We Want Your High Scores
What was your high score? How did you share it with the world?
Showcasing gaming achievement was important for many game fans. Home computer fans had no public leader boards like those enjoyed in the arcades but magazines once more came to the rescue of Australian micro computer gamers. Each month gamers were invited to send their high scores to PC Game’s ‘Challenge Chamber’.
The ‘scores to beat’ were divided up by platform and in December 1984 Commodore 64 was listed first speaking to its popularity with Australian computer hobbyists. Next was the Vic 20 and Australia’s own Microbee then the Atari, The VZ-200, the trusty Spectrum and mix of others including the Apple II , the TRS80, Dick Smiths Wizard, the Sega SC-3000, the Amstrad, the Spectravision, the BCC Model B, the Vetrex, the MSX and the ColecoVision. Challenge Chamber thus offers a neat survey of platforms and games popular in the 1980s. The games were listed alphabetically and the list reveals that despite the popularity of arcade ports and clones there was no continuity of games over the diverse platforms.
“The Hobbit” is featured in April 1985 column W.Mills of Metford NSW scoring an impressive 100% completion on the Commodore 64. The Microbee section is obviously full of Aussie penned games including “Joust” clone “Emu Joust” for which A Lo of Eastwood NSW scoring a mighty 77,6000.
Lives well wasted.
The Scores to Beat
To prevent fans fabricating their scores every few months Challenge Chamber would invite players to prove their high scoring credentials in an in-house competition. Players were invited to the magazines Sydney or Melbourne offices to battle it out. These showdowns usually featured a heroic bunch of young teens whose parents would dutifully drop them at the office of “PC Games”. The 1985 “Ghostbusters” challenge included a bold 12 year home coder Brenda – who sees a future for herself working in a bank because they have to have computers there – she is up against seasoned gamers brothers David (17) and Andrew (15) for the high score. Whilst our young girl programmer did not triumph her 13 year old brother Jimmy surged to victory.
Commodore 64 gamer Daniel Bowen recalls visiting PC Games Challenge Chamber in Melbourne in 1984 to watch his friend Merlin battle it out on the Commodore 64 pinball game “Night Mission” with another 13 year old called Paul who held a high score for the Commodore 64 “Q*bert “ clone “Pogo Joe”. The secret challenge chamber was a non-descript office near the Elwood post office. Merlin won the challenge with an impressive score of 1,736,000 clocked in the lock down Paul finished with an equally respectable 140,250 so neither player were humiliated in the pages of PC Games as NERD OF THE MONTH.
Mothers appear to have been the bane of the high score challenge!