Erik Ackerlund – Reblogged from our friend Patrick Scott Patterson regarding Losthammer’s own Robin Mihara.
Classic video gaming accomplishments and records have been all across the mainstream media for the past few years.
From the battle for the top spot in Donkey Kong to new champs on games like Frogger or Pac-Man, films such as The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade, and the upcoming Doctor Kong have helped the champions of the 1980s classics gain much mainstream attention in the modern day media.
Champions from the 1990s, however, are not yet the media darlings that many of the classic 1980s gamers have been. Outside of the 1990 Nintendo World Championships and a few later Nintendo contests, very little history from the last decade of last century has been passed along to historians of the gaming industry today.
Matt: Hi! I’m a big fan of competitive video games, I’ve been spending some time trying to dig up info about the 1990 championships but everything seems to link to a few sources that have conflicting details. I’m hoping your crew of experts can clear up some things, or point me in the right direction.
Erik: “Will do our best”
Matt : Specifically, I’m confused about this:
“There was no official competition round to crown a single winner. However, after the competition ended there was an informal face-off between the three winners, with Thor Aackerlund taking first place, Jeff Hansen taking second, and Robert Whiteman finishing third.”
Matt: Jeff Hansen went on as America’s representative to Japan to win the World Championship title again in Tokyo, Japan, and again in Las Vegas at a rematch with the Japanese champion, Yuichi Suyama.”
Do you happen to know where I could find information about the Tokyo competition? Everything I’ve been able to dig up points back to that same passage in Wikipedia, which doesn’t cite a source so I’m not even confident the Japan competition existed. If it did, do you have any idea why Jeff Hansen (11 at the time from what I can tell) went to represent?
Thor: “No idea on why Nintendo choose Jeff Hansen.”
Erik: “There was very very little in the media when it was happening, I think Nintendo wanted to control it, and keep it close to the belt, we did not even know about it until well after it had taken place, it was not on the scale of the massively publicised 1990 Nintendo World Championships were.”
Matt: Wikipedia also claims the winner won a car and a TV in addition to the savings bond. The savings bond I’ve found other evidence of, but again no source on the car/tv thing and no mentions of it aside from this wiki article that everything seems to copy. People are fond of citing the time Carmack gave away his Ferrari as the first instance of a car being won in video games, which makes me wonder if that is true also.
Thor: “The winners also recieved a 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, this would predate Carmack giving away his Ferarri. They had a GeoMetro convertible in yellow for all of the contestants to ooh and ahh at, just out side the StarTrek Theater at Universal Studios, A bunch of the contestants at one point decided to lift the car off the ground!”
Erik: “If I remember right the savings bond was for $10,000, which had a pretty low cash value, the TV was a Panasonic 42″ it replaced Thor’s 13″ Color TV of the time. There were some other things the winners got, A Mario trophy, and a Panasonic Boombox. ”
Matt: I know these are weird and specific questions, and appreciate any insight you can give. Hope the gaming blog goes well, I love reading about all kinds of game competition and retro gaming.
Thor: “Thanks for your great questions, keep them coming”
Video Cowboy – The various versions of the Nintendo DS have been losing their luster in recent years. The Nintendo DSi XL was the fourth revision of the system.
Nintendo has sold over 132 million units of all versions of the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS is poised to help Nintendo sell millions more.
The Nintendo 3DS is the fifth version of the system. With the advent of the Apple iPod Touch and Apple iPhone the Nintendo DSi lost some of its luster in the eyes of gamers and the public.
I am here to tell you that the Nintendo 3DS will help gamers get their gaming and 3D fix. The 3DS is the coolest and most thought out gaming system created to date.
The problem with the system isn’t that it might make younger gamers puke if they lie down when they are playing it or if you play for too long you will get a headache. Doing almost every activity on the planet will give you those symptoms.
The Nintendo 3DS is revolutionary and it comes with a way to turn the 3D off if you are straining your eyes. The buttons are easy to use and the system is very functional. It allows you to do more than just play games.
The Nintendo 3DS drops on March 26th in the US, It is already “was” on the shelves in Japan.
