Robotron 2084 Gauntlet- Race to 100 Million!

The Ultimate Robotron Enduro!

Gauntlet of the Robotrons!

Robotron 100 Million Point Challenge!

Man verses The Robotrons!

Call it whatever you wish, but the bottom line is simple:  Can you outwit the enemy dynamics of The Robotrons?!?!?  Read the original Robotron Screenplay HERE!

Hundreds or even thousands, have climbed Mt. Everest, but how many have broken 100 Million on Robotron   – Canadian Rich B., Apr 2013 

In the end, I play to have fun, competing is fun but any score I achieve is for me.  When it’s not fun anymore, what’s the point in doing it then? – Texan David G., Jan 2014

Leaderboard Summary

Robo-Enduro Achievements

  • Race to 100 million – Ken House
  • Roll, Roll, Roll your lives – Mike Kasper, David Gomez
  • Bug Run, pass 50m on original romset– David Gomez
  • Winning! Earned Gauntlet T-shirt – Ken House, David Gomez, Gregg Hansen, Dane Tullock
  • 24 hours non-stop – David Gomez
  • Eric Ginner Tribute: 112 million – David Gomez
  • Neil Armstrong in Tie-Die (first to 100mil on 2015 romset)- David Gomez
  • Double Dippin (100 million finisher twice)- Ken House, David Gomez

You are invited to the party!

  • Consider this a formal invitation for any Robotron player to survive a 100 million point game on 1 credit.
  • The gauntlet has been laid in the dirt.  Can you survive the challenge?
  • Not interested in a 24 hour game of Robotron?  Click HERE for lots of other fun high score challenges.

Spirit of a good challenge

The marathon history of Robotron has been celebrated and cursed, but here at the Guidebook it matters not.  What matters is that the spirit of competition on one of the best video games ever invented, thrives and flourishes.  30 years later, the game of Robotron is garnering as much interest as it did in 1982.  Believe….it…..or….not!  🙂  Click HERE to see what some original Williams Development team members think about Robotron.

What are you up against?

  • To survive 100 million points you are looking at a minimum of 23 hours of continuous gameplay, potentially quite a few hours more!

What tools can I bring with me?

  • If you are one of the lucky few who owns a real Williams Robotron machine, then you are ready to go (if your power supply is up to the challenge)
  • If you are like a majority of us around the planet, MAME is great, too.  Any version of MAME is acceptable as long as you are aware the older versions of MAME Robotron are brutally hard.  I’d suggest using MAME 145 or 148-  Your choice.
  • If you like Jamma boards, then we will even allow JROK or 19-1 boards.
  • Any Robotron romset is fine, Orange/Red/yellow, blue, patched blue roms, or the new Tie-Die roms.  Be aware that original 1982 romsets have a serious defect that was overlooked during development, where shooting an enforcer in the corner can reset your game, ending your quest for glory.
  • Your complete game play MUST be recorded for public viewing.  Example, TwitchTV or Youtube.
  • Start your game on difficulty 5 or higher, 3 men to start, and 25k per bonus man.
  • The “trapping of a brain” is considered “unsporting” thus is not allowed for this contest.
  • Using a “pause button” to pause the gameplay is considered “unsporting” thus is not allowed for this contest.

Trust is it’s own reward

  • We are using a level of trust here, so it is expected that no other players assist on the controls while you are taking a break.
  • Your game will consist of 1 credit game play.  If your game malfunctions or resets, the game is considered over.  No cumulative scores!
  • See a marathon game end at 20 million due to the original enforcer bug- Youtube

What accolades will I receive?

  • Not much other than adulation and HUGE respect from other fans and players around the world.
  • At 50 million or greater you will receive Dan Tearle’s hi-resolution artwork for your own use such as banners, screensavers, or more apparel prints.
  • This challenge is affiliated with NO scoreboard websites, or sanctioning bodies like Guinness.
  • You will be written into the history of the Guidebook as a definitive grand champion of a 1 credit marathon game of Robotron
  • If 3 or more players achieve 100 million, a special trading card for each person will be created.
  • UPDATE- Achieved- Ken House was the first to beat the 100 million gauntlet and won a custom MAME control panel.
  • UPDATE- Achieved- Ken and David won a free Robotron Gauntlet T-shirt signed by Larry and Eugene.  The hardest you’ll ever work for the shirt on your back! (artwork hand-designed by UK’s Dan Tearle)I permanently disabled myself playing a video game and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” – Jeff Harrist 4/22/2013

Who is my competition?

