February 14, 2008 / 12:06 AM / in 10 years

Gamers zap their way into new record book

LONDON (Reuters) - If you think you spend too much time stuck in front of a computer screen, spare a thought for bleary eyed gamer Eric Furrer.

<p>Visitors play at an exhibition stand at the Games Convention 2007 fair in the eastern German city of Leipzig August 23, 2007. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>

The Canadian holds the world record for the longest game of Space Invaders after zapping aliens for 38 hours and 30 minutes during a marathon session in 1980.

Furrer, who was 12 at the time, has found a place alongside thousands of trivial superlatives in the first Guinness World Records book dedicated solely to computer games.

From the basic Atari consoles of the 1970s to the latest handheld devices from Nintendo and Sony, the compendium sheds light on an industry that has transfixed generations of teenagers.

Its editor Keith Pullin said: “The games industry is the fastest growing entertainment sector in the world.”

Here are some of the entries:

* In 1982, American Scott Safran achieved the highest score on the classic game Asteroids, notching up 41,336,440 points.

* Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.” is the best-selling console game in history. It has sold more than 40 million copies.

* The biggest online role-playing game is “World of Warcraft,” with about 10 million subscribers. It also boasts the biggest virtual beer festival, Brewfest.

* The longest title for a strategy game is the less than snappy “The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II - The Rise of the Witch-King.”

* After Space Invaders, PAC-Man is the second most popular arcade game of all time.

The book says it was originally called Puck-Man because the main character is disc-shaped. The name was changed to stop vandals in arcades from turning the first word into an expletive.

- Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2008 is published this month.

Editing by Steve Addison

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