Robotron Players

80sArcadeShot

Unidentified player, do you know this guy?

The game of Robotron would not have been successful without the enthusiastic spirit of the people who enjoyed playing it.

  • If you enjoy the game of Robotron, you are invited to be included in this project.
  • Please, provide a brief answer to the following questions, how you would like your name referenced, and email m5h5m@hotmail.com
  • Thank you in advance for your participation!
  • Are you a master level player?  Defined as playing the game for many years; capable of reaching 10 million, exceeding 600k on tournament settings, meeting an RQ of 31k (score divided by wave number, 100 waves or more), surpassing wave 40 on difficulty 10.  Extreme- master level play on difficulty setting 10
  • If you have any new gameplay tips to share,  please forward them by email and we’ll add to the instructionals.

Questions-

  1. First experience that made you want to put a quarter in a game?
  2. First experience that made you aware of the game Robotron?
  3. Favorite memory or experience playing Robotron?
  4. Optional- Most notable game you played? (ie any achievement you are proud of)

Player “ROBO-Bios”-

Eugene Jarvis- VidKidz, Robotron Developer

  • Watch interview HERE
  • My top Robotron score is in the high 900ks at difficulty setting 10.  Still looking for 1 million (Oct 2012)
  • Playing doubles with Gary McTaggart at 2012 NW Pinball show in Seattle- Facebook

Larry DeMar- VidKidz, Robotron Developer

  • Watch him generate secret screen HERE
  • My high on Robotron is 1,000,000.  The 1,000,000 was a huge goal of mine back when the game was new (level 5).  I worked my way up to it and pretty much stopped playing once I got there. (Oct 2012)

Christian Gingras- Found Shot-In-Corner Bug in 1987

  • Read his story HERE including photos at Williams Electronics.

Ken Graham (Yellowdog on KLOV)- 80s Williams Developer

  • My first experience putting a quarter into a game was a pinball machine in the store at a campground I northernMinnesota. It was 2Queens or 2Jacks or something like that. An old EM pinball. At the time it was the most amazing thing in the world.
  • The first time I can recall seeing a Robotron was in the lunchroom at Williams. They had 3 or 4 Williams games and several competitor’s games for “research purposes” only. 😉
  • My favorite memory was watching Dave R. (BFD on the default high score tables) get mad because he only scored 900,000 on a game and put his fist through the bezel glass.
  • The most notable Robotron game I have had was recently getting to 3.5 Million on a new Robotron I just picked up. Then I realized that the CMOS RAM was bad and it started me with 10 men and gave me new men every 5,000. Unfortunately, I will have to fix that, but it was a great ego booster for a while.
  • Editor note- if you have broken Williams boards and need a repairman, checkout Yellowdog.  Top notch member of the gaming community. Highly recommended.

Walter Day- Twin Galaxies arcade

  • First game experience- I was living in Houston, working on a Who’s who of the petroleum Industry, when my partner announced that he was tired of reading about oil Executives and wanted to go out and play Space Invaders. this was in June of 1980. He took me to an arcade c alled Malibu Gran prix and I became hooked on video games. My love affair with Space invaders soon encompassed Pac-Man, Centipede and Make Trax, too. And, i spent a lot of hours playing Robotoron, but only reached about 1.3 million points.  I simply didnt have high enough energy level to be able to marathon Robotron.
  • First Robotron experience-  Robotron was added to the (Twin Galaxies) line-up around July, 1982, I think. I was one of many people who became addicted to playing it.
  • Favorite Robotron memory- When i first met Eugene Jarvis, I told him that I held him personally responsible for all the nights I had to stay awake witnessing Robotorn marathons. (He laughed).
  • Among games of the Golden Era, it may have been Robotron that generated the most high-score rivalries of any game of that era. The high-score exchanged hands about four times in one weekend sometime in 1982.

Pat O’Malley- Star Worlds arcade

  • As a little kid, we use to go to a place called Old Chicago and they had an arcade. I liked to play pinball and skeeball. I remember seeing a Pong machine and thinking, “what is that?” I grabbed a stool and looked into the screen and begged my Mom for a quarter, and then another, and another.
  • In the summer of 1982, I was staying with my Grandma inHillside,New Jersey. I went to an arcade called Mona’s with my uncle and saw Robotron. The sounds and screen’s movement caught my eye as I watched my uncle and others play the game.
  • Back in the later 80’s, I had a Robotron machine placed in a small Mom and Pop pizza place. One day I got a service call to come in and clear the coin slots because they were jammed up. The machine had made so many quarters that the coin box and the tubes leading down to it were filled up and not one more quarter could fit into the game. That made the pizza place owners and me very happy. I later found out from his wife that he put a fair amount of those quarters in himself.
  • Being pretty much a “classic” arcade machine player, I have enjoyed many accomplishments. This past year, adding a Dance Dance Revolution to our game line up brought on something totally different for me. After many hours of awkward playing, I finally got a song, “Typical Tropical,” with all perfects. Many players do not consider DDR a classic video game, but as the game reaches it’s 14th year, it is quickly becoming a classic game for that generation of players.
  • Playing some max difficulty Robotron- Youtube

John McAllister from Pacific NW- (Extreme Master level player)

  • First experience at games- I was visiting my mom in the U-District ofSeattle. I was wondering the streets and walked into an arcade for the 1st time. All the sounds, lights, noises, and people were overwhelming. I didn’t have any money at the time but just went from game to game and watched.  I knew at that time that I wanted to play these games.
  • First experience at Robotron- I had been playing Defender and watching alot of the game.  Williams was a great game maker and when Robotron came out I wanted to play that too. It was fast, furious and the sounds were great.  Hanging out with friends of mine we started to play the game push our scores up.
  • Favorite memory- What I have to choose just one favorite time. Really don’t have one anyways. I just remember wanting to be able to roll the score and then after that happened I wanted to see how many men I had left to see if I was getting better. Think the best back then was somewhere around 150 men left when I rolled the score.
  • Most notable game played-Well that would be the first time I got a million on TGTS play. I was just practicing when I had an awesome game, my hands were shaking and I was telling myself that I was going to get a million and not have it filmed. I may never get to a million again, my chance of a million game had just passed and I wasn’t even filming 🙁
  • What John in action HERE