  • Some of the best Robotron players the world has ever seen...I never said this would be easy.
  • confirmed- Paul Spriggs- UK extreme player, has played games approaching 30 million and prefers difficulty 10
  • confirmed- Ken House- Pacific Northwest power house
  • confirmed- Jeff Harrist- Alaskan master, currently offering a 2012 game to 33.3 million whereupon he stopped due to shoulder issues
  • confirmed- MikeSP- East Coast master with a proven competition track record.
  • confirmed- Mike Kasper- Another master from the Pacific NW stable of Kencade.
  • confirmed- Dane Tullock- East Coast Williams aficionado.  Watch a 2012 game to 20 million.
  • confirmed- David Gomez- Texas virtuoso of the dual sticks
  • confirmed- Jacob Golson, son of Ms. Pac-man developer and youngest robo-competitor. watch out, old dudes!
  • <your name here> Potentially several other well qualified persons, as they step forward….or not
  • Brush up on your Robotron marathon skills- HERE

Some technical details

  • Player lives roll back to zero, after 255
  • The score rolls back to zero, after 9,999,975.  The new “Tie-Die” romset score rolls back to zero, after 99,999,975.
  • When taking breaks the player can expect to lose 6-8 men per minute. Plan accordingly.
  • There are 40 hard-coded waves in Robotron, then it cycles from 21-40 over and over until wave 255.  Wave 256 is simply the original wave 1
  • A marathon game can be expected to average anywhere from 25k to 35k per wave overall.
  • It was discovered there is an unusual bonanza that happens at 99,975,000! Click HERE

The fine print

  • If you read this far, you must really be interested in the topic
  • I’ll remind you that this has no affiliation to past scoreboards
  • Some of the scores you will find online are “questionable” or have caveats, and some might be legitimate 1-credit scores but there is no way to prove their authenticity (it was 1982! Before cheap video cameras and storage space…)
  • Some of the caveats that happened in the past may have involved a helper running the controls while the original player took a break, player being allowed to add scores upon game restarts, and lastly some scores were unfortunate fabrications by teens getting caught up in the glory of getting their name in a magazine (this was before mass communication on the internet, printed media was King!)  Difficulty level wasn’t tracked for Robotron scores in 1982, therefore some marathons probably occurred on blue roms using default difficulty 3, unbeknownst to the player or arcade operator.
  • Read more about Eric Ginner’s 1982 marathon attempt HERE which was submitted to Walter Day’s International Scoreboard, that at the time allowed cumulative scoring (adding restarted games to the total score).  The full Twin Galaxies Ruleset regarding the “restart” rule for marathons can be found HERE in Section 4
  • The history on romsets:  Orange/Red/Yellowish (whatever sun-faded marker streaks your roms have) were the original set.  They were replaced by blue which fixed an issue with the scrolling W marquee, and possibly cocktail mode.  In 1987 the Vid Kidz were made aware of a serious defect called the shot-in-the-corner bug.  The original code was re-written by Larry DeMar in 1987 and published via Digital Eclipse’s Williams release for PC.  Sean Riddle made the fixed code available to the MAME crowd.  For sake of discussion, this contest considers the patched blue romset as completely legitimate code written by the Vid Kidz. 
  • The goal of our contest is to see who can be the last man/woman/mutant/zombie/alien/etc. standing in a battle against the ingenius “enemy dynamics” developed by Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar.  I have my bets placed on the Robotrons winning….

When does the contest end:

  • UPDATE- Achieved- The free MAME controller prize goes to the first person submitting a complete recording of a 100 million game. (game validity subject to authentication by a panel of peers, obviously)
  • The scoring competition is an open ended gauntlet: It will continue until no one else wishes to step up and play a ridiculously long game of Robotron.
  • Come get some!  The Games begin now!  …….fireworks fizzling in distance……

