World Record Background: The official world record 720 Degrees arcade game score is 527,100 performed by Ron Perelman on June 17th, 1987, at Camelot Arcade in Anaheim, CA. Full details are here on the Twin Galaxies 720 arcade score page. (EDIT: DEC13 - Twin Galaxies has been closed)
This score was recorded 6 months after the game was first released in December 1986, and has been since unchallenged for over 2 decades. The world record is listed as being verified by Twin Galaxies on June 11th, 2004, some 17 years after it was performed. The second place score was just half of the world record for several years until my taped submission of 410,660 for second place.
My 720 History: I have owned a 720 since 2001, and have been an avid player (off and on of course) since release back in the 80s. Since 2002 Iíve maintained this web site related to all things 720, and have made contact with many players over the years, with many of whom Iíve shared gameplay strategy, stories and theories on the world record. In March 2008, I renewed my interest in 720 and began playing very regularly, at least 1-2 hours per night (and I have the blisters and calluses to prove it!!!). During this time, my entire goal has been maximizing score, determining how the world record might have been possible, and having my own high score recorded. Iíve also reached out to other active players via the KLOV Forums, sharing strategies in an effort to determine our highest possible score. For a time, I video taped several of my full games, then put together a 720 Full Game Analysis, showing my points gained during each portion of the game, between and during the parks. I then carefully analyzed my mistakes, and calculated the points Iíd missed out on. After reviewing my findings with other high level players, I came up with a mistake free, best possible game (again, based on my current strategies, perfectly executed) of just under 500K.
My Theory on the World Record: I assumed that in a contest setting, even the very best player in the world would be hard pressed to complete a mistake free game, especially only 6 months after the game's initial release. So, I continued to wonder how such an unbeatable score could have been achieved. I outlined some of my early theories/possibilities in this post, in which a few others voiced their opinions on the score: KLOV 720 High Score Opinion Post.
My main theories from that post are copied here:
1. Software Version Differences - I believe early versions of the game, or even prototypes, may have allowed for higher scoring, and may have been practiced on and used in early scoring attempts. I know that early versions of the game software allowed some strange things to happen. One example is that even before the first park, the sidewalk-crack cylinders would launch the skater high enough for 4 spins (or 1,000 points) - see a quick example here: 720 Superjump . My current version of the game never launches the skater this high, no mater what equipment Iíve purchased.
2. Glitches - "Invisible Mode" / "No Bees" Glitch - My 720 is a relatively early model. I know because my serial number is low and some components (joystick shaft for instance) are early versions. On my 720, Iíve been able to do a trick where, without ever breaking the rules described on the Twin Galaxies 720 page, I am able to avoid the bees indefinitely and score unlimited points.** Iíve done this recently and scored over 1 million pointsÖagain technically not violating any stated TG rules from the time the world record was recorded. You can check a detailed description and pictures/video (with me describing what happened) at the link I listed above.
** Until May 2008, when I created the page linked above, only jumping the fence to avoid the bees was described as being against the rules. Only after creating this page and posting about it on the KLOV forums, was this trick banned.
3. Tricks - Iíve currently worked into my routine a relatively common trick where, after bouncing off the left wall, I grind backwards along the coping of the ramp, racking up enough points to reach bronze metal, all before the timer begins. Iím sure this is not an intended scoring technique, but it is also not listed as being banned for the record. I can only speculate that other similar techniques exist. This trick is shown in my 720 Opening Video.
In the end, Iíve dismissed all of these theories as just that: improvable possibilities. Based on the postings of Greg Gibson (friend to Ron Perelman and fellow 720 player), and others in the Twin Galaxies 720 Post, I believe that none of my conspiracy theories listed above contributed to the high score, and that Ron Perelman did indeed perform a 527,100 point game. I also believe I can explain the difference between the world record (low 500K), and current high level playersí best scores (mid 400Kís), the best scores of players who responded in the Twin Galaxies 720 Posting (high 400Kís), and the Theoretical 720 Game I created (high 400Kís):
The difference between current player's games and the world record game is the "Street Timer" setting.
