The best-selling video game of all time? Super Mario Bros., with over 40 million units. The top score possible in Pac-Man? 3,333,360 points. The biggest movie flop based on a video game? 2005's Alone in the Dark, which cost $20 million to produce and made just over $5 million in theaters.
Those are just a few of the records commemorated in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2008, now in bookstores. The 256-page book, which retails for $19.95, features a combination of records and gaming trivia, covering the history of video games from their early days in the 1970s until now.
Video games have changed a lot over the years. In 1975, Magnavox's Odyssey 100 allowed users to play two games, tennis and hockey, but didn't keep score on the screen, forcing players to use plastic sliders built into the console. Compare that with the stunning games available on the PlayStation 3.
Some of the "records" are a bit of a stretch -- Myst is given the title of "Least Violent Adventure Game," for instance, and the Japanese TV adaptation of Pokemon gets the record for "Most Photosensitive Epileptic Seizures Caused by a TV show" (635 of them during one airing in December 1997). And gamers will enjoy the Top 100 Arcade Games as much for the chance to disagree with the rankings as anything else (Missile Command only comes in 15th? Preposterous!).
But the lists of highest scores in video games are interesting and, to most gamers, a bit humbling. The book is vividly illustrated, with plenty of trivia about the history of different gaming systems and popular games.
Computer users who are unhappy with the Windows Vista operating system are uniting in their support of the older Windows XP.
InfoWorld.com, a technology news site, is leading the "Save XP" campaign, which is devoted to getting Microsoft to change its plans to end sales of XP software June 30.
"Millions of us have grown comfortable with XP and don't see a need to change to Vista," the site says. "It's like having a comfortable apartment that you've enjoyed coming home to for years, only to get an eviction notice."
As of this week, more than 111,000 people had signed the petition.
A year after it was first announced, the Adobe Media Player (AMP) is finally available for Windows or Mac.
The player lets users watch free streaming video -- with imbedded commercials -- from television channels such as Comedy Central, CBS, PBS, MTV and the Weather Channel, as well as video from some Web sites including Style.com and MyToons.com. The initial offerings are limited -- CBS has episodes from its CSI shows, Jericho and just a few other dramas, for instance -- but the library will grow. There is also a separate section in the player's library for the original Star Trek, and another with selected episodes of such classic shows as The Twilight Zone and Hawaii Five-O.
AMP can play video in 240p (YouTube resolution), 480p (DVD resolution), 720p (HD) or 1080p (HD).
The AMP program uses the new Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) application, which must be downloaded along the program. Both downloads are free and are available at adobe.com/products/mediaplayer.
PC users must have a 2.33 GHz or faster processor, Windows XP or Vista and 1 GB of RAM. Mac users need a 1.8 GHz G5 or faster processor, OSX 10.4.9, and 1 GB of RAM.
If you give AMP a try, or if you've tried NBC/Fox's Hulu.com media player, please drop me a line at the e-mail address below to express your opinion about these new media players. Do they offer the features you want in a media player? Do they offer enough TV shows?
■ Tim Clodfelter can be reached at 727-7371 or at firstname.lastname@example.org