People have been posting technical videos about Atari Asteroids on YouTube lately.
Here are (1) an arcade Asteroids Y-vector test point hooked up to an oscilloscope, (2) a short clip of an Asteroids machine with a vector glitch, and (3) a page-turn review of an Atari Asteroids operations manual and schematic.
Please help AtariAsteroids.net with arcade recon!
We’ve only reviewed a handful of locations where you can play Asteroids, so if you’ve got first-hand information about arcades, barcades, nighclubcades, museums, arcade speakeasies, amusement parks, or anywhere with a public Asteroids or Asteroids Deluxe arcade machine, please let us know!
Check out other reviews in the Arcade Recon category of this site. We’re looking for general information about the venue and its atmosphere, a specific review of the Asteroids machine, and pictures.
Take a look at our Asteroids Location Map to find an Asteroids location near you. And if you have any corrections to the map, please let us know.
Here’s the goal: having an Asteroids arcade machine at home, with authentic electronics and true vector display, but which isn’t the size of a refrigerator. Jürgen Müller in Hamburg, Germany, has built just that.
His half-scale Asteroids cabinet uses an original Asteroids game PCB and 9″ vector monitor from a broken Vectrex, housed in a custom-built cabinet. He also built a custom XY driver circuit to bring the Vectrex display up to the drawing speed required by Asteroids.
The project is well-documented on Müller’s website: http://www.e-basteln.de/asteroids/asteroids_intro.html
Last month, Bruce Glick staged a public Atari Asteroids marathon at Mama’s on 39 in Huntington Beach, CA, also streaming live on Twitch. His original goal was to play for 48 hours on one quarter, as he trains for an eventual world record attempt (it would take longer than that for the record). But somewhere in the wee hours of Sunday morning, after playing for 34.5 hours straight, Bruce lost his last ship.
His score was 18,656,380, which is 12th on the all-time high score list (pending Twin Galaxies approval).
While that score is nothing to sneer at, Glick attributes his early demise to “1.Lack of sleep before I started (I worked on the 9th) 2. Right button stated to stick. 3. Hands cramped/mental block.” Still, he doesn’t consider it a complete failure: his whole team learned a lot from the weekend, and he increased his PTTR (point to time ratio) by 12%.
In addition, Glick received words of encouragement from a number of classic gaming greats via Skype and phone, including Australian Donkey Kong champion Allen Staal, Spy Hunter world champion Paul Dean, and the current Asteroids champion, John McAllister.
Glick is already planning his next 48-hour attempt for later this spring.
Watch video of Glick’s game here: http://www.twitch.tv/bruceasteroids/videos
And our interview with Glick as he prepared for the session: http://www.atariasteroids.net/archives/1052
[UPDATE] We’ve gotten word that the on-site Internet connection may be spotty, but check back though out the weekend. Search for Bruce Glick Asteroids on Twitch. We’ll post a direct link once we know it.
[UPDATE 2] The direct link is http://twitch.tv/bruceasteroids.
Glick is working up to a world-record attempt. He’s got his eye on John McAllister’s 2010 high score of 41,838,740, although beating it won’t be an easy feat. Before that, Asteroids was the longest-standing unbeaten arcade game record, set in 1982 by Scott Safran.
But Glick isn’t just doing this for personal glory. He’s doing it for the kids. We spoke with him to find out more.
Atari Asteroids: How did you first come up with the idea for this marathon session?
Bruce Glick: I guess it was just a natural progression. I needed to do something in a live setting and I want the experience before I make the attempt at the record.
AA: Why is a live setting important?
BG: It’s the way Scott Safran did it back in the day, and that’s how it should be done now. Too many people are doing these exclusively on the internet. Takes the coolness out of it. Plus there’s way more pressure.
AA: Last year, you completed a 36-hour-straight session where you scored 18,000,000. What was that like?
BG: It was awesome! Never attempted anything like this before. All my neighbors and some friends came over at different intervals to watch and cheer me on.
AA: How have you been preparing for this upcoming 48-hour session?
BG: My actual game play is sporadic due to my heavy work load. When I do play it’s more for an hour or two at a time, working on technique and reflex. My real training has come in the form of exercise for physical health. I felt this was extremely important for me. I was definitely overweight and not in the best shape. I am proud to say since October 30th I’ve lost 40 lbs and exercise regularly.
AA: I hear you’ve gotten involved with the McKenna Claire Foundation for this event.
BG: The McKenna Claire Foundation raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. I figured if I’m going to do something that’s going to attract attention and people will be watching, then I might as well make it worth-while. They have made a huge impact in our town, and it’s for a great cause.
