[Edited January 17th, 2015 - A few minor updates. -- S.BAZ]
[Edited September 3rd, 2008 - No important changes... just some rewording to clarify things and make sure everything is up to date -- Zero]
Here's how it works:
- The first rule of High Score Club is: You do not talk about High Score Club... just kidding!
- Every week, a game is chosen, and a topic will be started for that week. You'll have just over a week in which to try to get as high a score as possible, and post that score in the relevant topic.
- Each round will begin Saturday at 12:01 AM and end 9 days later on Sunday at 11:59 PM. This will allow you 2 weekends for each round.
- Fresh scores only! Scores you got in the past don't count unless you can equal them within the week.
- Points awarded. [new] At the end of the week, points are awarded as follows:
- the player with the highest score will receive a variable number points, equal to the number of players who participated that week.
- 2nd Highest: (# of participants -1)
- 3rd Highest: (# of participants -2)
- the player with the lowest score: (+1pt.)
- Bonus challenges: For each round, I will propose a challenge that, if you can achieve it, will net you some bonus points. In some cases this will be based on reaching a certain score, and in the case of Activision games will usually be based on the score required to win a patch for that game. What the challenge is, how many points you get for achieving it, and who has actually done it will be listed along with the rest of the game information.
- You are also encouraged to share any hints, tips, strategy, etc with the rest of the people in the High Score Club.
- PLEASE DON'T CHEAT! There are no actual prizes to be won, so this whole thing is just for fun. Please don't ruin it for everyone else.
- PLEASE DON'T ABUSE BUGS IN THE GAMES! Many Atari games have loopholes that allow you to easily get huge amounts of points without much work (An example of such "Point Scumming": in Asteroids, you can eliminate all but one small asteroid, and then "hunt" UFO's without the level ending), or finish the game while skipping a lot of the actual content (For example, using the X-Ray cheat in Superman to prevent the bridge from exploding). Not only do these result in somewhat bogus high scores, but it ruins the fun and challenge of the game in the process. I'll try to point out "forbidden" tactics as I become aware of them, but if you happen to stumble across one that I was not aware of, please let me know! (NOTE: If a bug is proven to exist partway through the week, existing scores may be removed if it can be proven that they have exploited the bug even if it was not intentional. If you have triggered the bug accidentally, I would urge to you voluntarily remove your score and post a new one.)
Here's some answers to questions you might have:
Q: Which games have been chosen for the High Score Club?
A: All games that have been chosen have a thread in the High Score Club forum. Browsing through the topic list is the easiest way to see if/when a game has been chosen. The forum search function is also becoming more and more helpful as the weeks go by.
Q: Can the games be played on emulators, or only on actual hardware?
A: While I would encourage that you play it on actual hardware, emulator play will be allowed. However, please don't cheat by using slow motion, save states, or any other special features of the emulator that aren't available on the actual hardware. Also, please stay away from "questionable" emulation, such as DCStella (as it does not seem to run at full speed) as well as the 10-in-1 joysticks with Atari games, the Atari Flashback, or the Intellivision collection CD's and similar commercial products. Usually these games are not emulated properly (or, in fact, completely rewritten!), which leads to slightly different gameplay and different scoring. Also, you have to play the actual 2600 version for your score... scores from (for example) the 5200 or ColecoVision port will not count. However, if these options are easier for you, then it may be worthwhile to practice with these games before taking a real run on an actual system or emulator.
Q: How do I set the game to the correct game mode on my 2600/Sears Video Arcade/7800?
A: In most cases, we are NOT playing on the default game settings, so you'll usually have to play around to get things to the proper speed/difficulty/etc so that everyone is playing on a level platform. In each High Score Club thread, the first post will tell you what settings to use. This will always include the necessary settings for both the left and right difficulty switches and the appropriate game mode. Each difficulty switch is listed as either "A / Expert" or "B / Novice". The switches on pretty much all models of the Atari 2600 are labelled "A" and "B", but some models (ie, the Sears Video Arcade) label their switches as "Expert" and "Novice", and unfortunately, on the Coleco Gemini, the switches are labelled "A" and "B", but have the opposite effect on the game! On an Atari 7800, moving the switch to the left is equivalent to "B" and moving the switch to the right is equivalent to "A", so simply set the switch to the appropriate position before starting the game. To set the proper game mode, you must press the "Game Select" switch until the proper mode appears. Most games will show a number on screen that represents what game mode you have currently selected. Once the settings are correct, just hit the "Reset" switch and start playing! In very rare circumstances, a game may depend on the position of the TV Type switch, in which case the appropriate position of this switch will also be listed in the game information (Note that the TV Type switch is not preset on the 7800).
Q: How do I change difficulty settings in an emulator?
A: Please read the documentation that came with your emulator. The consoles switches are usually set by using the F-keys at the top of your keyboard. Here are the keys for three of the more popular emulators (Note that all emulators I know of default to having both difficulty switches set to B (Easy), and TV Type to Color):
- Select Game Mode: F1
- Set TV Type to Color: F3
- Set TV Type to Black & White: F4
- Set Left Difficulty to A: F5
- Set Left Difficulty to B: F6
- Set Right Difficulty to A: F7
- Set Right Difficulty to B: F8
- Select Game Mode: F2
- Set TV Type to Color: F4
- Set TV Type to Black & White: F3
- Set Left Difficulty to A: F6
- Set Left Difficulty to B: F5
- Set Right Difficulty to A: F8
- Set Right Difficulty to B: F7
- PC Atari Emulator:
- Select Game Mode: F4
- Toggle TV Type: F5
- Toggle Left Difficulty: F6
- Toggle Right Difficulty: F7
Q: Do we need to post pictures to prove our scores?