Abdner Ashman from NYC- (Extreme Master level player)

  • Grew up around the game in local arcades
  • Enjoys the game because it’s all about reacting really fast
  • Held Twin Galaxies tournament settings world record from Dec 2005 through Dec 2009
  • With help from Darren H., will attempt to regain world record in future

Chris Calzetoni, Calz on KLOV-  (Master level player)

  • First game experience-  The local mall opened an Aladdin’s Castle in the early 80s and located it right at the main entrance. First time I walked in and saw this the sights and sounds were something that I never seen or heard before. I wandered in, dropped a quarter in a game of PacMan when it freed up, and thought it was the coolest thing.
  • First Robotron experience-  We were fortunate to have several arcades in the area back in the early 80s and one particular place happened to be a restaurant with an extra arcade room attached that was right next to our school. One day a Robotron cabinet appeared there and I was very impressed by the intensity and play of the game right away. The game seemed to be way ahead of it’s time. We all thought it was the coolest thing to have your name in the 20 character high score, so there were a number of us that started focusing on this. There was nothing more annoying than coming in the next day or after a weekend and seeing your score replaced by someone else. For some reason I had a knack for this game and after playing it for a while it seemed to come naturally.
  • Favorite memory-  I have a few favorite memories of this game. The best was probably the MAME world record, mostly because I wasn’t setting out to set the record this night, mostly just testing out the TG settings for the first time. Once I passed the current WR score, I was worried about the game resetting and was not sure if I should continue it or not. I walked away for a few and played a lot less aggressive until the game ended.
  • Another good memory is back in the day we would start games before school, rack up a bunch of extra men then turn the game over to others to play while we headed to class. I’d come back a class or 2 later only to find the game depleted and have to build up the extra men again. It was kind of cool having other kids waiting for you to come back to “save the day”. Seems weird this was now over 25 years ago :-).
  • Why do you still have a desire to play robotron- Simply the best game of all time. I actually did not play the game at all for around 15 years until I rediscovered it on MAME. Even then I did not take it seriously until I finally built a MAME cabinet a few years a good (which rests comfortably in my family room). The game to me never gets old… there is always a way for you to out do yourself and other than a few basic strategies the game never really plays the same. The interest and popularity of the game today after all these years is a testament to this. I recently acquired an old Robotron cabinet and spent a lot of time restoring it to it’s original form… kind of felt like I was giving something back to the game by doing this. My plan is to eventually get some accomplishments on this platform.
  • Holds MAME marathon world record
  • Holds 2nd place in MAME tournament settings
  • Watch Calz in action HERE

Marc Fournier – “(+_+)” on BYOC (Extreme Master level player)

  • First game experience-  Playing pinball in the local poolroom for the first time and being asked by the
    poolroom owner’s son if I wanted to buy his free game off of him. I was so excited
    I said sure, gave him the quarter (I think it may have been 10 cents) and then asked
    him where does the free game come out of. I naively thought a game prize
    came out of the machine. That was the beginning.
  • First Robotron experience-  Was in Clearwater, Florida playing a marathon Joust game, when this guy (Brian Binder… I think) asked if I could teach him the ropes and in return he’d teach me how to play Robotron. I remember the distaste I experienced when my Robotron game lasted about 10 seconds (if that) and took my hard earned quarter.  Didn’t touch it again for about a year until my local pool room got a Robotron machine. Still hated it, learned to like it and then started to realize that this was the best video game ever created.  Been playing it ever since.
  • Favorite memory-  Rolling the machine on difficulty 5 play one hand each. I move and he fired. I used to enjoy bringing him into the twilight zone. He coined it “In the middle, in the middle of danger”. We had loads of laughs. I wonder what  ever happened to Andy.
  • Most notable game-  I have had so many notable Robotron games. The exhilaration you feel when you do something so crazy and end up coming out alive. It is almost like magic.  The arcade owner didn’t appreciate the magic and would sometimes stamp away after watching us play to the back of the arcade, power off the machines, bump up the difficulty
    and of course credit us and walk away smirking. Without realizing it, he helped us become better players.
  • —550,000 on my first guy and ending up with 1,417,xxx points. Difficulty 7 or 8 (think it was 8 though) and 12 men
    to start with no extra men. It was the monthly contest that I ended up winning. On level 8, one bad tank wave could
    chew up 1/3 of your men.
  • —Rolling the machine on difficulty 10/30,000 per free man starting with 3 men. I remember this being very challenging and mentally fatiguing. I’d be wiped out after one of these sessions.
  • I can honestly say that I have had so much fun playing this game and even though I still play it today, I miss the comradery, laughs and competition that we used to have playing at the local arcade with all the other hardcore
    Robotron guys.
  • Watch his extreme “9 wave special” trick (difficulty 10!)- video HERE

Mark (1500points on KLOV)-

  • First game played was Stunt Cycle at the the local Skating rink
  • Saw Robotron at Twin Galaxies but never played because I was fixated on Joust
  • I was proud of learning to hit wave 40 on difficulty setting 10. My arms still get shaky when I reach a new goal, too.
  • Watch Mark in action HERE

Gray_Area (BYOAC)-

  • The first game I remember playing was Galaxian, in ’79.
  • Saw Robotron in ’82 at a grocery store. Played it once, I think. It was hard.  But it was one I remembered early when I got into MAME in ’03.
  • My highest score is 6.5 million in older MAME. In 145u8 I have over 1 million.
  • Most notable gameplay- There are a few – Robotron, Gyruss, Xevious, 1943, Zoo Keeper…..

