Beyond Wave 100

Voice Card  -  Volume 17  -  John Card Number 13  -  Mon, Nov 26, 1990 8:57 PM

I just finished breaking the bank (so to speak) in Crystal Quest!!

My final score was 12,441,350 in 107 waves. I could have continued indefinitely; my only purpose in going this high was to see what happened when I crossed the 100 wave boundary.

Grace under extreme conditions is the mark of a master programmer, and my hat is off to the fellow who wrote this game. After wave 99, the wave counter on top of the screen changes to a smaller font so that it will fit. On the final scoreboard, wave counts above 99 are recorded as (++) and scores are given in K, so my score is listed as "12441K (++)".

I never once paused the game and still it took an hour and forty-five minutes to reach wave 107. During the course of the game (according to my trusty Mouse Odometer) the cursor traveled a distance of over 630 feet - more than two football fields!

This was the first time I had played Crystal Quest in many months, and I have noticed a consistent pattern in this and other arcade games. As I am learning a new game, I tend to reach plateaus of expertise, so that, for example, for a period of several weeks I score between 50 and 70 thousand points but can never seem to break the 100,000 mark. Then, if I leave the game altogether and come back after a month or more of abstinence, I often find that I have somehow advanced to a new plateau and am now consistently scoring between, say, 150 and 200 thousand.

How can this be? It's as if some part of my brain is learning to play Crystal Quest in my sleep. Somehow more learning is occurring during an extended rest than during intensive practice. Of course, I'd need to do controlled experiments to verify this phenomenon, but I am convinced that something is going on here. Larry, does this make any sense to you?

As for Crystal Quest: I am now retired. I leave it to one of you to find out what happens at wave 1000.