I met with Dave and Kristine Wetzel [the foundation’s Co-Founders and McKenna’s parents], and they were nice enough to give my wife and me a jacket with the MCF logo on it. I will be wearing it in the morning during my runs. It is very inspiring to me.
AA: It sounds like kids’ health is very important to you.
BG: Yes, it’s the future of our country. “The Biggest Loser” has really touched on the subject this season. The fact that video games are being blamed for a large portion of the epidemic doesn’t sit well with me. I know it defiantly plays a part in it.
I want to show kids that doing something like a 48-hour marathon actually takes physical training and good health to achieve. Kids shouldn’t spend countless hours gaming. Even when I was a kid and we had our Atari 2600 and our local arcade we still rode bikes, skateboards, built forts. We did stuff.
AA: You have your own Asteroids machine. What other arcade games do you own?
BG: I currently have two Asteroids machines, Gauntlet 2, Galaxian, Missile Command, and a MAME system (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator). It has pretty much every game you can think of plus all the ones you forgot about.
AA: What do you look for in an Asteroids machine, for an event like this?
BG: I just play it and if she’s smooth it’s good. These games are so old they’re either in good condition or they’re not. One thing to consider is the PCB basically the heart of the game. If the PCB looks good no cracks in the solder, no blistering of capacitors or burn spots any where then it’s probably good. It’s really just luck to get one that works well.
The machine that I will be doing my 48-hour on is the biggest piece of crap ever. Seriously it’s embarrassing how messed up it is. The reason I play it is because its internals are nice. It’s basically the Millennium Falcon.
AA: So what can people expect on February 8-10? If they’re in the area, can they stop by Mama’s?
BG: Yes, yes! It’s open to the public — it’s a live forum. I will have all my games down there for people to play so anybody, even McAllister, could roll up and go head to head with me. Mama’s has great service, food, and atmosphere. They have a nice bar and big screens for watching your favorite sporting event. Anybody is welcome to walk up and talk to me. I may not be able to make good eye contact but I will definitely be able to answer any questions anybody has or just talk about whatever.
I don’t know if McAllister has seen your site or knows anything about me, but it sure would be cool if he was in the area that weekend. I would love to meet that guy. He is a legend in the vintage video game world, and if anybody doesn’t know, the current world record holder.
AA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
BG: Just for the record I’m not looking for personal notoriety. I just want to raise money for the foundation and play my game. It’s really not about me — it’s about everyone else involved. Without all the great people that have been helping me I wouldn’t be answering these questions or doing the 48-hour at Mama’s. Generating interest in vintage games is always cool though.
His latest achievement was a live-webcast 36-hour straight session, where he scored 18,000,000. Glick is now gearing up for a 48-hour session, which will be hosted by local restaurant and bar, MAMA’s on 39, as well as being transmitted live online.
Glick owns two Asteroids machines. He’s been fine-tuning his championship machine, which has a high score save kit allowing roll-over at 10,000,000 instead of 100,000 (and obviously saving the high scores), and lightning-fast board.
The current Asteroids world record of 41,838,740 was set by John McAllister in April, 2010. Until then, Scott Safran’s 1982 record of 41,336,440 was the longest-standing video game world record.
Stay tuned to AtariAsteroids.net for all your information about Glick’s plans.
The time and place are official! Put February 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2013 on your calendar. Start time will be 7:00 pm on Friday night, and will go for 48 hours until 7:00 pm on Sunday night. You will be able to view it live via web cast on twitchTV.com.
More details coming soon…
This news comes one year after Evan Spiliotopoulos succeeded Matt Lopez as scribe. Will Butterworth be able to finally boil the game’s complex story down to a screen-worthy script?
Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing.
Read the recent Variety article here.
[Update] The AV Club has a good write-up here. Harold Pinter was Butterworth’s mentor. If only di Bonaventura decided to make an art film…
It’s the 2012 U.S. presidential race, and one topic is glaringly absent from the public discourse: where do the candidates stand on asteroids?
Let’s look at the incumbent’s record. Two years ago, at the “Conference on the American Space Program for the 21st Century” at Kennedy Space Center, President Obama said that by 2025, “We’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history.”
Watch here (it’s cued up to the good part):
Perhaps the most important goal set by any U.S. president in recent history.
Romney on space: “A strong and successful NASA does not require more funding, it needs clearer priorities. I will ensure that NASA has practical and sustainable missions.”
Salzburg says, “If I worked for NASA, I’d be worried.”
Meanwhile, Obama re-states his goals for a manned mission to an asteroid: “This exciting work will lead us to important new discoveries and take us to destinations we would have never visited.”
So to conclude, President Obama appears stronger on asteroids than Romney; however, both candidates trail woefully behind Scotland for inspired plans about asteroids — specifically, blowing them up. Read about that here.