Throughout the month of June, Blastr will be celebrating our favorite digital diversions with Video Game Month: a look at some best, worst and wackiest from the world of shooters, space sims, strategy games and more.
For decades, Guinness had been tracking world records that are, well, kind of meaningless, like longest fingernails, largest square dance and worst-ever English stout beer import in the U.S. Recently, however, they've expanded their coverage of records for things that really matter: video games. However, we'd expect video game world records to be a lot more difficult than other world bests. After all, there are a lot more skilled gamers than there are or people who can set the world record for holding their breath, or running the fastest mile, or being excessively fat.
This is why it's super shocking to us to find world records in the Guinness World Records 2016: Gamers Edition book that are, for lack of a better term, ordinary. We scoured its pages to find a handful of records we think the average gaming veteran could easily top.
Grand Theft Auto IV - Longest Time with Six Star Wanted Level
The Grand Theft Auto series allows gamers to roleplay their law-breaking fantasies. Jaywalking gave me hours of in-game thrills, but allegedly you can steal cars and shoot people, too.
The more crime you do, the higher your wanted level. It ranges from one star to six stars, depending on how much of an insane spree you can roll out. Or you can just cross the barriers blocking off parts of the map in the early part of the game.
One of the easiest-looking records is on page 63 of the Guinness' Video Game book: Stay alive with a 6-star rating for 16 minutes and 16 seconds. I found this peculiar, as one of my favorite in-game pastimes iis going to the luxury car store's second floor, blocking the staircase with a car, then tearing up police. As long as you remember to snipe a few helicopters every once in a while to keep your rating up, it's no problem keeping alive because foot cops can't figure out how to overcome the car-on-a-staircase obstacle. Other gamer favorites include holing up in the subway system and parachuting to an unreachable location and taking down helicopters. In real life, we find one of the quickest ways to get heavy police attention is to serve brunch, but sadly this does not translate to the game.
Super Mario Bros - Highest Score
Jarring as it may seem, the concept of video game points may be foreign to the modern gamer. You see, back in the day, video games were quite repetitive: Shoot some guys, die, repeat. But, today, we don't have to put up with boring and repetitive shooting games, what with diversified titles such as Halo, Call of Duty, Doom, Battlefied, Homefront, Destiny, Wolfenstein, Titanfall, Borderlands, ARMA, and Metro. Nope, in gaming's formative years, in order to keep a player interested in repetition they had something called "points." One of these games-with-points was the classic Super Mario Bros.
No game greater glorifies taking magic mushrooms and swimming through pits of raw sewage. Because of this game's peak-level popularity, we're surprised page 155 lists the high score as only 1,435,100. After all, it is possible to get near-infinite lives by jumping on the turtle on the steps at the end of 3-1.
That nifty combo also yields 17,000 points. Plus, you get extra lives in the process, so you can do it forever. So, having a high score record for this game feels as arbitrary as my world record for amount of surveillance video footage I have of my next door neighbor's dog, whom I suspect is an illegal immigrant.
Tomb Raider - Most Screenshots on a Single Website
In real life, perhaps no career is more glamorous than digging up rotting corpses for their valuables, which is why Tomb Raider has such allure. Millions of gamers love guiding Lara Croft though never-ending puzzles, because nothing says you've arrived more than building a giant-ass contraption to guard your non-bequeathed treasures.
In recent titles, the game's focus has slipped from "solving elaborate machines built into a dazzling world" to an original run-and-gun concept rarely seen in games, except for Far Cry, Just Cause, Bioshock, Hotline Miami, Metroid...but I'm not bitter. I'm too busy looking at weirdo "world records" associated with the Tomb Raider series. On that note, page 167 of the world record book has a peculiar achievement by a Tomb Raider fan site: Most screenshots. The record is only 10,000.
The web site is truly impressive. But the record is silly, because I could easily take ten screenshots a minute for a few hours a day and have that record beaten within a week. In fact, there's got to be some weirdo out there with thousands of screenshots of Lara's boobs. This is, after all, the Internet.
Saints Row the Thir d- Most Cars Stolen in One Minute
Saints Row came about when designers took a look at Grand Theft Auto and thought, "this isn't violent or silly enough."
