Video game records

Yes, this is a baseball blog, but I like to talk about other stuff, especially during the off-season.

That said, there was some recent chatter in the comments section about video games, and it reminded me…I still haven’t showed the new Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records.

A little context for those who are new-ish to this blog: I hold several world records on classic arcade video games, including Arkanoid. Some of you already know about my interest in video games because:

1) I blogged about it in 2005 (here and here).

2) Someone wrote it into my Wikipedia profile (which is in serious need of an update, in case anyone feels like taking that on).

3) I have a couple pics of my Arkanoid machine on my web site (here and here).

More context: If you’ve ever checked out my favorite links, you might remember a site called Twin Galaxies. Back in the early 1980s, there was an actual arcade in Iowa called Twin Galaxies. The owner–a supernice guy named Walter Day–started keeping track of high scores. Turned out he was the first person ever to do this, and because he did such a good job and was so passionate about it, he became THE go-to guy for high scores. Whenever one of the top video game magazines wanted to publish a list of high scores, they’d turn to him. Walter’s arcade eventually went out of business, but he kept documenting high scores and eventually launched the web site. Now he’s bigtime. He’s been featured in two recent documentaries (“The King of Kong” and “Chasing Ghosts“). He’s been working with the Guinness Book of World Records. He has his own book of world records, and this is it:


Walter inscribed my copy on Barry Bonds’ birthday. In case you can’t read it, it says: “To my great friend Zach Hample, may you never live your life on ‘Factory Settings!’ Walter Day Fairfield, Iowa 7/24/07”


Walter apparently loves to spell my name in different ways. He signed it to “Zach” (wrong) and lists me in the book as both “Zack” (correct!) and “Zachary” (also correct but antiquated).

Here’s a further look in the book, starting with the Table of Contents:


Here’s the Acknowledgments section:


And finally, here’s my profile:


NOTE: I didn’t write this profile. Walter did. I merely gave him a couple facts, like the year that the Argosy was founded. Stuff like that. I didn’t choose the words “erudite” and “predatory.” Anyway…

You should definitely buy the book if you’re serious about gaming. You truly won’t believe some of the scores that people have achieved.


  1. Zack

    You commented before you’d read the whole entry?! Hmm. Well, I suppose, that WAS an astute observation.


    When I think about you’ve accomplished the first 30 years, I can only imagine what the next 30 hold. You are an awesome guy. Your next book could be “It’s not about the Baseballs!” ;)


    Very nice Zack. Random question: Who’s face is on your dartboard in the one picture of the girl playing Arkanoid? It looks like George Steinbrenner, but I can’t tell for sure….

  4. Zack

    That’s a good interruption, and I fully support your exuberance.


    The next 30 will hold a *lot* of blushing if you keep that up.


    Thanks. And yes, I must admit it’s Steinbrenner. Sorry, Yankee fans. I know I said I was gonna start being less anti-Yankee…and did you notice? I have. Thus, I hereby declare that I can’t be held responsible for the background in old photographs, even if those photographs were taken in my old bedroom.


    Zack, comments on the Mets trade today? Lastings Milledge for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church? I agree with this one guy on The Mets don’t need a 4th OF (who is supposedly supposed to start in right field) and a light hitting catcher!


    Wow, that was weird. I wasn’t able to log in for a couple of days. Yes I commented before I read the whole entry. I always forget what I was gonna say,so I just commented before I forgot.
    Oh, and there is a new version of Arkanoid. Wikipedia it.

    Y did the Met’s trade Milledge. Save him for Santana! Besides I thought he was “untouchable.”

    Also, my grade goes on a 3-day trip to Washington in April, but it’s 500 bucks, and I used to live there, and had done all the stuff that my grade does, so I get to stay home for the 3- days, and of course the Mets are away those days. Hopefully the Yanks will be home cuz noone shows up in April.


