The Armchair Historian’s Guide score on the game’s attract mode, 1978’s Space Invaders by Taito’s Tomohiro Nishikado upped the ante by placing the current high score right above the action on the active game screen. While it was still not known who had set the on screen record, the record was now a clear threshold that delineated the level of play required by some gamer or perhaps the machine itself to be the best. Three years after Sea Wolf in late 1979, Exidy’s Star Fire arcade game would change everything. Designed by David Rolfe and Ted Michon the game featured the ﬁrst high score table that allowed players to not only record achievement but to claim their achievement by using their own initials, coded callsigns or gamer tags3 so that future arcade explorers could not only see that someone had been there before and how far they had travelled but for the ﬁrst time they could attach an identity to the achievement. Like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey or the meeting at Devil’s Tower in Close Encounters it was an awe-inspiring message to every gamer in an arcade: “We Are Not Alone” By the 1980s not only were points based systems for competitive play ubiquitous but the idea of keeping score including nonvolatile storage of scores was essential to the arcade experience. Trailblazing pioneers
Published on Jul 14, 2010
The Armchair Historian’s Guide is your pocket manifesto for observing, chronicling and even making the digital record books of achievement i...