Lonnie McDonald makes some history in Louisville

lonniemcdonald-joust-zanzabar-16Lonnie McDonald was recently in Louisville to promote the latest leg in his journey to score 10,000,000 points on every upright Joust machine listed in the Aurcade game tracking database.  I was fortunate enough to be onsite the night that Lonnie was at Louisville’s Zanzabar and was able to spend a little time talking to him before he settled in to begin the process of posting another 10 mil’ score.

Here’s what he had to say:

Lonnie, can you give us a quick re-cap on where you’ve been playing Joust through the years and how Louisville became one of your stops?

Back in late 1982, I was fortunate to be recognized as the world-wide Joust Champion by the Williams company (the makers of Joust).   By 1984 I had moved, and with business had little time to play, so I stopped playing. This year (2011) I turned 50, and decided to search out Joust scores and found out that Steve Sanders lived in KC, as well.  In November of 2011, I played doubles with Steve and we put up a 40,120,150 score setting the Twin Galaxies Marathon Doubles Record at the Twin Galaxies (TG) Film Festival.   Walter Day (the founder of Twin Galaxies) along with  many other TG VIPs and several other World Record Holders in other games witnessed the run..it was very cool.

In June 2011, I  decided to step it up a bit and create a new worlds record.  I’ve played Joust at a lot of ‘staple’ arcades and venues (Castles N’ Coasters, Ground Kontrol, Barcade, Pinball Hall of Fame etc.) and am working my way through the UR (upright) listing in the Aurcade database and here I am.


How did you come up with the idea to travel cross-country and “roll” every known on-location Joust?

I wanted to build on my earlier record and create the next milestone in the Joust scoring legacy.   I figured this was a logical procession and a way to further “raise the bar”, so-to-speak.  It’s my hopes that I can create some positive press for classic arcade gaming and potentially get into the Guinness Book of World Records for this effort.


How did you pick Joust “as your game”?  What drew you to it?

I’ve always liked many of the Williams games.  In the early 80’s, my roommate was a Defender guy and was very good, so I needed a different game.  Once I was introduced to Joust, I was hooked.  I appreciate the depth of game play and how the game proceeds through the levels and difficulty.  It’s just fun.


How many Joust games are you planning on playing to achieve this record?

I think the current count is 38.  I only play on the uprights.  No cocktails and no Multi-Williams.  As of 12-26-11,  I am at 20 machines and have an “East Coast Run” planned for the end of the year that should put me at 24 played.


Are you sponsored?  How do you handle this type of travel with a day-job?

I’m fortunate that my boss is a good guy (grins).  I own my own business, and with that comes a lot of scheduling freedom.  I try to plan my work and Joust travels so they can overlap where I might have a meeting and then things get a bit easier.


How do you practice for this kind of an event?

I’m fortunate that I have an upright Joust arcade cabinet at my house that I use to practice on.  I bought it from John Yates in McClean, IL, and when I say it is “museum quality” I mean it.  The game it immaculate.  I coordinated with Patrick Scott Patterson (PSP) to come up to my home in Kansas City and he did a complete “once-over” on the game and repaired it to fully-functional (and original) status.  The game is set at the current Twin Galaxies standard for singles play, so I feel that I’m doing all the things I should (and can) to ensure my practice equipment is representative of what I’d see out in the wild.

On an additional note – there are other records I am working on.  I recently became only the 3rd person in 30 years to submit a score of 1 million points or more on Joust on the “Ultra Difficult” Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings.  On those settings, you only get 5 men and no extra lives! The score – when verified – will place me in 2nd and in the like company of other gaming legends.

How long does it take you to reach 10,000,000 points?  A day, a few hours, or what?

With my rate of play, it takes between five and six hours.  A good average is 5:30.  That is a “straight through” play with no breaks anywhere in the game.  It’s tougher than you think it would be.


Do you have any additional plans to set records on other games, or is Joust “it”?

I’ve got no further plans at this time, but that could always change.  I do enjoy playing Black Tiger quite a bit, so I might decide to do something with it later on down the line.


Well Lonnie, I thank you for your time and good luck with everything! We are really glad you came here to Louisville to make it part of your tour.

Here’s some pictures from the event:

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Here’s the final moments of gameplay where Lonnie rolls Zanzabar’s Joust (at around 2:30 AM)

Lonnie scores 10 million points on Zanzabar’s upright Joust. Another one marked off the list!

Here’s some additional links for more information about Lonnie and his world-record proceedings:

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