Friends, I apologize about the lateness of this article but I’m afraid that the bug I’ve caught has forced me to sleep most of the day away. I’m feeling a little bit better so I felt I should share with you this vintage clip from an April episode of PM Magazine – one that focuses on the World Record attempt by a then 14-year-old Mark Ermatinger, who decided to step up and challenge Atari’s Asteroids – by trying to top 17 million points in a single playthrough. Interestingly enough, Mark scheduled this World Record attempt for Asteroids on the eve of his birthday – seeing in his 15th year on the Earth by waging electronic warfare against the continuous onslaught of vector graphic asteroids and enemy UFOs. I want to also point out that there is a moment where Mark was gifted a shirt by the arcade he was playing at during the attempt – it totally made me sit up straighter in my seat. The arcade that Mark Ermatinger goes for the Asteroids World Record attempt is a Games People Play – this was the first arcade in my neck of the woods and I believe I talked about it a bit on the Crazy Climber episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast!
Now this Asteroids World Record attempt is almost eight minutes in length – not all that long I realize but there is just so much to love about it. While you are going to see only a bit of the arcade itself there are some things that might catch your eye – like the 1979 Bally Star Trek pinball table or SEGA’s Monaco GP and even a Galaxian. Obviously the real treat is watching how Mark played Asteroids – using a cushion and sitting on his knees through some of the attempt, not sure why he didn’t opt for a stool. It is also pretty amazing to see his Friends and Family cheering the young man on – I’ll go ahead and spoil a little of the video – the attempt required Ermatinger to play Asteroids for 26.5 hours… and he only took one break. That is rather incredible to say the least – even more so at Mark’s age. So without further ado, grab your favorite snack and beverage and let us travel back to 1981 and watch Mark Ermatinger’s Asteroids World Record attempt!
By the way, I believe that the YouTube Channel belongs to Mark Ermatinger himself – so a huge thanks to him for being awesome enough to upload this. In addition if you too are a fan of classic arcade games – I did just recently cover Asteroids on the Diary podcast if you want to give it a listen.