Competitor log book- Historical Archive

  • Updates will be provided on this page, as players send updates on their progress or attempts.
  • Since this is all just-for-fun hopefully all competitors will give us the grueling play-by-play of their efforts.
  • On March 25, 2013 Dane “The People’s Champion of Robotron” Tullock sent an email to the MAGfest planners and the Guidebook, inquiring about marathoning at Magfest 2014.
  • On March 26th, 2013, the Guidebook sends email to the top robotron players trying to find some more marathoners.
  • In early April, Eric Ginner was interviewed by Mark Alpiger from CAGDC and it was discovered Eric took multiple restarted games to get to 112 million for his 1982 Twin Galaxies record.  100 million is suggested as the potential goal for an online contest.
  • On April 17th, Ken H emailed the Guidebook indicating his top score is 40 million on unpatched Roms and felt trying for 100 million was best on patched Roms.
  • On April 18th, 2013 the Guidebook created the Race to 100 Million page with finalized details about the competition and prizes.
  • Ken House’s TwitchTV link:  http://www.twitch.tv/kencade
  • Jeff Harrist’s TwitchTV link: http://www.twitch.tv/jcharrist
  • Discussion thread:  Aurcade
  • Discussion thread: KLOV
  • Discussion thread: BYOAC
  • Denmark Discussion thread: killscreen.dk
  • Discussion thread: CAG
  • 4/22/13- Mike Kasper clocks men at 44.6 million after 10hr 45min.  Played at Kencade. Was trying for a $150 bounty for first player to reach 45 million, issued by a CAG member, unrelated to the Guidebook. 
  • 4/23/13- Ken House reached 50,005,000 in 11.5hrs.  Scoring pace for early part of game around 32k per wave, average 1 man lost per wave, with “40 men lost” breaks at every wave “rollover.”
  • 5/4-5/7/13- Lon McDonald attempted a 100 million game on Joust and fell short within thousands of points of 100 million.
  • Early Winter 2013- Twin Galaxies is closed shortly after the Kong Off III event in Denver, Colorado in late November.  Jace Hall makes himself known to Walter Day, and the Guidebook engages conversation to get a live stream going for Dane/Magfest.  At this point the public is unaware the 1337loungelive.com is actually the rebirth of Twin Galaxies!
  • Winter 2013- Dane Tullock putting in multiple 10 million plus practice sessions up to 8hrs
  • 12/26/13- David Gomez hit 39 million at The Game Preserve, in Houston, TX. Playing on unpatched roms with the reset bug for extra unpredictability.
  • David- I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone for your
    support and especially to The Game Preserve arcade for bending over backwards
    for me (Rusty, Ken, Joe C. & Joe R.).  Yeah, this was absolutely a learning
    experience for me. This time I’m going to take fewer breaks and if I roll the
    men this time, so be it. That in itself is an accomplishment I think!  My
    final score was 39,122,175, which is now a new personal best, so it wasn’t all
  • 12/27/13- David rolled the lives at 28 million, gained 1 back but lost 2 ending the quest
  • David- If anybody takes anything from my playing, it should be on how NOT to play Robotron… apparently I gave two examples on how to bring your lives down to zero, the easy way AND the hard way! HA! HA!
  • Notification from Jan 3rd, 2014 MAGfest event-   Come out and support Master Robotron players- Dane Tullock, Ken House, and Jacob Golsonat the 2014 Magfest, January 2-5, 2014!   More about the Robotron 100 million Gauntlet Challenge .   With special thanks to the Jace Hall team- the event will be streamed live starting Friday morning.  Tune in at www.1337LoungeLive.com
  • 1/6/14 follow-up from Ken H-
  • Full replay- http://www.twitch.tv/kencade3/c/3516525
  • As most of you know, this weekend I set the new bar for Robtron: 2084 on a single credit with a score of 100,009,700. Game play time was 23h 12m.
  • Thanks to Jace Hall and the 1337lounge. It was pretty cool having the extra viewers and the commentary to keep people interested. Good show!
    2. I felt pretty good after the game. I was pretty tired and generally sore but my joints and …muscles came thru without any lasting damage. My hands were sore at about 4 hours in but that went away and since I was wearing fingerless gloves with lightly padded palms I did not get any blisters or skin issues.
  • I do plan to take this to the next level. There is talk of making (an official Vid Kidz) rom revision with an extra life counter. With that I could build up to a point to be able to take real scheduled long breaks, to rest and potentially nap. With historical precedent set for multi credit games when lives are rolled or resets happen I personally do not see any reason knowing how many lives you have earned delegitimizes the effort. It is at least more credible than adding credits and keeping going, guessing what the score was when it reset and continuing.
