Missile Command Arcade World Record Footage!


Happy new year!

2020 was interesting, but personally speaking, last year wasn’t all bad – I finally managed to release my book, Missile Commander (I still have copies available if you’ve yet to order). Feedback has been very positive – thanks again to you all for supporting the project. You can pick up a copy here.

I’ve had a number of people reach out to me after reading the book, asking if footage was available of my world record score, which got me hunting around to see if I still had it, and lo and behold I found it on an old hard drive.

So below is the complete recording of my 4,472,570 point game, set on 10 August 2010. This was the third time I’d achieved the world record. Previously scoring 1,967,830 (set in 2006) and 2,363,895 (set in 2009). This score took just under 3 hours.

I guess some context would be useful before watching:

  1. The recording was made on a Panasonic NV-DS33 Mini-DV camera, placed on a tripod, pointing at the screen. The resolution isn’t the best, and on some of the colour screens, the sync rate of the camera creates lines across the monitor. Bear in mind this was recorded over 10 years ago now, but its perfectly watchable. This recording is edited down to just the gameplay, and doesn’t include the dull parts of verification of the PCB etc.
  2. Remember this score was set on Tournament Settings, which gives the player no bonus cities at all. Once all six cities are destroyed, its game over.
  3. You’ll notice that my trackball sounds particularly noisy on the tape (apologies for that).
  4. There are a few hair-raising moments where under normal circumstances, the game would have ended, but luck was with me and I was able to continue.
  5. Of particular note in this game: this is the only tournament settings score that I’m aware of where the Missile Command Kill Screen is passed. Check out the 1:59:50 mark to view this unique event. Two things occur here: on wave 255, everything is worth 256 times its normal value, and the following wave, 256, is unplayable. Wave 257 sees the game’s difficulty reset to the starting difficulty – which is handy to take a breather!
  6. The game eventually ends due to a misfire of the centre base button. If you watch and listen closely at the 2:50:00 mark, you can hear the button “click” as I look to take out a simple missile coming for my centre base, but no missile is fired! I often wonder how high the score would have been had this not occurred.

This score still stands today, some ten years later. So with that said, enjoy the video!

For some additional context, here’s an excerpt from an interview I did at the time when the score was announced:

UK gamer Tony Temple has made waves in the world surrounding the classic arcade game Missile Command for several years, since he first knocked off the long-time “Tournament Settings” record on the game. On September 9, official scorekeeping organization Twin Galaxies announced his biggest wave yet. Already standing as the record holder, Temple has now crushed his own score by almost double, racking up 4,472,570 points in a game that only ended due to a button malfunction on the machine control panel. Tony took some time out of spinning the trackball and racking up millions of points to give an exclusive interview about his newest accomplishment:

Congrats on pushing Missile Command to never before seen heights. Did you ever think prior to this that the tournament settings record would be pushed so high?

If you asked me 5 years ago, I would have said “not a chance”. I remember the frustration of trying to beat the 1.69 million point score back in 2006. That score seemed so high and unobtainable, and was a score than many people thought was not possible. But my game has steadily improved and become more consistent over time. Plus we’ve seen more players playing Missile Command so that’s spurred me on in recent years to keep pushing the score upwards. I’ve always felt there was a chance of scoring really big on this title past the killscreen because of the potential points available – once you’ve cracked a million points, its all about holding it together for as long as you can. Its a unique title, in that there are no patterns to learn. You don’t know what the game is going to throw at you from screen to screen, and so you just have to rely on your knowledge of the game, the trackball and a little bit of luck. With this score, it all came together and I got into a groove.

Your run ended with a malfunction of the controls. Had that not happened how far do you feel you could have pushed this?

The button failure was disappointing, but it happens. Its all part of working with 30 year old hardware I guess. Its impossible to say – but I felt good and in the zone. My gameplay was solid, and I couldn’t see how the game was going to end. I was getting to the stage at wave 350 or so where I was starting to think that hitting the killscreen at wave 256 for a second time in the same game was a real possibility and a great target to go for. I have mixed feelings about it. I’m sure I would have gone over 5 million points at least, but I was glad it wasn’t my mistake that led to the game ending! I can’t complain – I would have taken the game ending on screen 365 (as it did) and almost doubling the previous WR under any circumstances. Plus I was getting very uncomfortable on the hard stool I was sitting on – I must invest in a new seat with a cushion!

Courtesy of Denton Arcade Game Examiner

I hope you enjoyed the video! Do let me know if you have any questions or comments below.

Don’t forget, you can read more about my journey with Missile Command in my new book available here.

Thanks for visiting this week!


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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael Basal says:

    Hi Tony,

    Watching it now, well on / off anyway., it is running picture in picture on my iPad currently. I reached at least the part of your book that discusses “……no one and I mean no one watches an entire record being set…..” So except for the record setter, i.e. you, I guess that is true! Truly remarkable. A feat, despite owning my own original Atari Missile Command arcade I seriously doubt you’ll have to worry about me breaking.


    Sent from a collector of:
    A Warner Communications Company


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