Darren H. from NYC (KLOV)-

  • I’ve never actually played Robotron. I own a Robotron but it is really for Abdner.
  • Robotron game was placed in my college game room near the Asteroids game I regularly played.
  • Most notable gameplay was probably Ms. Pac-man, which I held the record on for 12 years. I’m not sure if I’m that      proud of any of my achievements, because I know I can do much better on any game I’ve already mastered.

Paul Spriggs from UK, Spriggsy on CAG-  (Extreme Master level player)

  • I have been a Defender/Stargate/Robotron fanatic now for over 30 years and still play them regularly. I play Robotron with an ascii arcade stick and use 4 buttons for fire rather than a second joystick for fire. Weird but I’ve been doing this now for over 15 years and have been playing “Eugene’s babies” with this kind of stick longer than I played them back in the arcades.
  • Watch Spriggsy in action on difficulty 8 HERE
  • Watch Spriggsy roll the score at 10 million on difficulty 10 HERE

Bryan, opt2not on KLOV, BYOAC (Master level player)

  • I first encountered Robotron at a local arcade/billiards at a young age.
  • The first time wanted to play was when I was barely in my teens. My dad would bring me to the local arcade and there was a Robotron cabinet that seemed to be played by only a few dedicated people, but they always drew a crowd. They made it look so easy, but when I deposited my first quarter and tried the game out, I found out quickly that the game involves a lot of skill to play. I was instantly hooked. “Robotron giveth and taketh away”.
  • One of my favourite memories of Robotron was many years later when I got older, I worked for a company that had a cabinet in their rec room. It was my lunch break, and my plan was to have a round at the game before eating my lunch, but I ended up playing the whole lunch hour! Co-workers huddled around me, cheering each level I completed, gasping at the near misses, and gaining more and more anxious as I went on. It was exciting to get that feeling like the old glorious days of the arcade.
  • My most notable achievement was the first time my score hit the 1 million mark. I was so happy and had worked at it for a while, finally some justification for spending that much time and effort at it.
  • Artwork- http://the-artcade.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/arcade-art-robotron-study.html

Rich from Canada (Cliff Clavin on KLOV)

  • My first experience with arcade games was when I was about 10 or 11 and walked by an Asteroids machine. The machine, the screen and the sounds all said play me….I did not get a chance that first time but next time I found a machine, I was going to play it this time…..
  • My first experience playing Robotron was in a pool hall near a buddy’s place. My friend had played the machine before so he was much better than me….My competitive juices kicked in and I played and played and played
  • I have many favorite memories of playing Robotron but one of my favorite was simply playing with a group of friends on my own machine in my parents basement. One of my buddies was playing really well and went on to break 10 million…
  • My best game ever was about 6 million points. I was doing really well with a lot of men in reserve and bam, the machine reset. I believe I would have broken 10 million that day but the infamous reset bug (or some other reset issue) prevented me from achieving that goal. To date, that is my best game. Unfortunately I still have some practicing to do before breaking 10 million.

Chris Mansfield from Pacific NW- (Master level player)

  • The first time I wanted to put a quarter in a game had to have been Atari’s Stunt Cycle at my local Pizza Hut somewhere around 1975-76 when I was four years old. My older sister had to help me play it since I could barely reach the controls, so I stood on a chair while we both hit the throttle.
  • I first saw Robotron at my hometown arcade in 1982 when I was ten. I don’t recall playing it, although I’m sure I tried it once or twice. I do remember that it was considered very fast and ridiculously hard and that I only ever saw teenage and adult males playing it.
  • My favorite memory of playing Robotron is of myself and my team members playing on Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings (difficulty 5, 5 lives to start, no bonus lives) for the first “Battleof theArcades” contest in March 2012. I set new personal bests on Robotron TGTS three times that weekend, with scores of 406K, 435K, and 451K. (Previous personal best was set the night before during practice, with a 335K. Before that my best was 266K.) Very happy with that improvement in less than 48 hours.
  • My most notable game of Robotron was actually two separate games. First, while playing on factory default settings I rolled the internal wave counter from 255 back to 1, resetting the game’s difficulty as if starting a new game, and finished with a little over 6 million points. This experience was topped a short time later when I rolled the score counter over at 10 million for the first time. My most notable non-Robotron arcade gaming achievement to date would be the first proven 1 million point game of Wild Western (score freezes at 999,900).

Matt “Lord BBH” Hall, from Pacific NW (Extreme Master level player)

  • First experience at games- I can’t nail down the exact time period I first played an arcade game. I think my earliest arcade memory was of Fire Truck, because the arcade cabinet was shaped like… well, a fire truck, and boy were those things cool when you were only a few years old!
  • First experience at Robotron- Unfortunately I missed the Golden Age of arcade games, as my first arcade experiences would usually consist of my dad taking me to the local arcade for a couple hours most Saturdays, which started around the mid-80’s, when Robotron had lost popularity. I’m pretty sure I played it in an arcade at some point after that, but didn’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until I played it on the PCportofWilliams Arcade Classicsaround 1996 that I became aware of how awesome the game was, even though it was hard to play on a PC without a dual joystick setup.
  • Favorite memory- After getting my @$$ kicked by the PC version (I don’t think I ever broke a million on regular settings), I didn’t encounter an arcade cabinet of it until around 2000 or so. After a couple games I had broken a million, and with a little more practice, found out I was capable of marathoning it… playing the game the way it was intended was so much easier than it was on PC/MAME! Of course, my favorite recent Robotron experience was scoring 875,850 on TG settings (5 lives no extras) during theBattleof theArcadesevent in March 2012. I would love to be the second player to hit the million on those settings!
  • Most notable game played- My proudest achievement is having the highest score in the world on the Neo-Geo game Shock Troopers. Although it’s obviously not quite the same thing, it’s a really cool 8-way direction shooting game that I highly encourage Robotron fans to check out sometime!
  • Watch Matt in action HERE

