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I guess I just like liking things

Even Q*bert is impressed by this feat

Even Q*bert is impressed by this feat

Over the space of four days last week, a guy in New Jersey broke the world record for marathon videogame playing, and he did it playing Q*bert. You can read about it here, but I’d advise against reading the comments. The gentleman in question, one George Leutz, played Q*bert for 84 hours and 48 minutes on one game credit. Guinness World Record rules state that you earn five minutes of rest for every hour of effort, but you can’t pause the game – you have to accumulate enough lives so your game doesn’t end while you’re taking your break.

Have you ever played Q*bert? It’s hard. I mean, I love the game, but I’ve never been any good at it. The only version I was ever any good at was the game watch version I had, and I’m sure that was more due to the limitations of the hardware than any skill I had. I know there’s patterns that a person can memorize for a lot of these classic games, but I’ve never actually done that. I have a hard enough time remembering things I need to, frankly.

I had a girlfriend once who memorized the pattern for beating the pyramid peg game that Cracker Barrel has at the table, and I guess that was fine that had a system, but it seemed a weird thing to focus on – it just wasn’t something I ascribed much importance to. If, despite my warnings, you read the comments on that article, you’ll see some people who feel the same way about this guy’s game of Q*bert. “Waste of time,” “loser,” “what did this accomplish?”, that kind of thing. This kind of thinking is the worst. The worst. Just because something isn’t important to you doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  This is one of the tenets here at zwolanerd, really  – I don’t list “best ever!!!!”s, I list “my favorites.” I liked the Sega Genesis better than the Super Nintendo, but most people I’ve met are the exact opposite. Does a person’s preference make something the best ever? No, it makes something the best ever for that person.  Responding with what amounts to “You like that thing? It gave you enjoyment?  Ugh, it sucks. You suck!” is one of the most ridiculous things humanity has ever come up with. It was around a long time before the Internet, of course, but the Internet has made that behavior about 76,000% worse. There are some “bravo for this guy!” comments on that article as well, but they rarely get the amount of likes and upvotes the scathingly negative ones do.

How is breaking this record any different than any other record a person can get?  Someone who can do the most somersaults in an hour might be gaining some physical benefit from that, sure, but that won’t help her much when she’s 80, and neither will this Q*bert record. Breaking records isn’t about the record, I don’t think. It’s more about striving towards a goal, working at something. Fact is, I’m way more impressed by someone who breaks a record playing Q*bert or Donkey Kong (except Billy Mitchell, because nertz to that guy) than by someone chainsawing as many trees in a day as he can. Why? Because I’ve played Q*bert and Donkey Kong. I know what those guys were up against because the setting is familiar. The only context I share with World’s Longest Fingernails Guy is that I have fingernails, but if I don’t cut mine every week and a half, they drive me absolutely nuts. I’d be less impacted by a guy who played Halo this long for the same reason – Halo isn’t one of “my” games.

So I guess my point is this: good for this guy.  He’ll always be able to say for the rest of his life “I held the world record for playing Q*bert.” Are there better goals? Sure, but the point is that there was a goal. That article says this was his fifth attempt at breaking the record. Who even knew about those other attempts? Maybe a buddy or two. I don’t know anything about this guy other than this recordbreaking round of Q*bert, but that’s enough for me to know. Good on him, and I hope some day I find my own Q*bert to conquer.


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