    Hey Zack its Darron I went to Barnes & Noble and met a guy from were i live that used to play baseball with the cardinals but any way while i was there i picked up a copy of watching baseball smarter i have not started reading it yet but should have a new comment in a couple days well bye for now


    i CANT believe they traded milledge for church and schneider. they basically traded a couple of bucks for a pile of garbage. they could have at least got someone for the bullpen or rotation. but no, they get two people that they dont really need and will probably be like ben johnsons and play in the minors forever. such a stupid trade. they could have gotten pitching. i cant get over it


    dear omar.

    please go back to the dominican republic. take church and schneider with you.


    the mets fans

    but srsly, ***!?!?!?!? our biggest chip for 2 mediocre at best players. what is he thinking? and our 3rd catcher this offseason. torrealba. estrada. schneider. not to mention castro or loduca. estrada will go untendered now.

    unless hes planning to throw church into a deal for bedard or haren…but the a’s want gomez, heilman, and mulvey/humber/pelfrey. and bedard may need more…

    right now its reyes, castillo, wright, beltran, delgado, alou, church, schneider….and pedro, ollie, maine, duque(though id rather see him in the pen) and pelf or humber

    i saw a deal that was being put in place…haren and kiko calera(rp) for gomez, mulvey, deolis guerra. id do it, but were stuck with our 5 ofs as beltran, alou, church, endy, anderson.

    we signed brian stokes(rp).

    and my mets fury is over here. for now.

  10. Zack

    I agree with everyone here that it was a stupid trade. But one thing that no one here mentioned which REALLY bothers me is that Church is anti-Semitic. Here, I’ve done the Google search for you:

    I hope Sandy Koufax comes out of retirement and puts a fastball in his ear.


    Cool. I hadn’t heard about the new Arkanoid game…but there’s nothing yet about it on Wikipedia (unless I’m missing something). I remember my class trip to Washington. Ahh, even the bus ride holds special memories.


    Thanks for picking up the book. Hope you like it.


    You nailed it.


    I think Omar and Isiah should get married and move to Nepal.


    Within the next day or two, I’m going to share some big news about “Watching Baseball Smarter.” (No, it’s not being turned into a movie.) Oh…and another thing…my site ( is down right now, and probably will be all night because the company that hosts it is upgrading its server…or something like that.


    Church is Anti-Semetic? My dad said he was on one of those Catholic shows that he watched. I remember he telling me when I saw the Nats in Pittsburgh.

    For Arkanoid, scroll down to te “Series” part, and it says Arkanoid Returns (1997)


    hey zack its darron im in chapter 2 the count pretty good so far the next book that im going to find is your first book could not find it last night bye for now


    I hope this is the only time I’ll cover this, but I’d be very careful about throwing around charges of anti-semitism. At best, it’s journalistic sloppiness on your part because you’re just repeating the interpretation of quotes from another newspaper–and we all know how super accurate news reporters are, don’t we. At worst, it’s it’s the polar opposite of Anti-Semitism and reflects deep-seated Christian hatred on your part such that you’d throw out the anti-Semite smear at the first thing that sounds counter-Jewish to you. I choose to believe that you have good in your heart for all mankind–except for perhaps Gustavo Chacin (will discuss voodoo in another thread).

    Seriously, I don’t know all the facts and neither do you, but I do know this–I was born Jewish and have converted to Catholicism. I’ve personally felt the sting of anti-semitic remarks and know full well that despite my conversion, in Hitler’s Germany my blood meant I probably would have been destined for the gas chamber anyway. I’ve read the Old Testament and understand 3000 years of oppression and 2000 since the birth of Jesus.

    Now we can argue about the various theological strains of Christianity or how some people may use religion to belittle or hate others, but from what I saw, Ryan Church’s comments are best construed as ones of sadness towards the Jewish people because of his genuine concern that they would not be able to join him in heavenly paradise. And given my understanding that the existence of the afterlife is debatable within Judaism itself–expressing concern for eternal souls of others is hardly what I’d call hateful behavior as implied by your remarks. Indeed, anyone who accepts Jesus as the Son of God might be deemed an anti-Semite under your loose definition because they have blasphemed the one true God Judaism holds out to be true.

    However, if Church is a Christian in the truest sense of the Word–and I have seen nothing to believe otherwise, hatred towards others is probably the farthest

    thing from his mind and a heartfelt desire to bring the joy of Christ to others is all that he wants. This is nothing more than an act of pure love for his fellow human beings–and the trick for him is to learn to back off a bit when others are not receptive to the gift he is offering.

    Zack, I will acknowledge that I’ll bet you saw some of the more aggressive forms of excessive evangelical Christianity in your college days in North Carolina and that may make you more reactionary on this, but I would encourage you to listen with your heart.