Darrin Cormier- Star Worlds customer (Extreme Master level player)

  • My friend Mark Krusbe and i were walking home from junior high and stopped at the local convenient store. From there we had to pass by the new local business, imagine an arcade near a school. Not good for my edumication eh?
    I saw someone play Robotron and it mesmerized me. When the old man, probably an NIU student, was done, my journey began.  My first attempt was over 100K. The previous player was now mesmerized by my playing. From there, I know i was able to get over a million, but I don’t know if it was just one or two or more million.
  • My favorite experience playing Robotron was at Star Worlds Arcade in DeKalb, Il. I was playing well and had many spare guys, enough so that I was able to achieve a score of over 10,000,000. Pat was there when I did it, so that made it nice to have him witness it. Now I can’t get over 600K. Hey Pat set the game back to unlimited guys, lol. (Editor note-that 600k he jokes about is 5 man tournament settings!)
  • I have a few achievments i’m proud of. Having the game galaga stop after stage 276 and it reseting to stage 0, score of over 3 million. Playing Asteroids from arcade open til I had to stop due to arcade closing. 3,500,000 on the pinball machine Caveman. And of course my 10,000,000 on my favorite game of all time Robotron.
  • 10 million on Max Difficulty (10)- Youtube part 1 , Youtube part 2
  • Larry DeMar, Aug 2013-  …it is always a thrill to watch someone do anything at that level of proficiency not to mention something that means a lot to me.  A wonderful part of our adventure has been watching people not only develop great tactical skills, but eeking out every nuance to perfect a strategy that goes along with it.  The night I was at Star Worlds, I think you got tired of playing before I got tired of watching.

Ken House, from Pacific NW, athometech on KLOV (Extreme Master level player)

  • I grew up in a small town just west of Portland Oregon. We had a great little arcade called ‘The Electric Works’. I remember walking in there thinking, there has to be a god! We had some great games.. Kick, Mappy, Track and Field, The Donkey Kongs, Space Duel, Gravitar, Dig Dug… But sadly no Robotron. I focused most of my time on Dig Dug and Mappy. We didn’t have a lot of cash but I could stay down there all day on a couple bucks. Good Memories.
  • My first experience with Robotron was at a nickel arcade in Portland Oregon called Wonderland. My buddy John and I would skip school (did I say that???) and take the two hour bus ride to go play. At the time we were both pretty good, having rolled 10 million a couple times. They also had a Nibbler there so I got exposed to two great games in one location.
  • Some of my favorite memories of Robotron are my marathon failures. I have tried a few times over the years, usually in support of other local marathoners like the great Bill Carlton and John McAllister. I would vow to play thru the night or just play along side for support, always secretly hoping for a rug pattern reset! I made it 8 hours once, about 40 million points.. That was a long day! Playing doubles with Abdner Ashman in NJ was pretty fun. King of the hill with John McAllister, Dwayne Richard and some others in Seattle was good times too. John McAllister and I breaking 1m with one person steering and one firing at CAX, ya that makes the list.
  • Most notable games. 834,000 5 man. 40 million Marathon before I finally got it to reset! 4 million and quit on difficulty 10 (that was a workout)!  I had a few good games of Dig Dug once also 😉
  • See Ken in action HERE

Steve, MilitiaMan from KLOV

  • I play at least 3 nights a week, 2-3 games per night (any more and I start sweating profusely).
  • My current high score is 1.5M.
  • Robotron recently replaced Donkey Kong as my favorite game of all time.
  • I have owned the game in both upright and cabaret form. Maybe one day I will complete the trifecta with a Robotron cocktail!

MikeSP – (Master level player)

  • First game experience- This is a case of ‘everyone else is doing it so you should do it, too.’ When I first started meeting up with the regular Funspot crew on weekends, I noticed they were all hooked on Robotron TGTS. I gave it a whirl on those settings and was hooked.
  • First aware of  Robotron- A friend of mine from work and I happened to be playing pool. There was a robotron machine in the pool hall and he said, “DUDE! THIS GAME IS AWESOME!” I played a couple with him and, at the time, I wasn’t impressed. There must’ve been something seriously wrong with me that day.
  • Favorite memory- Definitely when I reached the 721K on TGTS settings. I was shaking!! A second favorite (but dismal) story was reaching wave 25 on TGTS with two guys left and losing BOTH lives trying to collect men against the enforcers. What a lame way to die 🙂
  • Most notable gameplay- (1) Navigating pixel-perfect through a labyrnth of Hulks on Wave 12  (2) My TGTS score. Though, someday, I hope to achieve the million!

Jonathan Koolpe- California Extreme Co-Organizer

  • First arcade experience- Honestly, I don’t specifically remember.  There were so many games to choose from back then, but the game sounds of Robotron, the attract mode, and the game concept all were enough to entice me to give it a try, and I was hooked shortly thereafter.
  • First awareness of Robotron- I remember some friends actually mentioning when the game first appeared that they did not like the graphics and how basic they appeared.  But after I played a few games, I went back to tell them that that didn’t matter one wit as the game itself was fantastic!
  • Favorite memory- For me, it was playing some demonstration games at the CA Extreme Video Game show in 2006 while Mr. Jarvis was explaining the gameplay and development to a very attentive audience (he was a speaker that year).  He signed my machine, too!
  • Achievement you are proud of-  Not a game I played, but rather finally finding an actual upright to take home back around the year 2000.  At the time, Robotrons were going for well over $1000 as the home-buying market had really taken off thanks to the dot comm craze, but I was able to find one for a much better price locally.  It was in great shape and fully working, and the owner originally was going to give it away, but I offered him a fair price and got the game that same day.  I have the upright to this day as it is the aforementioned unit that has since been signed by Mr. Jarvis.

blastAgain (twitter)- Japan’s number 1 Robotron fan!

