Tag Archives: programming

Some world records are longstanding for a reason

Did you ever play the game Asteroids? Did you ever score more than 41 million points? If you answered yes to both of those questions you may have just lost your claim on a world record.

asteroidsrecord

On Saturday, John McAllister sat down at a friend’s house near Portland, Oregon to play a game of Asteroids. By Monday, he was still playing.

At 10:18 p.m. Pacific, he scored 41,338,740 points, a new all-time high score. In doing so, he beat a record that has stood for over 27 years.

The official Asteroids high score of 41,336,440 is the longest-standing record in gaming history, having been set on November 14, 1982 by 15-year-old Scott Safran. He stayed awake for three days to accomplish this feat.

Oh well. Nobody is going to beat my score at “Roller Skater Evader” – a vaguely similar game I once coded in QBasic. For fun. Mostly because I changed the scoring system to give me hundreds of thousands more points than the magazine I copied it from said to. Basically you had to steer a little dot through a screen of other little dots. And it made annoying beeping sounds because I realised that you could program musical scores by typing “play AA#BB#” etc… or something like that. I don’t remember how you made it play flats. Does anybody? I made the theme song “Mary Had A Little Lamb”…

Pet sounds

There’s a character in Douglas Adam’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency who made his mark in computer world by writing a program that turned financial spreadsheets into music.

This guy wrote a program that turns pictures into music – taking the RGB values of every pixel and converting them into a three note harmonic.

It sounds clever – clever enough to be worth patenting. Only somebody else has already done that. So he’s closed down the program that used to be online. One day though people. One day I will hear the sound of turtles… they don’t actually make noise.