Beautiful Croydon in the South East of England this year plays host to the UK’s Classic Gaming Expo
. Amongst the retail parks and office blocks, misty-eyed gamers will gather for a dose electronic nostalgia.
This is one of those ‘heartwarming’ news items, for the Expo will be the stage on which one of the worldwide community’s maturest members will try to reclaim her world title. 80 year-old Doris Self first tried her hand at video games some 22 years ago, shortly after the death of her husband. Trying her hand at a Q*bert machine in a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, the then 58 year-old Plantation, Florida resident quickly became addicted. And it wasn’t long before she joined teenagers at the arcade, ten minutes walk from her home, frequently pulling all-nighters, and not returning home until seven in the morning.
Mrs. Self is no fan of newer video games: “I've tried quite a few. I don't care for the newer, modern games at all, but I do play a few of the classics because I got started on them. I always end up going back to Q*bert.”
After becoming world champion at her favoured, pyramid-colouring discipline, Doris’ world record was beaten a year later in 1985. But she continued to hold the record for oldest video games champ, until a young whippersnapper – a 72 year-old man from New Hampshire - snaffled her title with a Depth Charge hi-score. Spending a few years in the wilderness, playing poker and craps, she was persuaded by gaming friends to have a shot at reclaiming her title. After training hard on a borrowed arcade machine, she’s flying into England next week to make an attempt at a target of 1.8 million points (her own record set back in 1984 was a mere 1,112,300 points). She failed in her last attempt at Weirs Beach, NH, but is supported in her quest by her friend, the famed Billy Mitchell, the man perhaps best known as the only person to acheive a 'perfect' score on Pac-Man. The UK Expo – and Doris Self’s record Q*bert attempt – take place on August 13.
Do you know any octogenarian gamers? It's not unlikely that you have a grandfather who plays Golden Tee in his local? Or maybe you yourself are a granny with a Gamecube? You know the drill – spill the beans in the forum.