  • First arcade experience-When I was a small kid, with my parerents I played several games before video era machines in the top floor of the department store( in Japan it is normal top floor is restaurant and arcade), such as shooting alley, punching boxing ball or stomping mouse etc.
  • First ROBOTRON experience- Around 1982 in Shinjyuku Tokyo there was an arcade run by NAMCO and testing new arcade games almost every week. There was an upright ROBOTRON found with my friend and instantly captivated and played a lot! It was unbelievably tense experience with lot of enemies surrounding the player and many many waves of frantic shooting!
  • Favorite memory- I was only about 3million player, (now sub 1million!) but sometimes  the arcade’s operator set the level 10 for fun and found the game changed dramatically! Then was the time many Williams, Atari or other arcade games are test operated and I played a lot of video games on upright normal American condition! (in Japan almost all games are released in cocktail table)
  • Achievements proud of- When I decided to make tiny ROBOTRON machine I was talking in twitter with several new friends playing those ’82 games with XBOX LIVE. One of the friend was so hooked with ROBOTRON that he imported cocktail table ROBOTRON machine. I was really amazed in around 30 years ROBOTRON still fascinating new people!
  • Editor note- Learn more about Hiroshi’s projects by clicking THIS page.

Tim McVey-

  • First game experience- Pinball in the early 70’s at our local roller skating rink.
  • First Robotron experience- The day I first saw it at Twin Galaxies in Ottumwa IA.
  • Favorite Robotron memory- The adrenaline rush the first time I rolled the waves, and put up 9,999,975 for the high score.
  • Most notable game played- Nibbler, scoring 1,000,042,270 in 44 hours and 45 minutes as a 16 year old. History’s first billion point game. First & ONLY player in history to have a day named in his honor for a video game achievement. 1-28-84 Tim McVey Day in Ottumwa Iowa. Watching the record stand for 27 years before being beaten. Taking the record back less than 6 months after losing it, scoring 1,041,767,060 in 40 hours at a 44 year old on 12-25-11 and beating the existing record by 40 million points, and doing it over 9 hours FASTER…
  • Watch Tim in action HERE
  • Editor note- It was Tim who introduced me to Robotron on xbox 360 and provided many of the fundamental gameplay strategies used in building this site.

Rick Carter- Permafrostrick on TG, Iron-Man champion (Master level player)

  • First game experience- My parents were taking us on a summer family vacation.  We were going to Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens in Virginia for 2-3 days.  The hotel had a pac-man and space invaders in the lobby.  I never had seen pac-man before. The only video games, not counting all those early black-n-white driving games, that I was familiar with prior to pac-man was Asteroids and Space invaders.   I popped in a quarter in the pac-man and was fascinated by the game. I played 2-3 more games of it.   I hardly knew how to play but remember scoring around 15-20k getting to the 3rd board on the 2nd game then 4th board on the 3rd game. This is a very vivid memory!  I can remember the whole lobby layout for this hotel.  Their space invaders was a cocktail over in a lounging area.  The pac-man was an upright over by vending machines along a wall.
  • First Robotron experience- One of the local arcades I used to play at often was the Golden Dome arcade in Salisbury, MD.  They had about 30-40 games.  Robotron was one of them.  I even remember the position in the arcade the Robotron was located!!!  I watched others play and it seemed rather intense compared to most games.
  • Favorite Robotron memory- When I finally started playing Robotron, I played it a lot where I could loop the waves and score 10+ million fairly easily at factory settings.  Among the biggest satisfactions was the first time I looped it back to wave 1.  I also got a kick anytime I could clear a higher level brain wave on 1 man!  That does not happen very often!
  • Most notable game-  The most notable game I have played personally is Nibbler….getting 1 billion on my first marathon attempt at Nibbler and the dramatic manner it was obtained is quite a story that I always will treasure.
  • Also my 5-man score of 41 million with 31 million on my 2nd life was in my opinion my greatest accomplishment.  I have not even been able to get close with 5-men what I got on that 1 life that 1 game.
  • Perfect-eat at pac-man on my very first attempt at a perfect game of pac-man on a real arcade machine is high on my list as well. I have not played pac-man since that day!
  • Q*Bert marathons are 3rd on my list.  61 hours, 10 minutes for 28.889 million in the first marathon I had done in 27 years!  We older guys still can play!!!

Todd Rogers- Video game legend

  • First game experience- Well that goes back as far as 1971-72 with computer space & pong after seeing pong and then Datsun 280Zzap in 1976 i was hooked and wanting the crowd to watch me just liked i watched others playing. What an exhilarating feeling that is.
  • First Robotron experience- The flashy sounds and lights and the two joysticks made you wonder what this game was about.  And once seeing how its played you just can’t stay away from it.
  • Favorite Robotron memory- Playing with Morningdove as she controled one joystick “The Player Movement Direction” and I controlled the other “The Player Shooting Direction”, what a twist on playing Robotron when you have to share a skill set of your partner.
  • Most notable game- There are really so many but the first one that comes to mind is Dragster and being able to say that I beat a computer at its own game and holding that record for over 30years.