    By the way, I do not believe Church is Catholic. For more on this from a balanced observer, see the following.

  14. Zack

    Well, yeah, I’d still say he is. Arkanoid Returns? From 1997? That’s not exactly a “new version.” It’s a crappy game, from what I’ve heard. I never got to play it.


    Glad you’re enjoying it.


    Good points. And points taken. I don’t want to be a sloppy journalist, that’s for sure, and I respect your experience in both religions. That gives you a perspective that I can’t argue with, but the fact is…or rather, my OPINION is…that when someone (in this case Church) believes that a major portion of the earth’s population (in the case the ****) is going to **** based on its beliefs…well, that’s a really frightening thing, especially when that someone is a public figure who can spread that belief and stir up hatred and violence among the radicals. Church is certainly not “pro” ***, and therefore I can only say that he’s “anti” ***, or “anti-Semitic.” He doesn’t need to go around killing **** to be anti-Semitic. At least that’s what I would argue. Some people DO think death is a gift. Does that make it okay for them to then go around offering it to people? This whole issue is murky. I really do see your point, but I’ve experienced anti-Semitism firsthand, not to mention racism and sexism and homophobia and more. It’s disgusting and scary and hurtful, and I can’t accept any justification for these attitudes.

    Anyway, I think it was a stupid trade by Minaya.


    Boddleheimer: Well said.

    I’ll be at the Colesium tomorrow. All kid get in free. UGHHH!!! More kids. That *****!!! Weeknight game are supposed to be empty. That’s what makes them fun! I’ll complain in depth later.



    I too was really bummed out and somewhat offended by your “anti-semite” remark about Ryan Church. I’m a Southern Baptist. Do you hate me? I don’t believe what you do. I’d say I’m more in line with Ryan Church’s beliefs. I’m not a perfect person or Christian, but I let people believe what they want and I believe what I want. In the United States people have the freedom to believe and worship any way they want. They also have the freedom to say anything they want. So what if Ryan Church doesn’t believe what you and your fellow **** on here believe? I don’t like Muslims all that much for a lot of reasons and I am willing to bet the majority of you **** on here don’t much like them either. Are we all “Anti-Muslims”, like Chuch is “Anti-Semite”? Am I such a bad person for not liking Muslims? So what if someone doesn’t like **** or their beliefs? So what if he says something to that effect? He has the right to his Christian beliefs. Don’t be so quick to label someone. You can believe what you want, say what you want and worship whoever you want. I don’t care. There is one thing though. It is YOUR blog and you can say whatever you want on here because it is yorus. That does mitigate my being offended. I choose to read your blog, so if there is something on here I don’t like……I can give my opinion like the above, but in the end it is your blog. Just realize there are other religions who don’t think that Judaism is the only way to heaven. It’s not like Ryan Church will be a suicide bomber at Shea. It was a little over the top Zack. I’m sorry if you don’t like what I’ve written. I still like you. I really do. Baseball and snagging make for a beautiful common ground. We’ll always have that.



    Well hopefully the Twinkies can get Jacoby and some other Red Soxs for Johan. The Twins need to trade him before his contract runs out, because that will be two of our best players gone for nothing (also Tori Hunter if anyone’s wondering). But Liriano is coming back this season, so it’s almost like we’re not losing someone.

  18. Zack





    Well, obviously, there are many ways to interpret Church’s comments. You see nothing wrong with them. I do. I’m not religious at all. I have no problem with people who are. My main beef with religion is that it divides people. At least we’re all having a civil discussion about it here, but there are other people who who would kill each other for far less. (Teddy Bear, anyone?) So I’m really truly sorry if I offended you, Leigh, or anyone else on here. Points taken. I’ll try to keep this blog more focused on baseball and leave religion out of it.


    Yeah, but you really don’t know how well Liriano is going to pitch. He might be lights out, or he might struggle to regain his magic. He’s so young that it’s not like the magic was all that well established in the first place.


    I’m going to post a big entry later today about my book. I promise.


    By Teddy Bear, do you mean how that woman got fired cuz she let her class in like Sudan name a Teddy Bear Muhammed?


    Leigh, I’m guessing you hit the nail on the head. Well Zack??? His book is flying off the shelves on Amazon! I checked today, and it’s the 8th most popular baseball book on there!

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