By Thor Aackerlund – Mark Zuckerberg! What have you done?
by Thor Aackerlund – Patrick Scott Patterson aka. PSP has the details in a new brief spotlight he’s written, this is shaping up to be quite an interesting year in the Kong Wars.
Congrats to Mr. Chien!
by Thor Aackerlund – Patrick Scott Patterson is a powerhouse figure, in gaming and in life, it’s a priviledge to be able to bring you some Q&A with this Titan of Gaming. And do click over and check out his website over at http://www.patrickscottpatterson.com, he updates frequently with news and interesting links.
You’re a very well-known and respected figure in gaming, encompassing both classic and modern games. What was the first video game you remember playing, and what was your first game that had you going back again and again?
It was Pac-Man. September 1981… about 3 weeks before my 6th birthday. I even remember the exact location, which was a laundromat in Garland, TX. That was “my first” and you know what they say about your first. It wasn’t long before I was taken to my first arcade and Pac-Man was joined in my “regulars list” by Galaga, Lock N Chase, Rally-X, Asteroids Deluxe and others. I’m considering taking the video camera down to this location in September as a kind of 30 year gaming anniversary thing. The laundromat is still in business, though the arcade near it has been a bicycle shop since 1985.
How long was it before you realized that you were really talented at the various challenges that different games provided?
By 1982-83 I was visiting a few different locations on a regular basis and began to be known only as “that PSP guy” as my initials began to appear at or near the top of most of the games in the arcade. This, of course, was loooong before Sony named a handheld gaming system that, which is why my gamertag in the modern day is “OriginalPSP” The day it really hit me was when I played a game of Super Pac-Man for an entire afternoon on one quarter at the Putt-Putt Golf and Games in Mesquite, TX and had my score posted up on the little leaderboard they kept above the change machines. That score stood untouched in there up until they got rid of the machine a couple years later, and it’d be the 3rd highest score ever on Twin Galaxies had it been made official back then.
You’ve seen almost the entire history of gaming firsthand from childhood on, what is your favorite era of gaming?
It’s really hard to pick one. The early 80s were my introduction, and in those days everything was so new and big… and the modern-day has some amazing stuff while still including a great deal of heritage. That being said I have to say it’s the 8-bit era. The video game industry had crashed and burned in the mid 1980s and then came roaring back. From the new and exciting concepts found in the NES games to some solid stuff that hit the arcades at that point in time, every day seemed to bring on a new and different challenge and it just seemed “larger than life” at the time. Many of my all-time favorite titles came from this era.
How do you feel about the portayal of gaming in the news media and in popular culture?
Video games SHOULD be respected far more than it is. The industry now outgrosses every other form of entertainment and more people game than watch the NFL, the most popular sport in the country. Yet much of the media and politicians and the such seem to paint gamers as these socially inept basement dwelling teens or whatever. Nevermind the easily discovered stats that show the average age of a gamer in 34 years old, right? Some of the most intelligent, well-read and charismatic people I’ve met in my life are video gamers. A big part of my focus going forward is to do all I can to help the world understand and realize that. It shouldn’t be a shock to the media that a doctor took the Donkey Kong record. It shouldn’t have been a shock to a reporter who covered me that I had a happy wife and two kids. Commercials and news stories about games shouldn’t be showing and speaking about young children when it’s actually their parents who are playing them. The current generation of thirtysomethings and even many fortysomethings are generations that grew up with video games. Just like film and radio and television, it’s almost uncommon to find someone who doesn’t play some sort of video game at least some of the time.
You’ve been a pro wrestler and a very skilled technician amongst many other talents, tell us about those parts of your life and what your next plans are in your adventures.
Wrestling was something else that had caught my attention growing up and from 1998-2008 I lived out my dream. It’s not really a focus of my activities now, though I’ve recently added a short historical section about it on my website for those interested. I’ve repaired arcade games since the mid 1990s, originally as a hobby after I’d started to collect them. In 2005 I began to offer my repair services professionally and have served thousands of home collectors across North Texas. I also provided the machine and on-site technical support for the Donkey Kong machine Steve Wiebe played on G4tv at E3 2009 in Los Angeles. I still offer repair services on a limited basis, but my focus now is writing about gaming and promoting the positive things in the gaming culture to the public on a variety of sites, including my own. I hope to be successful enough on this to phase out my repair services in time… it’s a lot more fun to write about gamer’s stories and news than to clean the rat droppings off of an old power supply and breathe in solder fumes.
