Now, Doris Self, of Fort Lauderdale, eats, drinks and sleeps Q*Bert, the classic video game from the early 1980s, practicing day and night. And, if she breaks the Q*bert record, she’ll be history’s oldest video game world champion.
“I was the Q*bert champion in 1984 with a score of 1,112,300 points,” remembers Doris. “At that time, I was the oldest video game champ in the world at 58 years old, a fact verified by Twin Galaxies’ scorekeeper Walter Day (www.twingalaxies.com). It’s still listed in Twin Galaxies’ Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records, the gaming industry’s official book of records.”
Though Doris’ score was bested in 1985, she still retained the status of “oldest” champion until 2003 when John Lawton, 72, of New Hampshire, captured the Depthcharge title.
“I was sad when I lost the title I had held for twenty years,” laments Doris. “Then I got a call from gaming legend Billy Mitchell, who offered to loan me a Q*bert machine to practice on and win back my title. Billy made me promise that I would give up poker and practice Q*bert everyday.”
Billy Mitchell, founder of an internationally distributed hot sauce brand (Rickey’s World Famous Sauce), says: “I can recognize a champion a mile away and believe Doris can win back her title. I like helping people like Doris to excel, reaching their highest potential.”
In the video world, Mitchell, based in Hollywood, Florida, knows all about excellence. In fact, there are many who consider Mitchell the worlds most famous video game player. In the early 1980s he was the most successful video gamer listed in the U.S. edition of the Guinness Book of World Records and was proclaimed the “Player-of-the-Century” at the 1999 Tokyo Game Show. He was among a select group of champion players to appear in LIFE Magazine in January, 1983 and was a founding member of the U.S. National Video Game Team, history’s first team of professional video game players. Most notably, he has enjoyed undying notoriety for achieving history’s first “perfect” game on Pac-Man in 1999.
Thanks to Mitchell’s support, Doris is ready for her big day of truth, which comes the weekend of June 2-5, when she joins an annual gathering of classic gamers at Funspot in Weirs Beach, NH, to go for world records. “My scores will be verified in person by Twin Galaxies’ Walter Day and I must not fail,” she vows.
Doris has already played an important role in history, graduating in 1945 as a member of Eastern Airlines’ first class of airline stewardesses. Later, in 1954, while working with legendary air ace Eddie Rickenbacker, she co-organized ‘The Silver Liners,’ history’s first association for ex-stewardesses.
In light of all this, Doris says: “My bridge-playing girlfriends have no idea of all the adventures I have been through. They think my Q*bert quest is strange, but this is my life and, thanks to Billy Mitchell, I feel like I ’ve packed four lifetimes into my years and don’t plan to stop now.”