Jeff Ritterspach (Robomayhem on KLOV)

  • First game experience- At a local Kmart, the first quater I put into a machine was a Death Race 2000. My mother was not impressed, so the next quarter went into an Omega Race, also at the same Kmart.
  • First Robotron experience- It was at Chuck E Cheese. After getting waxed in like 30 seconds playing Defender, numerous times, I sought a different game. Found Robotron and was instantly hooked on the insanity.
  • Favorite Robotron memory- Setting the high score at one of the machines at Cedar Point, year after year after year.
  • Most notable game- I have yet to clear 1 million points, but I have gotten 850,000+  a few times – what a RUSH!

Dane Tullock – (Waterborn on KLOV) – 20ld2play.com

  1. First game experience- Hard to say really. I grew up in the 70’s & 80’s in Florida and going to arcades, particularly the mother of all arcades located in the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World, was just a part of being a kid back then. Like any other kid at that time, I poured every last quarter I could beg, borrow, steal or earn into video games. As a kid, I was not the best player and pretty much sucked at Robotron, Defender, Sinistar and pretty much anything VidKidz made. I just remember all of the Williams games at the time being seriously brutal, but I loved them and kept going back. I started collecting arcade games about four years ago and Robotron was the first of my personal “grails”. Once I got the game in my basement, I was determined to get good at it, and I did pretty quickly.
  2. First Robotron experience – I remember walking into my game room and seeing Robotron lined up next to Defender and trying to figure out the who twin stick thing. It was difficult to wrap your head around how much that control scheme would change video games as we know them. Pure simplicity and pure genious.
  3. Favorite Robotron memory – When I first bought my own Robotron arcade cab and started playing it seriously, I would invite some of my friends over for parties and spend most of the evening in the basement trying to crack the 1,000,000 point mark. When I finally did, I had about six friends around me, giving me crap and trying to break my concentration as I approached the 999,000. My friend recorded the audio on her phone right as the score went over 1 million. I use that audio as my main ring tone on my phone to this day. Having my friends half cheering me on and half heckling me reminded me of what it was like to be in an arcade back in the early 80’s, with a group of people gathered around a single machine, craning to see the “cool kids” set new high scores.
  4. Most notable gameplay- Without a doubt breaking 10 million on Robotron (default settings) was the high point of my gaming life. If you told the 15 year old version of me that I would do that some day, he would not have believed you.
  5. Watch him play Max Difficulty- Youtube and over 1 million Youtube and Sinistar Youtube

Jeff Harrist (JCHarrist online) – Extreme Master Level player

  1. First arcade experience- My family moved to Alaska in 1980 when I was 11 and my parents bought a lodge in a remote area. There was a Pac-Man machine in the restaurant and I got completely hooked on it. By 1982 we had moved to Anchorage and there were arcades everywhere.
  2. First Robotron experience- It was in an arcade called “Superstars” in Anchorage in 1982. The amount of action on the screen was unprecedented at the time and I was immediately drawn in by it. Soon it was in all the arcades and I was spending every free moment practicing. Within a year or so I could play pretty much indefinitely.
  3. Favorite Robotron memory- I was 14 or 15 and I scored 30 million in a Safeway supermarket. I had no intention of playing that long when I dropped the quarter, but I just got into that zone where time seems to stand still and you don’t even have to think about what you are doing. Still my highest score ever.
  4. Notable gameplay-
  5. The first time I broke 10 million on MAME Robotron: I actually stopped just short of the rollover. It was #1 at Twin Galaxies at the time. I believe it’s #3 now.
  6. 26 million game on MAME: My goal was only 15 million. I struggled mightily from about 2.5 to 3.5 million in this game. I was down to 1 or 2 guys left several times and then found the “zone”. Pain in my left shoulder is what eventually ended it.
  7. Pac-Man split-screen on MAME: 3,318,710 done on 3+1 lives on May 7th ,201
  8. Two Donkey Kong Killscreens in 24 hours:  First one on MAME on November 10th, 2012: 864,400.  Second one on Arcade at Kato’s Kave on November 11th, 2012. 889,100
  9. 26.5million marathon (default settings on MAME0.142)- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Nathan Phillips (Facebook)-

  1. First Arcade Experience- Well, I first became aware of this game on the Playstation 2’s Midway Arcade Treasures Vol. 1.  I loved the concept of a “dual joystick” control scheme, and the dual analog controls on the PS2 replicated that very well, so the minute I felt the freedom of movement, I was hooked.  Thanks to a great local place that picked up games like these recently, I can now play on a real arcade cabinet.
  2. First Robotron Experience- I never actually got to play it in the ’80s!  I had only read about it in magazines like Gamepro and heard it was one of the more sadistic experiences in the arcade.  Midway Arcade Treasures also has an entertaining written entry about how Robotron can be compared to reaching some zen-like state through its gameplay, which is an accurate description.  The included interviews with Eugene Jarvis, and the way he describes the flow of gameplay make me laugh every time I watch them to this day, so there is now a lot of info out there that really sets a player up to enjoy what can probably be too tough of an experience for a lot of people out there just wanting to play some game casually. August 2013- “New Robotron high!  1,148,600!!!  The sweat was pouring upon the cab as it was shown no mercy.  PAIN!  In every part of its body!  And FEAR in every part of its mind!”
  3. Favorite Robotron Experience- The obvious answer to this is reaching my first million!  Once I figured out the ebbs and flows of the game, but was still relatively new to it, I was probably hitting just over 100k but still getting massacred, and I was thinking to myself “you know, if you can set a pace, you can probably get over a million on this game.”  Of course, as it turns out, some people can get millions upon millions and play the game forever, but so far this personal milestone has been my favorite experience, feeling for myself this notion of “so THIS is how it’s done…”
  4. Notable Memory- I grew up on Intellivision and then the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, so it used to be stuff like reaching those orange guys with the stun sticks in Tron: Deadly Discs or beating Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!!, but lately my proudest game achievements have been getting a Donkey Kong kill screen and finishing all 3 games in the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy without dying.  I play just about everything from any era, so I’m looking forward to more and more achievements in other games down the road.

