as long as you want without having to wait for time limits or to regenerate certain powers. I’ve been also playing several of the Facebook apps such as Farmville, Cityville & Castle Age they too offer a certain kind of skill set to be able to get further into the game but with those games the better you are relies on how many friends that you can get to help you out with certain tasks. Conquer Online2 I played for just over a year but with that game you are only as good as how much you are willing to spend. I know of an individual who has spent over 60K real money into that game. Me personally I’ve invested $2500.00 into it. And for me it was like pulling teeth to spend that kind of cash for something I will never really own I guess that is why I stopped at that amount. Then there are the current online console games such as the Twisted Metal series, SoCom, and the new Pac-Man. I haven’t played those online as much because I was having account problems.
Great thanks from all of us at VGA go to Todd for his time on this interview.
If any readers are wondering if they have what it takes to get a world record of their own, check out the Twin Galaxies score board and start working at it!