Hi-Scores

The question is simple: What is your proudest high score? And I’m talking strictly high score lists, here! Where have you scrawled your filthy initials to the greatest honor?

I have a worldwide top 10 score in each of the three modes of Michael Brough’s fantastic iOS game Helix. I even beat his score in the main mode! And all it took was an entire summer of destroying my thumb making elegant circles all across my phone on the subway. A few times I even ended up getting random spectators asking me for more info on the game! It’s a beautiful, mysterious, twitchy masterpiece and it was worth sacrificing my thumb ligaments for it. I hope he updates the game to make it work with new iOS someday.

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By far my best run I have ever achieved in a game was…
A,484,080 in Armed Police Batrider.

For a long time I was the number 2 score in the west for this game before more talented players started to get their hooks in. When I went to a shmup enthusiast gathering in London, it was really surreal to meet people that knew me as the Armed Police Batrider guy and were genuinely impressed by what I was able to do. I went to a shmup gathering in Chicago as well, and the host owned the actual Batrider PCB. Once again a pretty surreal experience having a bunch of dudes gather around me on an astro city cab to watch me play this game.

Someone actual took a video.

That was many moons ago, and my skills have gone down considerably since then but this score will always be the feather in the cap for me.

I used to be able to put up damn near 8 mil scores in Battle Garegga but I struggle now to get up to 3 mil. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

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I snatched the high score on a Virtua Cop III machine just outside of Vienna multiple times while listening to Bad Reputation by Joan Jett on loop. Those were the days my friends, those were the days

I just got in the top ten global ranking* for combined score in Thumper’s plus mode. I tend to gravitate towards rhythm games most of the time when I chase high scores. It just really annoys me when I make the slightest mistake in a rhythm game.

Outside of that, I chased high scores in Downwell. I’m now realizing that game has an extremely similar flow to Thumper.

Oh and, as a tween, I collected all 180 emblems in Sonic Adventure 2, unlocking 3D Green Hill Zone. I’m quite proud of that nonsense. I wonder why developers in those days hid the most enticing stuff behind the most difficult achievements.

*There appear to be only ~1077 entrants so I’m not special. I’m guessing the leaderboards between consoles aren’t shared.

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I think I was one of the first people to figure out Dead Rising’s weapon durability stacking, where each ‘doubles duration’ modifier multiplies each other. The best thing to do is therefore to grab a few dual chainsaws from the clown boss; those chainsaws react to ‘bladed weapon duration+’ and ‘tool duration weapon+’ (or however they’re structured) and you can get something like a 32x duration increase. With those babies you can easily ferry a band of 5 survivors back on each run.

I think I was 15th worldwide 3 weeks after it came out, and if I never check again I can assume it stayed that way forever.

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I once beat all the sbers at a helicopter side-scroller that someone found on the net. But that didn’t have any impact on the real high-score. Hey, it’s something

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I was thinking about hi-scores today and I had a fun thought.

Now that internet-connected worldwide high score lists are a thing, wouldn’t it be interesting if a game gated unlockables behind certain high score markers?

For example, I currently have a high score in Imbroglio that beats the creator’s high score. What if beating the creator’s score unlocked a new difficulty mode or a new title screen or something? What if the creator then came back and beat my high score, and I had to go back into the ring to earn back the unlockable?

What if you unlocked a bonus stage in a game by beating 45% of global high scores? Or by making it into the top 50 for the month?

I like the idea of competitive unlockables, and I like the idea of it as a moving target.

I was recently thinking about hi-scores because of Kuron and the Jelly Islands. In that game, the scope of the leaderboard is gated by your high score. Initially, you select where on earth you live; the first leaderboard only extends to include scores within a 50 km radius. As your score rises to the top of the list, the leaderboard’s scope increases until it’s global in range.
I’m really in love with this concept; I just wish it was tied to more popular games.

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This was by far the most interesting part of Noby Noby Boy and I think a bunch of mobile games have borrowed the idea, so yeah I’d love to see this.

On the gross capitalistic end of things I wonder if any devs have ever gated content behind sales thresholds. Like, incentivize people to convince their friends to buy the game. “This DLC will be available when we’ve sold 100,000 copies” or something.

Sort of. They did this with one of the new Deus Ex titles. The more people preordered the more stuff everyone would get. I don’t know how much, if any of that was gameplay related though. Someone tell me if I remember correctly

Also, Patreon is sort of like this! But there it’s forgivable. When a big cash corp like Ubisoft does it it clearly isn’t

This is how badly I’m doing at ZeroRanger. That’s my one continue max right now. Can’t even beat stage two without a continue…

And this is my high score on the results board

I think in general collective-action problems like this are weakly reinforcing; we’ve seen the ‘community war’ asynchronous multiplayer system, where your matches affect a global progress, but I think that runs with other values of sports-team-like factionalism and a progress bar with a more meaningful aspect in a way a broad sales goal doesn’t.

There’s the boring answer that of course popular games can sustain long-term momentum, so it always works that way regardless of a stated campaign.

oh this should be a thread for documenting high scores even if you’re not so proud of them (yet?)

playing for score is fun especially when you’re just playing by yourself and learning. lots of (especially older) games end up with gnarly score milking mechanics if you’re really min-maxing but if you’re just having fun it’s usually a great time

Flicky (Genesis)
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made it to around stage 28 on that run. I need to memorize more of the bonus game patterns

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stage 26 i think is really obnoxious

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i did it! half a million!
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stage 34 that time

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The Sonic Mega Collection for GameCube was how I was introduced to both Flicky and Ristar. Cool games!

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playing space invaders (1977). hard fucking game! my best is 1760 right now, but i should have done better. i had no deaths until 1420

edit: 2440! improving. this game kicks my butt

edit: 3090! hittin’ those graphics cards numbers. was doing great until mid-2000s where i fell off a cliff

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magical chase gb (gbc) - 985270 (easy)

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flicky (arc) - 372390

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