You’re also a father to a new generation, do you get to spend time gaming with them?
My oldest son is almost at the exact same age now than I was when I first played Pac-Man. Already he plays them from time to time and has shown some skills on a few of them. He’s got a sharp mind and an incredible attention to detail, especially for his age, and he’ll be good at anything he wants to be, games or otherwise. My youngest isn’t even 2 yet, though he was smacking his hands on the coin door of my Tron machine just before this interview, so he’ll be a player, too.
What was your first car, favorite car, favorite beer, favorite movie, and some of the other things in your life that you are passionate about?
Heh. Is this an interview or a speed dating session? Never owned a car worth bragging about. I’m 6’4” 280lbs and any car comfortable enough for me isn’t exactly worth the price to me. That money can go to so many other things. Favorite beers come from Sam Adams, especially the winter seasonals. I prefer the reddish beers to pale ales and darks, but always find my way back to Sam. Hard to pick just one favorite movie. I tend to do this. When you ask me to pick just one favorite I have a hard time, regardless of if It’s movies, games, songs or whatever. That being said, my movie favs range all over the place. Rocky, Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride, Back to the Future, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Dark Knight, When Harry Met Sally… all over the place. I’m a HUGE NFL football fan, which is usually why I do more gaming during this time of year. In the fall I’m watching games, analyzing stats, and killing people at fantasy football as much as possible. Also a huge fan of actress Drew Barrymore, who may be the only celebrity on earth that I’d actually flip out to meet someday. Her ability to take on challenges and come out stronger from them has always been an inspiration. We’re about the same age and ever since I first saw her in E.T. as a child I’ve followed her career. Much like these classic games, it’s something I grew up and watched the legacy develop over a long period of time.
You’ve got literally mountains of gaming records, what can we expect your considerable skills to conquer next?
I’ve been thinking that over myself. I’m currently finishing my quest to max out prestige levels on Call of Duty: Black Ops cleanly. That means no boosting, modding, cheating, hacking… and no perks like ghost, second chance or flak jacket, and no quitting matches early if things don’t go my way and the like. Way too many people quit matches early to save their stats or openly cheat and/or use the “cheap” perks. I jumped on this game to go through and do it clean, if for no other reason to re-affirm my faith that people can actually do something like that cleanly and fairly. After that I may take on something new or I might go back to an old favorite. I killscreened Donkey Kong for the first time at the end of January and want to go back to it, but it’s time consuming as hell to even think about taking a shot at the full-on record. I’ve considered going back to refresh my old skills on Pac-Man or Galaga, or push up my Lock ‘n’ Chase record or reclaim some of the world records I’ve lost on some NES and SNES games over the past couple years. I’m sure I’ll know by the time I finish my Black Ops run. I’ll announce right here that I plan to do a live streaming broadcast of my 15th Prestige run, and do it in one session.
Thank you immensely for taking the time to talk with us, it’s a honor to hear from you.
Thank you. Anyone who wants to see info, news, links to everything I do, have done, or am about to do… check out my website at www.PatrickScottPatterson.com
And that’s the man, just a helluva nice guy and extremely multitalented. Do visit that site! Oh, and should you come up against him in say .. Madden ..?? This picture will give a hint of what lies in store :
Erik Ackerlund – The article below comes to us from our friend Patrick Scott Patterson. News organizations have a certain love affair with bad news, and with video games it is no different, often various studies are done trying to link video games with aggressive behavior or other negative traits. But there is a flip side, Scott is out there finding the great untold stores of gamers and their personalities. Here Scott delves into how one particular family has utilized video games to help their autistic child become a better communicator.
Patrick Scott Patterson – writes: John Pompa, a video gaming champion with Twin Galaxies and a resident of DuBois, PA, has been taking on a challenge far greater than any video game for several years now.
“My eleven year old son Donovan is diagnosed with Autism,” said Pompa. “He was about two or three years old when the doctors at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh diagnosed him. It’s the most challenging thing for me to communicate with him, because he is pretty much non-verbal.”