A: No, this is not a requirement, though I encourage you to post one if you are able. We operate on the honour system and I will trust you to be honest about your scores. Keep in mind that I can and will veto a score if I believe it is false... in such a case, I may require a picture as proof.
Q: How will the games be chosen?
A: I choose the game each week from a list of games that have been recommended to me. If you want to recommend a game, simply send me a private message and let me know. I will add the game to the list and it will eventually get picked... although keep in mind that I may not pick them in the order they were recommended to me! If you submit multiple games to me at once, I will generally keep them in the queue, though your name will drop to the bottom of the list each time one of your games is chosen.
Q: What kind of game should I pick?
A: That's entirely up to you. You can pick whatever game you want, including homebrews and prototypes... if people don't own the cartridge, they can instead play the ROM on an emulator. I might have to make an exception for games that are not readily available... For example, the Starpath games and some homebrew games where the ROMs aren't generally available. Also, please keep in mind that some games aren't well suited to this Club. For example, if we tried to play for high scores in Combat (or any other game that does not feature a single player mode), it wouldn't work very well. For games that don't keep score, we can try to play for time instead (ie, try to beat Raiders of the Lost Ark in the fastest time), but I'm unsure as to how well this would turn out.
Q: Is it alright if I pick a homebrew game?
A: Yes, in fact we've played a number of homebrew games in the past. Of course, I may still make exceptions as noted in the previous question.
Q: Can I pick a game that has already been played?
A: Yes, by all means. Although I encourage you to pick something new, I will accept "re-runs" of games that were already played in previous seasons, as long as they aren't TOO recent. If you choose to pick a game that was already played, perhaps choose a different game mode or setting in order to provide a different challenge?
Q: Do I have to be a member to contribute?
A: Not at all! If you want to join in on the cameraderie, feel free to do so. If you just want to express your like or dislike for the game, or contribute tips without bothering with high scores, then go right ahead!
Q: What happens if there's a tie?
A: Well, we'll try to come up with a solution that fits the circumstances. What will usually happen is that all the players who are tied will get equal amounts of points. Lets say at the end of a competition, you and I are both tied for second place. What would happen would be that whoever got the highest score would get 12 points, you and I would both get 10 pointss, and the next person would get 7 points. In this case, no one ends up getting 3rd place, and only 10 people will get points. If this doesn't work properly for a certain game, then we'll try something else instead.
Q: What about other systems?
A: I'm afraid I don't have time to monitor and administrate separate threads for separate systems (sometimes I barely have time to do just this one!) However, some other folks have stepped up to the challenge and started High Score Clubs of their own for other systems. AtariAge has them all grouped together over here. If you're looking for more games to play, or 2600 just isn't your thing, I encourage you to check 'em out!
Q: Oh... someone already has such a huge score that I'll never even come close to it. What's the point?
A: Try not to think about it like that. The main purpose here is to challenge yourself to new heights, and try to excel at a game in your own right. Instead of playing solely so you can try to get the highest score, try to play for the fun of it, and enjoy yourself. Ignore everyone else's scores, and focus on trying to better your own score. Who knows? You might find out that you're better at the game than you originally thought, and end up getting 1st place after all! You'll certainly never know if you don't try!
Q: I got the highest score! What do I win?
A: Well... nothing really. This isn't really about winning anything, but more about challenging yourself to new heights, and getting you interested in games that you might never have given much thought to before. ... in the distant past, Lee Krueger has been generous enough to design and provide some excellent patches for the person with the #1 high score on actual hardware, however, this has not been the case for quite some time (You can view his patches over here).
Q: I rolled the score! What happens now?
A: Congratulations! Unfortunately, this leads to a bit of a problem in the way all this works. You see, the power of the Atari 2600 is rather limited, which means that the games can only get so fast. Since the speed of the game is limited, this often means that the difficulty of the game is limited as well. Once someone gets good enough at the games highest difficulty level, it's entirely possible for them to play (for all intensive purposes) forever! On a number of weeks, we've run into the problem that a number of people were good enough to do this. The problem then is how to decide who gets the #1 place. I don't want to force people to play a game for 10 hours straight just so that they can roll the score that one extra time to get a few extra points. I want people to enjoy the game, not to get sick of it. So, in the case that multiple people are skilled enough to roll the score, then their scores will just be listed as the maximum it can go before rolling, and everyone who does so will just be tied for first place. The person with the highest score who didn't roll the score will be considered as 2nd place and so on. If appropriate, this rule may be waived for certain games (for example, games that roll at 10,000 rather than 1,000,000). However, even though you won't get any extra points for obscenely huge scores, I highly encourage you to record the game and send it to the people at Twin Galaxies! I'm sure they'd love to see it!
Q: Why is this thread locked? Are we not allowed to discuss the rules?
A: Frankly, too many people didn't read the rules, and posted in this thread asking to be added to the list, or suggesting games... that's not what this thread is for, and I felt it just made it more confusing for them and annoying for me . If you want to discuss the rules, feel free to send me a private message, or simply post in the most recent thread.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Edited by S.BAZ, Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:30 PM.
it needed a few updates