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MTV profiles video game referee

Stephen Totilo has written a fascinating profile of Twin Galaxies' former chief referee Robert Mruczek for MTV. The 41 year-old shares an apartment with his parents in Brooklyn, laboriously screens videotapes of high scores, and was even offering bounties using his own money to encourage gamers to attempt high scores he especially wanted to see broken. Totilo writes:

"Saying that Mruczek knows gaming is like saying Stephen Hawking knows about time and space. He says the maximum score possible in 'Pole Position' is common knowledge and, as far as he knows, no one has ever reached it. He knows how 'Ms. Pac-Man' ends: at level 133, after which the player will see either one, two, three, four or eight glitch screens... He was once quizzed by a radio show, being asked to listen to someone playing a mystery video game. He didn't just correctly guess the game ('Space Invaders') or the version (Atari 2600). He says he counted the sounds of the explosions and guessed the score within 30 points."

The struggle for high scores remains, for the most part, an anachronistic relic from the heyday of arcade gaming, which makes the popularity of Mruczek's work all the more interesting; yet, the globally managed high score leaderboard on XBLA titles like Geometry Wars threatens to further obviate the necessity of these services.

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