The entire past challenge to the 720 score was based on the number of continues used. In the end, it was determined that two was standard, and players claiming to have been at the scoring run confirmed that two continues were regularly used at the time. I believe this to be accurate. Nowhere in the score challenge discussion in the Twin Galaxies 720 Post, is the street timer mentioned. While continues used can easily be seen by watching gameplay, the street timer is only verifiable by opening the game and reviewing dip switch settings. Via gameplay, one would need a stopwatch to measure the additional 5 seconds per Skate City timer allowed by setting the street timer to "easy". While an extra 5 seconds does not seem like much, over the course of a complete game this equates to an additional 1 minute and 20 seconds of time in Skate City. This additional time very easily explains the gap between current high-level playersí scores or the theoretical game, and the world record.
I am certain that the world record was recorded using ďeasyĒ street timer, and that this was not verified or recorded during the world record performance. When the score was verified for Twin Galaxies 17 years later, the factory default settings for street timer were just assumed. I believe this illustrates an inherent problem with Twin Galaxies today:
Over the long run of Twin Galaxiesí reporting of xrecord scores, they have changed from recording the scores of a small community of players who attended events, to a tightly controlled worldwide scoring submission database. I believe the problem to be the matching of scores from vintage era competitions, scores that were viewed in arcades during the 80s, passed along through the years via word of mouth or written records and added to the score database decades later, against scores where extremely stringent video verification of the gameplay, controls, settings, game-boards, versions and environment are tightly controlled.
This problem as related to the 720 high score is that the settings for current high scores submissions are compared against the assumed settings that were used to record the score. Settings that were ďbacked into" via the recollection of people present, and experience of other gamers. The vintage 720 world record score has been given the benefit of an assumed level of difficulty, while currently submitted scores must be vigorously confirmed. I believe that if a setting was not properly documented, either the easiest setting must be assumed, or the score should not be listed.
My Suggestion: I do not want to take anything away from the world record holder. Based on the posts by Greg Gibson, I firmly believe that Ron Perelman is an exceptional 720 player, and deserving of recognition. That said, I do believe some change needs to be made to the way scores are listed and compared on Twin Galaxies.
At the very least old, unverified scores should be moved to a ďvintage eraĒ score list, which is not compared with the new stringently, verified and documented score list. The suggestion for taking all of the non-modern verifications and putting them in their own category, and opening up a new category for modern verification has been made many times including here in a post related to the Spy Hunter world record.
A less desirable correction would be to adjust the 720 street timer setting ďeasy,Ē since just assuming the vintage records were made with anything more difficult, without verification and documentation, does not ensure a level playing field. Or, the settings should remain the same, factory defaults, as they are currently listed, but only scores where these settings have been verified should be allowed to remain on the list. Ultimately, I believe that if a setting was not properly documented, either the easiest setting must be assumed, or the score should not be listed.
Disclaimer: While Iíve spent 20+ years playing 720, I definitely donít consider myself all knowing. There are a few aspects of the game I have yet to uncover (exact mechanism for blue bonus flags, the full workings of diminishing returns on like jumps, etc) It may very well be possible to reach and exceed 527K with the factory default street timer settings. Based on my current research, and the timing/circumstances of the world record performance, I donít believe that was the case back in 1987. Iíve written about this many times in emails to my site visitors, on the KLOV forums, and even with the referee who reviewed my submission. Iíve been encouraged to officially challenge the Twin Galaxies' high score many times, but have never done so. The reason is simple: As a contender, I know that a challenge to the score initially comes off as the complaint of a player who just canít measure up, and is looking for some excuse as to why. In the end, Iíve accepted the fact that current players are measured against a more difficult set of standards for documentation/authentication, and in the case of 720, gameplay settings.
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