Lloyd Marchant – UK

  • First arcade experience- In my case it was a ten pence piece, but it was on a cocktail Space Invaders at my friend’s mum’s hotel when I was about 4 or 5.
  • First Robotron experience-  I didn’t have any experience of it BITD apart from a hazy memory of popping a credit in and dying instantly (I thought the second stick was for player 2, not fire!) at some kind of travelling fair. I really became aware of it when a friend put MAME on his PC back around 2002. I initially played it on a Gamecube pad, so it was a bit of a challenge. I was immediately taken back by how fast and smooth the game was. At first it seemed quite cheap in that dying seemed unfair and down to luck. How wrong I was! I was hooked. I picked up a Jamma cab with the intention of setting it up to put a boardset in, but stumbled across a completely knackered shell and thought I’d have a go at un-JAMMAing it. Several months and lots of time and money later, it was all up and running.
  • I was lucky enough to get a lead on one of the NIB cocktails from the Time Travel Warehouse find a few years back and eventually snagged it. It will be the last game I ever sell as to my mind, nothing comes close to that feeling you get when ‘in the zone’ and are playing beyond your expectations. I’m not sure it’s good for the heart though!
  • Favorite Robotron memory-  My first was when I powered up my restored for the first time and played my first ever game on a proper cab. This is closely followed by my first game on my NIB cocktail. It looks like new! Or wait, it is new!
  • Notable achievements- Hitting 1 M on marathon was my first big hurdle, but I get a buzz each time I get past 400k on TGS.  Cheers!

David Gomez – Houston, Texas (Home arcade is The Game Preserve)

  • I would like to join the Robotron fanatics on the Guidebook in celebrating what is probably the most gruelling, yet fascinating game of the golden age of arcade games!
  • First arcade experience – I vividly remember the sights, sounds and excitement of being surrounded by what was then cutting edge technology.  I can’t remember my very first experience, but I do remember my younger brother and I begging our parents for quarters every time there was a video game within reach!
  • First Robotron experience – Besides Defender, Robotron was the game that separated the boys from the men.  I remember being blown away by players that could get past the tank waves, which I thought was impossible to do!  The game fascinated me because it was so fast paced and never boring because there were no patterns to memorize, you could only rely on skill and determination.
  • Favorite Robotron memory- Achieving my first 1,000,000 point game on the MAME version (which to me is MUCH harder), and then later on the actual arcade game at Flynn’s Arcade at Disney Land, which was memorable because the cabinet rocked back and forth due to a missing leg leveler!
  • Most notable game played – Scoring 33,500,000 at The Game Preserve arcade in Houston Texas, which is my highest score to date as of 12-22-13.
  • David can be found on “Pleasuredome Tracker,” profile name smoke4659
  • Top MAME v1.96 scores submitted to Twin Galaxies- Marathon settings, 4,923,850 on 9-14-12- Tournament settings 436,725 on 4-9-12

Rick Gehlert (fixbonz) Sandia Park, New Mexico

  • First time i ever dropped a quarter in a game was a pinball machine at a fishing pier on the outer banks of North Carolina in the mid 70’s, I was about 10.  I was stoked enough on that for my Dad to build me a Heathkit pinball machine a couple years later.  The only video game in the house was Pong.
  • The first time i saw Robotron was watching my High School bud Jeff Derflinger play it back home in Maryland.  I was so intimidated by the speed of play that he couldn’t talk me into dropping a quarter in the machine.  I wouldn’t play Defender for the same reason.  Ultimately i got into Smash TV, and Robotron machines were few and far between.  I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1992 for 5 years and saw one for sale at Time Out amusements for 600 bucks so i bought it and immediately became a level 10/3lives/25k free-man fanatic.
  • My best memories of Robotron are the times my roommates and I used to hammer out late night level 10 sessions in
    Columbus.  It was always a sweat fest.  i hit 3m a couple times but never had the stamina to push any further.
  • When I discovered 5-man Tournament Settings (TS) and learned about John McAllister’s absolutely monumental 1.2m performance, I began playing TS style, but my best effort was breaking 600K a couple times.  I wanted to be in the Twin Galaxies Top 10, but that style of play never thrilled me.  I am thrilled about the 765,125 VKE score I  threw down today (Feb 2014) though, so I guess I’m going to start chasing the ”ghost pepper” as Ken House says…looking forward to sending in some video clips (i’ll try to watch my mouth) and sharing tricks.

Stephen “STV” Riesenberger Creative Director, Game Designer NanoTech EntertainmentGaming Labs

  • First arcade experience: At the local General Store, 7-11, and Bowling Alley, then later at Le Mans Arcade all in Wichita, Kansas, playing and scoring on Arcade machines was a way for me to demonstrate and fine-tune my skill playing video games.
  • First Robotron experience:  Can’t remember the very first experience, but an Atari co-worker had a *perfect* no-nonsense custom cabinet. Heavy (so no manhandling) with big Atari 8-way joysticks.
  • Favorite experience:  Practicing and video recording performances, aiming to be the first to break 1,000,000 on Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings, documenting my progress with spreadsheets, delivering a presentation (complete with charts, graphs, and videos) to a college public speaking class.
  • Most notable game played: Robotron: 2084. I’m very proud to be the *first* top-10 score by video verification. My score of 624,000 is holding at #6 after more than 10 years! My Personal Record (unrecorded) on the exact same machine and settings is 704,000.
  • I’m a proud 20-year veteran of the videogame development industry, and I’ve played and designed some great games in my personal and professional careers, but Robotron: 2084 is the pinnacle of what I consider the ultimate interface of Player and Machine; a true demonstration of skill.