  • Thanks everyone who joined in, Thanks to my friends who came over to keep me going thru the night (Mike Kasper, Ross, Matt Hall, Sam McNear and my girlfriend Tina Womack) Thanks to Jace Hall and the commentators, you made it a lot more enjoyable for the viewers. Thanks to Dane Tulluck for getting me started, playing as long and as well as he did kept me on the right track!
  • Ken had over 200 thousand views of his live stream, watched the world over. Youtube clip of hitting 100 million. Youtube clip of end game showing settings (Difficulty 5, 25 K bonus, 3 man start)
  • TIP- The innovative technique Ken used to manage his lives was to take calculated breaks every 256 waves, then at 50 million he killed off all men back to 6 and started over.  Effectively breaking the marathon into 2 separate gauntlets, allowing success without rolling lives.
  • Mike Kasper follow-up- when asked about trying another run at the 100 million- never again  LOL  that game killed me i still have nightmares !
  • Dane T. feedback after MAGfest- OK Folks, now that I have had a chance to decompress from all the excitement of MAGFest, the Twitch Streaming with Jace Hall at 1337Live and watching Ken House break 100 million points playing Robotron for almost 24 hours, I want to say thank you to the entire community (with a special nod to Mark H and his work with the Robotron Guidebook) for making this past weekend a reality. Without WPU I would not have felt I had the support to pull the whole MAGFest event together. What many of you may not know is that I have been trying to get a live Robotron marathoning event together for over four years now. The success of the feed and the reaction from the organizers of MAGFest have given me renewed energy in my
    quest to keep Robotron competition relevant and active. We are already talking with the folks at MAGFest and Jace Hall about doing this again next year.
  • ACAM article- http://www.classicarcademuseum.org/ACAM-Article-MAGfest-2014.htm
  • Dane’s video: Here is the video from my 33 million point game at MAGFest
    Part I – http://youtu.be/9Z_rKMjs8tk
    Part II – http://youtu.be/w_SmWQ3XzNE
    Part III – http://youtu.be/mnQ5iAIw60A
    Part IV – http://youtu.be/UHDzCxebLi0
    Part V – http://youtu.be/viisbAzCPLo
    Part VI – http://youtu.be/v0p9fKGsxFA
    Part VII – http://youtu.be/f93gihpJs5E
    Official Final Score =33,341475
  • Details of the Extra Life Bonanza discovered by Ken House’s 100million run- HERE
  • Jan 18 2014, David played at Game Preserve. Enforcer bug ended game at 60,398,425.  He averaged about 4.6m per hour and at times was averaging 32.3k per wave (RQ).  His technique to manage lives was to work on gaining 10 to 15 lives then kill them.  Break times were around a minute at a time.
  • Follow-up from David, Jan 19th 2014- I learned a lot from my two previous marathon attempts, I learned not to take breaks until you need them (I took way too many and let too many men go at a time), and I found out that Robotron is a numbers game in regards to reserves.  I had NEVER rolled the extra lives counter before so I was blown away that I could actually DO it, unfortunately it happened at the wrong time!  LOL  Armed with two previous experiences, I knew I needed a new strategy, so this time I strived to get my reserves to a comfortable number and then play “give and take”, I would lose ten or fifteen at a time, kill them off and work to regain them back.  I wouldn’t take a break until I gained back exactly what I lost.  Yes, I had a pit crew with me helping me keep track of my men (my wife Nanette, Bryan K. and Joe R. YOU GUYS ROCK!), there was no way I could have played as relaxed as I did without their watchful eyes!
  • The joystick model used by Ken House- How to Modify the X-Arcade Stick
  • 8-31-14 David Gomez completes a 29 hour enduro, streamed on TwitchTV from the Game Preserve in Houston, TX)  reaching 125,010,125 whereupon he quit the game.  At 24 hours he took an approximately 15 minute break, losing approx. 150 lives until it the onscreen life count showed loss.  Fighting back he survived a couple of near death experiences at zero lives in reserve.  Bravo.  During the Goldilocks zone, he hit 17 things so didn’t start earning lives until 100,425,000  (17 x 25k) He earned a 2012 30th anniversary t-shirt signed by both VidKidz.
  • News coverage for David’s effort- http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/woodlands/
  • By James Ridgway, Jr. Houston Community Newspapers

