For most of my life, I’ve chased one seemingly simple goal: 100,000 points on Galaga.

Every time I played Galaga in the arcade, I’d do pretty well, but as I approached 100k, I would always choke. I’ve made it to the 80,000-98,000 range countless times, but for some reason, would always get hit by a stray missile or a bug that circled around and hit my ship from the underside.

I did score over 100k once, on a Galaga/Ms. Pac-Man cocktail machine at a Buffalo Wild Wings; however, I could tell as I played that the difficulty had been turned way down. It was way too easy for me to reach that score (and I wasn’t just “on fire”), so I never really counted that one.

Now, I know there are loads of players who can do millions in their sleep, and 100k doesn’t seem like that lofty of a goal. For reference, the current world record is 20,980,450, and was set by Jordan Dorrington of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in February of 2020. This unseated Armando Gonzales’ 2018 score of 17,684,050, which famously beat the previous long-standing world record of 15,999,990, set way back in 1989 by Stephen Krogman.

However, looking at Twin Galaxies’ leaderboards for Galaga, as of this writing (Sept. 16, 2020), only the top 33 scores (out of 69) are over 1 million. In fact, only the top 49 are even over 100k; 50th place is currently 99,040.

Obviously, TG doesn’t represent everyone who plays the game — not even close. I’m sure if everyone submitted their runs, there would be a top 100 full of million-point-plus scores. But as it stands now, since it’s there as a reference, it makes 100k feel like a worthy, yet obtainable, goal.

Anyway, after all these years, and thanks to my new Arcade 1up Retropie build, I finally hit 100k on Galaga (Namco original) on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. 101,100, to be exact!

It’s still not original arcade hardware, but it’s as close as I’m going to get without having a Galaga machine in my collection. And it’s great for practice — you know, for when we can actually go out and do things in public again, like play Galaga at an arcade.

Anyway, the night I hit 100k, I actually felt like I could have done better. As with all games, it takes a lot of playing to teach your brain the behaviors of the game and learn how to react to (or in some cases, manipulate) them. Unfortunately, I haven’t had more time to play since then (yay adulting) — and it’s worth noting that those mega-million-point scores take hours and hours and hours to achieve, something I definitely do not have time for.

In the meantime, we can all take some tips from current world champion Jordan Dorrington to help us out:

So for now, I’m proud of my personal best, but there’s always another mountain to climb. My next goal is to do 100k consistently, and hopefully improve from there.

It also didn’t hurt when Armando Gonzales congratulated me on my little achievement on Instagram πŸ™‚

If that’s not a nice motivational booster, I don’t know what is!

What’s your Galaga high score? Got any tips or tricks? What’s your current high score goal on any game? Talk about it in the comments!

UPDATE: Improvement.