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Lauren Featherstone
Behold! The Tapper record holder!

Breaking The Tapper Record – An Interview With Lauren Featherstone

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Tapper, a game that was released on to the world in 1983, puts the player in the role of a bartender who must serve patrons before the time expires. In 1985, Michael Ward was the first recorded high score by Twin Galaxies Arcade. He achieve a score of 9,068,625 and held that record for 18 years.

Several people have broken the record throughout the years.  In 2003, Gregory Erway achieved 9,100,175. In 2005, Kelly Tharp beat out Erway’s two year streak with a score of 9,437,400. 10 years later, William ‘Snowflake’ Rosa beat Tharp’s record with a score of 10,361,550. Then on July 15, 2017 at the Free Play Arcade in Arlington Texas. Rosa’s Score was not only beaten but destroyed.

Imagine being 24 years old and you just became high score record holder to a game that is a decade older than you. Lauren Feathersone, a yoga instructor out of Plano Texas, doesn’t have to imagine it, she is living it. She now holds the record for Tapper with an astounding 14,000,600 points. Temple of Geek had a chance to speak with Featherstone on how she became the record holder.

Lauren FeatherstoneFrom Free Play Arcade’s Twitch Stream. When Lauren beat the previous record of 10,361,550 points.

(Danniel Slade) You are now a world record holder for a game that is older than you are. How does that make you feel?

(Lauren Featherstone) It is really exciting! For the most part, I never really connected with games made for my age group (think Halo). So, it was great to discover the arcade where I felt like I fit. I’ve always been told I was born in the wrong decade, and it seems like that goes for games as well!

(DS) What was it about the game that made you go for the high score?

(LF) I enjoyed Tapper from the start, but mostly it was my natural talent at the game. Before long, people would tell me, “Wow, I’ve never seen that level,” and I quickly had the highest score of anyone in our local arcade. My friend started encouraging me to go for the world record, so I did!

(DS) Can you describe what it was like preparing for the 24 hour attempt?

(LF) Very logical. Me, my team of friends, and the owners of the arcade wanted to plan for any situation that could come up during the 24-hour attempt. Whether that be a power outage or a crazy child running around, we needed to be prepared. Having good food at the ready, music for after hours, a white board to keep track of lives and so much more, eliminated the stress of not knowing what would happen during the run.

Lauren Featherstone
From Free Play Arcade’s Twitch Stream. When Lauren hit 14,000,000 points.

(DS) During the 24hr run, how did you do things like eat and go to the restroom without the game ending?

(LF) Tapper is one of those games where you can build up lives indefinitely, to our knowledge. So for my restroom breaks, I would have a friend go in and make sure there was an open stall, then I would run over there while 4-6 of my lives died off, and run back to build up more lives. So you can’t necessarily take a ton of breaks, but it definitely beats not using the restroom at all. I didn’t want to waste lives more than I had to, so we brought a lot of snack foods, and my husband would give me a bite-size piece of watermelon or bagel that I could eat while playing the game.

(DS) At what point during your run did you know you were going to break the record?

(LF) That’s hard to say. From the very start I was pretty sure I was going to, cause I told everyone I would and I didn’t want to let them down after all of the prep and suspense. But certainly once my lives got into the 20s, it was hard to imagine myself losing all of those lives before hitting the world record. What was more questionable was staying at the same pace and focus for six hours after I broke the record.

(DS) What made you continue playing after you broke the record?

(LF) Me and my team had already decided that no matter when I broke the world record, I should go for a full 24 hours. That way people could plan to come out and see me, and I would still be there — that goes for the local media as well. I would gain some extra prize money in the process, and it would be even more memorable and a little more challenging for future players to beat. That being said, I knew I had to give myself a hard stopping point, because otherwise who knows how long I would have played for! After I crossed the 24-hour mark, I was so close to 14 million that followers on Twitch and at the arcade encouraged me to push the extra 10 minutes to reach that final milestone. So I did! And happily walked away at the glitch screen.

featherstone

(DS) At the Classic Game Fest, Walter Day presented you with your own trading card. What was going through your mind when you were presented this card?

(LF) It was a bit surreal to stand up there and meet these legendary guys for the first time. I honestly was quite happy when Walter called up the Free Play Arcade crew. I wouldn’t have got the record and the card without them. Everyone sees my name on Twin Galaxies, but my team definitely deserves recognition as well, and I’m glad they got that at the trading card presentation.

 

(DS) Now that you are the high score record holder, are you afraid that some might challenge you and beat your score?

(LF) I’m not afraid of that at all. Arcade scores are meant to be challenged and beat; that’s what keeps it exciting and pushes people to go further. That being said, I definitely plan to be the Tapper world record holder as long as I am able. So if someone beats my score, you can expect me to come back and get it!

(DS) Are there any other games out there that you might want to take on the high score?

(LF) None at the moment. I do want to go for the Tapper Tournament score, but right now I’m focusing on some other things. I’ll always try new arcade games and continue honing my skills, so who knows if another game will call to me like Tapper did! I’m up for anything.

Slade started Temple of Geek in 2012 with his friend as a podcast. Since then, it has become a lot more. His obsessions are Transformers, Star Wars, Classic Video Games, Superheroes, and comedies.

Slade’s life was turned to the Darkside when his father gave him a gift in 1985. He was presented with the leader of the Decepticons, Megatron. Since then, Slade has become a collector of the robots in disguise.

The only other thing that comes close to Slade’s love of Transformers is Star Wars. He has met a few of the cast over the years. Slade’s one goal in life is to meet with George Lucas and just discuss movies with him.