Space Superbowl

Top guns score in Mattel’s Astrosmash Shoot‑Off

It was one of the most spectacular video game tournaments ever—the National Astrosmash Shootoff in Houston. After 13,000 people from the ages of 11 to 51 had sent Mattel photographs showing their top Astrosmash scores, 16 of them were flown for a three-day trip to the Astrodome to test their skills for one hour…and $100,000 in prize money. According to Peter Pirner of Mattel, these video athletes “literally smashed their way through our game’s computer programming.” When the dust had cleared, 18-year-old Manuel Rodriguez from Stockton, California came out on top. Pictured here are some of the Astrosmash champions.

Right, the world Astrosmosh champion, Manuel Rodrigues. On the opposite page, bottom right, is second-prize winner ($12,500) Chuck Tappan of Elmira, New York. Above Chuck is the youngest of the finalists, 11-year-old Chad Junge of Arizona. To his left is fourth place finisher Dyron Nelson.


They all use Autofire while pressing the single shot button. Michael Miller (eighth place) explains that playing at the fast speed makes you better at the beginning of the game. when the action is slow. Byron Nelson (fourth place) says, “when you hit everything that comes down at the beginning, you get up to six times as fast for the higher totals.”

But practice is the key. The winner, Manuel Rodriguez. practiced 15 hours a day for a month in order to score 835.180 points and win $25,000. After that month, he says. “I practiced how well I could do in one hour.” to mirror the conditions of the contest. Except for Manuel. most contestants believe using hyperspace is helpful. Manuel thinks that with hyperspace, the risk of getting hit by a guided missile is too great.

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