Paul D. Corbett aka “COR”

    Email: pauldcorbett@att.net

    I suppose I am an Extreme Master Level Player

  • First experience that made you want to put a quarter in the game.
  • There was this guy Mike McBurney playing this new awesome game that just came in to the arcade I frequented…Robotron! Is was 1982 in Merced, California. Mike asked if I wanted to play doubles and that was that, we were hooked for life. We quickly got so good that we only played, “Race To A Mil” as the game would never end on the 5/25 settings for us. It was truly very challenging going head to head and we made each other better even to this day. We have been friends ever since.

  • First experience that made you aware of the game.
  • Same as above

  • Favorite memory or experience playing Robotron. 3 experiences make this list.
  • Another friend of mine Chris Williams created this memory. He knew how much I loved the game. He knew I played when and if I could so on my 50th birthday he unveiled a perfect brand new machine he built from scratch. I almost had a coronary.

    Another was winning the CAX Robotron tournament in 2014. I won joysticks, a marquee and a boatload of cash ($50.00). I sent the joysticks to Chris Williams and I get a brand new machine back built around the joysticks. It’s like giving someone a stick shift and getting a brand new car in return.

    Last but not least was having breakfast with Eugene at the CAX 2016. Mike, Chris and I had our Robotron shirts on and he came in. I asked if he would join us and he graciously accepted. We were like 5 year olds at Disneyland with Mickey.

  • Most notable game you played
  • I only play difficulty 10 and 3 men. My best so far is 493,975 on my machine. I am determined to get 500,000 if it kills me and it might.

  • I have many minor tips but I always go back to, don’t panic and just play Robes!

Mike McBurney – Robotron Bio

    Papazit1963@yahoo.com

    Papazit1963 on KLOV

    Questions-

    Are you a master level player?

    I would say I’m an extreme master level player.  I guess.  I play my personal game at level 10-always.

    First experience that made you want to put a quarter in a game? 

    Early 80’s right after graduating high school, before real life begins I found myself spending WAY too much time in the local arcade.  It was all so new- bright, noisy, smelly and such a blast.  Our local arcade here in Merced, CA was called “Countdown”.

    First experience that made you aware of the game Robotron?    

    My story is very similar to Paul Corbett’s Robotron life experience.   We both met in the same arcade.  We both noticed something about each other and that was we both could play a handful of games all day long on just a few quarters.   Robotron and  Asteroids were our favorites.   Being the best video game ever created, Robotron grabbed ahold of us and never let go.  Non players think I’m crazy when I say it’s the best video game ever, but to this day I still believe that.  Real Robotron players know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Favorite memory or experience playing Robotron?

    So many great Robotron memories.   For sure the early days.  1982, when our local arcade got a Robotron game,  Paul Corbett and I would “hog” the game for hours.   Always challenging each other which in turn made us very good.   We were always very even in our games, so we would race to a million just to make it fun.   We would also share a game.  That is he would shoot and I’d run or visa-versa.  We called that playing brain-twins.  It’s really fun and not to brag but I bet we could beat most any single player this way.  Except for a few top dogs of course.    Fast forward 34 years and we are still playing this game together.   Whenever we’re at each other’s house we’re playing Robotron and having a great time.  My wife says Paul and I have a bromance going on.   I say we have Robomance happening.   LOL.

    Most notable game you played? (ie any achievement you are proud of)

    Just recently (2016) at California Extreme  in Santa Clara, CA we had the awesome pleasure of  eating breakfast with Eugene Jarvis!  For about 45 minutes we shot the bull and asked many questions of him that only a programmer of the game would know the answers to.   It was amazing!  We thought things couldn’t get any better that day.  Until that night.   Later that evening in the main game hall Paul Corbett, Chris Williams (another Robo-head)  and myself were playing a game of Robotron when Eugene walks up.  We told him to jump in and we played, just taking turns, watching each other for what seemed like hours.  We were in heaven!   Then Mr. David Gomez (a top notch player) joined us as well!  We all took turns, watching, admiring, and chatting about what an awesome thing we were witnessing.   I will never forget that day—one of the best.

    Any Advice or tips?

    Keep moving.  Period.  Watch others to learn different techniques.  Most importantly,  have fun!

    Sounds like good advice for life too…

 

Per Larry DeMar Aug 2012-

Robotron-EPJ-Eugene Jarvis, JER-Jeri Jarvis, KID-me (it was my videogame handle at the time). MLG-Mindy Garber, SSR-Steve Ritchie, UNA-Steve’s moniker for his wife, Dianna Ritchie, JRS-John Sheldrake, CJM-Connie Mitchell, RAY GAY-Ray Gay

Defender- SAM- Sam Dicker, PGD-Paul Dussault, CRB-Charles Bleich, MRS-Mike Stroll, TMH-Tom Hart

Per Ken Fedesna, July 2013-

MLG is Marty Glazman who was the VP of Sales. VIV is Vivian Suchocki, one of the administrative assistants and a great Defender player.  EJS is Ed suchocki, one of the Williams programmers. GWW is Greg Wepner, one of the electrical design engineers. MDR I believe is Mark Ritchie, one of the pinball game designers and Steve’s brother. TMK is Tony Knezevich, one of Defender’s electronic hardware design engineers. DON I believe is for Don Hassler, one on the Manufacturing Directors. And KJF is myself who at the time was the Director of the Video Development Engineering group.  CJM is Constantino Mitchell

Larry DeMar Dec 2012-

  • Eugene used to call himself “Dr. J”
  • The scores are at a level that anything but pathetic scores push out the default because there is value to players to be able to get on the board.
  • Some of the default scores have our birth dates embedded for fun.
  • Often the all-time high score had the release date embedded.

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