Game Informer Editors Set Guinness World Record
Earlier this year, a copy of Guinness World Records 2011: Gamer’s Edition showed up at our office. I spent some time flipping through its pages, amused at records for high scores in Donkey Konga and minigames from Zelda. As I continued reading it, I started thinking about getting in the book myself. Considering I had no record-setting collections, hadn’t developed any mega-selling games, and don’t possess the insane old-school arcade ability required to become the new King of Kong, my options were limited. Remembering that I once played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for 22 hours straight, I decided on a gaming marathon. Guinness World Records has entries for several types of these; among them are Dance Dance Revolution marathons, first-person shooter marathons, racing marathons, and LAN party marathons. After scanning the options, I landed on a fighting game marathon. Despite fully expecting it to be a solo effort, I went around the office asking if anyone would be interested in joining me in this record-setting attempt. To my surprise, fellow editors Tim Turi, Jeff Cork, and Ben Reeves immediately agreed to participate. With four players ready for the long haul, the natural choice was Super Smash Bros. Specifically, we landed on Brawl thanks to its numerous unlocks and match options. On the weekend of March 19-20, we set a new Guinness World Record by playing it for exactly 30 straight hours. To the right, you’ll see what it was like for each of us.
My early hours during the record attempt were very rocky. I had planned to get no less than eight hours of sleep prior to the attempt, so I headed to bed at 10 p.m. on Friday (the attempt started at 9 a.m. Saturday). Sleep comes difficult for me even on a normal night, so a looming world record attempt kept me up until the morning hours no matter how hard I tried to rest. Coming in to the office on three hours of sleep, I was groggy and sleep-deprived before we even started. Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew were my diet for several hours, and they helped keep my head up and eyes open until my second wind came. A revolving door of guests at the office, a lively chat room in our online stream, and the high frequency of jokes and hilarious moments kept me going after that. The most tedious moment was when I realized we had played for fifteen hours and we still had at least a dozen to go. I knew I was getting really tired when I saw the name bars over our character’s heads and thought, “Why do we all have hammers?” Things picked up again once the sun started to rise and the finish line was within sight. Officially becoming the new world record holders was fantastic, but the best moment was when we were able to finally put our controllers down at the 30 hour mark.
Failure never crossed my mind when we held early discussions regarding our Guinness World Record attempt. Being the incredible physical specimen that I am, I’ve easily played games for long stretches without moving a muscle. Hours 18 to 24 were incredibly sleepy ones, but I pulled through with caffeine, mac ‘n’ cheese pizza, ludicrous jokes, and the amazing Game Informer community. Although I was thrilled when we beat the record, my joy was tempered knowing we had to raise the bar further. I know I could have played longer, but I wasn’t complaining when I felt sleep’s sweet, chocolatey embrace. I became very bored with the Super Smash Bros. Brawl formula after 30 straight hours, but I somehow felt the urge to once again blast dudes in the face with Samus the very next day. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the perfect game to play for an absurd amount of time, but I wouldn’t mind trying something else if we go for another record.
I’ve had a great life so far. Even with all the amazing moments I’ve experienced – marrying my wonderful wife, witnessing the births of my sons, getting this job – few hold up to hearing “Congratulations, you can now put down your controllers.” I went into our record attempt thinking that the most difficult part would be staying awake. As one of Game Informer’s old men, I’m typically in bed by nine and have eaten breakfast by the time some of the other editors are drifting off to sleep. As it turns out, staying awake wasn’t a problem. Ben’s nonstop commentary would have made falling asleep impossible, and after hearing some of the things that came out of his mouth I wouldn’t have felt comfortable putting myself in that position. I’ve always been good at sloth, which was the secret behind essentially staying rock-still for the first 18 hours. The strangest part of an already strange experience was feeling that I could have kept going for a few more hours. If someone ever breaks our record, know this: I’ve done it once before, and I can do it again.
Two days before the attempt I came back from a work trip to Canada, so the Friday before our attempt I stayed late at the office catching up on emails and working on our Spider-Man: Edge of Time feature. By 1:30 in the morning, I decided that I should just sleep at the office. So in addition to jet lag, I was battling the 6.5 hours of terrible office couch sleep the whole time we were playing. The marathon itself is a blur now, but I’m pretty sure I had fun. I think our skills peaked at hour five, and by the end most of us were just hitting buttons. I remember panicking when I heard we’d run out of Mountain Dew only 10 hours in, and halfway through the night I got so loopy that I almost fell out of my chair laughing at one of Tim’s expressions. In fact, I actually did fall on my face during three separate runs to the bathroom. Incredibly, the next day I felt fine. Smash Bros. Brawl is an absurd game to play for such a length of time – it’s completely imbalanced and victory often feels arbitrary, yet somehow the Nintendo magic shines through. I still love that game. We all joked about how sick of it we’d feel by the end, but I can imagine playing Super Smash Bros. again in a few weeks. I might even feel like breaking another Guinness record…someday.
A Record By the Numbers
Total time played: 30 hours
(Previous record: 26 hours, 27 minutes)
Number of matches: 474
KO to Deaths
KO total: 3,354
Most-picked character: Link
Time spent as Link: 10 hours, 40 minutes