    With a 5-o’clock shadow, heavy from neglect, along with a pair of tired eyes and sore wrists, David Gomez emerged victorious against friend and foe — Robotron 2084.

    Gomez, 44, an information technology professional by trade, spent last weekend at The Game Preserve, an arcade near Oak Ridge North, in a man-versus-machine marathon which lasted 28 hours, 53 minutes and 51 seconds.

    Furthermore, Gomez did it all with one credit.

    The initial challenge, known as the “Robotron 2084 Gauntlet — Race to 100 Million,” according to the Robotron 2084 Guidebook online, is an “enduro” challenge requiring players to race to 100 million points within a 24-hour window using only one credit.

    Gomez is one of only a handful of vintage gaming enthusiasts in the world to achieve the feat and now sits at the top of Robotron 2084 Guidebook’s online leaderboard. It was his fourth attempt since December 2013.

    At the 24-hour mark, he nabbed a total of 106,315,450 points. However, with a second wind at his back, Gomez decided to hoof it another five hours, netting a grand total of 125,010,125 points – 25 million more than the next ranked contender, Ken House.

    “It was never about bragging rights. It was more so — I wonder how far I can go,” Gomez said. “I wanted to satisfy my own curiosity. I wanted to see what would give out first, me or the machine.”

    While, in the end, the machine may have outlasted the man, Gomez was quite content with his final results. His wife, Nanette, and two children, Nathan, 13, and Lyssa, 11, who were all present during David’s vector-blasting marathon, are also very proud.

    “It is more than just a video game,” Nanette said. “This is a personal accomplishment. It shows me that he can do whatever he sets out to do, no matter what it is, and he is setting the right example for our kids — that there are no boundaries.”

    Rusty Key, one of the owners of The Game Preserve, called David a “Robotron master.”

    “It is quite an accomplishment. We are very proud of what David did,” Key said. “The whole 24 hours, he was just a machine, so focused on what he was trying to do. But he also had his backup team with his family. It very much was a family effort, and that is really one of the things we are all about at The Game Preserve.”

    The Game Preserve is located at 25700 Interstate 45 N., Unit 116.

    Robotron Gauntlet TGL 2015


TwinGalaxiesLive streamed live from January 30-31, 2015 for a grueling 24 hour / 100 million point gauntlet, testing the endurance and fortitude of some of the top Robotron: 2084 players on the planet.  Appearances in the 24 hour enduro were:

  • South Carolina’s Dane Tullock – 54 million
  • Oregon’s Ken House – 100 million
  • Texan David Gomez – 150 million
  • Illinoisan Gregg Hansen – 51 million
  • Illinoisan Darrin Cormier – 3 hour exhibition using laptop and keyboard to marathon.

This event premiered the 2015 Tie-Die romset, featuring the first formal “Vid Kidz” updates to the Robotron romset since 1987!  Full details on the romset HERE  and at WilliamsPlayersUnite

A write-up of the event was posted at TG HERE

Missed the show?  Watch playback at the following TwitchTV links.  Commentary spread throughout from Larry DeMar, Eugene Jarvis, Mark Hoff, Gary Whittingham, Rick Gehlert, TGL crew.


Historical and Miscellaneous notes

  • Mike Kasper- First player in documented history of Robotron marathon gameplay, dating back to 1982, to roll lives back to zero during a live competition.
  • Ken House- At the time was the highest “confirmed” score of Robotron gameplay ever recorded.  Over 200,000 people watched his game live from Twitch.TV!  Earning the first Robotron Gauntlet Survivor T-shirt.
  • David Gomez- Currently, highest “confirmed” score of Robotron gameplay ever recorded on the new tie-die romset (180,022,000) and the 1982 romset with the reset bug (101,250,000).  Earning the second Robotron Gauntlet Survivor T-shirt.
  • Clocking- European phrase for rolling a game counter back to 0.
  • First rollover-  When you make it back to wave 1 after the first 255 waves
  • Pulling a Kasper- Playing too efficiently, with insufficient breaks which causes the men to get clocked.
  • Goldilocks zone, the area between 99,975,000 and 100million where everything you hit credits you with an extra life, paid back after 100mill score rollover.
  • Ken House- had well over 200 men during the Jan 2015 contest, got caught in the goldilocks zone and rolled lives back to 11, with next bonus at 2million. ended game shortly after 100mill due to lives lost.

If you have questions or need help finding patched roms or latest mame updates, email at  m5h5m at hotmail dot com. 

  • If you wish to speak to any of the competitors, most competitors can be found on Facebook.

Source code review in 1987 with Larry DeMar and Christian Gingras

The Vid Kidz were, and are, avid game players!

In the “spirit of friendship” here is the legendary Walter Day’s endorsement for the 100 million point gauntlet:

IT IS WONDERFUL. THANKS FOR SHARING THIS WITH ME….Thanks for doing this…..wd  – Apr 2013

Click HERE to return to the main Robotron game play page


Jan 2014 sneak-peek- LED has a VidKidz update in store for the Robotron romset. score counts up to 100million plus a life counter. Woo Hoo!


David Gomez- Aug 2014 from newspaper clipping

Daveathon-Gomez-125m-poster DavidGomez-125m-pic1 DavidGomez-125m-pic2 DavidGomez-125m-pic3

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