As such, there are some fundamental differences between the GTA and SR series. Notably, when I hit a guy in the knees with a baseball bat in GTA, he realistically crumples to the ground while swearing loudly, whereas, in Saints Row, when I hit a guy in the knees with a baseball bat, he bounces off the ground, flies in the air, aliens come down, and Satan rises up from the underworld and starts wrecking shop. Also, the baseball bat is actually a sex toy.
On page 140 of the world record book is an interesting achievement I feel could easily be beaten: Steal 11 cars in 60 seconds in Saints Row the Third. This is strikingly low, especially since stealing a car in SR is as simple as jumping through the windshield from like 20 feet away. Just creating a busy intersection by blocking the road would seem to be all it takes to set up a world record attempt. I think this falls under the category of "records that exist simply because no one else cares enough to attempt them." After all, if hopping in a car and driving it five feet counts as "stealing" then parking valets break that record irl every day.
Little Big Planet - Most User-Created Levels Played in 24 Hours
Designing a game's content is hard. You need to challenge the players without being too difficult, utilize all of the game's features in ways that make sense, and keep levels diverse enough to prevent gamers from being bored.
Unless, of course, you are a designer for the game series Little Big Planet, in which case you just say, "hey, let's let the players do most of the hard level design work," and then presumably take a safari lunch at 10 AM
I clown, but this idea worked spectacularly: LBP games have millions of fun user-generated levels. Like this one, which recreates parts of the "Party Rock Anthem" video.
On page 86 of the record book, they mention the record for most user-generated levels played in 24 hours (272). This record simply feels tacked onto a better record for longest marathon gaming session, as if they needed to find some other record to give the winners, lest they realize they are leading empty shells of lives. Note that the record simply says "levels played," not "levels completed." I can do that simply by entering a level for a few moments, then leaving. All those years watching two minutes of a Nettflix movie before moving on were merely training for this record.
Minecraft - Longest Distance Riding a Pig
In real life, once, I found myself in a mountain forest. I had just eaten a particularly potent carrot (this is a metaphor) and the entire world turned to 8-bit. So, when I first started playing Minecraft, the cube-based environment intrigued me. Alas, I soon found that the world of Minecraft was nothing like a drug trip.
Well, actually, I take that back. Playing Minecraft strongly resembles a bad drug trip. The haunting sense of loneliness... strange ambient music... little things feel like they take forever to do... giant spiders.
However, for millions of gamers, this is exactly the perfect theme for days of obsessive gaming. For instance, carrots, combined with a fishing pole and a saddle, will let you ride a pig (this is not a metaphor). You may be wondering why you'd want to ride a pig, when horses are easily avaiable. The answer seems to be "to get some niche world record." Page 104 cites the longest cumulative distance a player has ridden a pig: 667.03 km. This can be achieved by continously riding a pig for ~48 hours. Since the record can be done in parts, there's nothing stopping someone from saddling up an oinkster and traversing the furthest total distance. Personally, we'd prefer to keep our shared record for lowest distance traveled with pig-based transportation, which is zero.
NBA Jam: On Fire Edition - Biggest Blowout
NBA Jam rose to success with painstakingly-crafted, spectacular slam dunks combined with a gameplay system that prompts most players to skip dunking entirely and just shoot three pointers. Interesting note: The original NBA Jam grossed one billion dollars in its first year.
The most recent version, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, came out five years ago. Because of its age, we find it odd that, on page 197 of the record book, it states that the record for biggest margin of victory is only 43 points. Here, I just quadrupled that record:
...And that's just with Sarah Palin against Santa Claus. Everyone knows the real politician with shooting skills is Dick Cheney. I didn't use any special tricks to do this, nor even a trace amount of talent. I just took Palin, stole the ball, shot from the top of the key, and repeated until I was on Santa's naughty list for the rest of eternity.
So, there you have it: With a little bit of effort and persistence, you could be someone whom eulogists speak of as, "this guy. This guy held the world record for longest gaming marathon of Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy. It's tragic that a methamphetamine overdose cut short their productive life." Have at it.