Ray Mueller, Gravitar World Record Holder, 1982 - 2006
    4,722,200 points on 12/4/82, a score which reigned for 24 years!


Dan Coogan, of Phoenix, AZ set a new Gravitar world record, scoring 8,029,450 points on 12/23/2006, playing for 23 hours and 15 minutes. The previous world record was 4,722,200, which reigned for 24 years, set by Ray Mueller of Boulder, CO on 12/4/1982, playing for 12 hours and 21 minutes.

I originally posted this page about Ray Mueller because I wondered who held the world record for Gravitar. Once I found out, I tried for 3+ years to top his amazing score, and I finally did -- but that does not take anything away from what he accomplished in Dec. 1982. He played for more than 12 hours at a Chuck E. Cheese.

When I played my game, I had total control over light, sound, temperature -- Ray had to play the game of his life in a public venue without any of those controls, and that's what is so incredible!

I plan on leaving this page up as a tribute to Ray Mueller's amazing game and talent at the game of Gravitar.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ray in person at his home outside of Boulder, CO and playing a few games of Gravitar with on October 15, 2006.



Have you ever wondered who holds the world record in Gravitar -- 
Well, apparently it's Ray Mueller, of Boulder Colorado.

I emailed Ray about the web site and he responded (on May 29, 2003) with this email.

May 2003

email from Ray Mueller

"Congratulations on both meeting your goal (completing the Positive Gravity-Invisible Landscape)
and on a great looking website.

Yours is the most complete site on Gravitar
I have ever come across. It is clean, complete,
and not too cluttered.

You must have put almost as much time in to developing your web page as you did getting past the 4th level."

~ Ray Mueller, Gravitar world record holder



Dan Coogan & Ray Mueller


    Ray's original post to RGVAC (below) is how I discovered him through a Google search, followed by a series of emails back and forth from me to Ray and back to me.

From: rmueller 
Subject: World Record holder seeks advice on finding Gravitar 
Newsgroups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting 
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 1999 

During my high school and college years, I deposited thousands of 
quarters and tokens into arcade games. 

In 1983 I spent 12 hours at a Chuck E. Cheese getting 4,700,000 on a Gravitar. I was recently informed by Twin Galaxies that the record still stands. 

This has made me interested in finding a Gravitar machine to keep in my home. I was also a fanatic for Lady Bug and Space Panic. 

What is the best way to go about finding these machines? 
What is a fair price to pay? 
Are replacement parts and art work still available? 

Thanks in advance for pointing me in the right direction. 

-Ray Mueller 
Boulder, CO 






Front

Page 82
Dec. 1983 Video Games magazine

You can see Ray's high score (highlighted) on page 82.

. . . look on the left side ~
5th game from the bottom is the Gravitar listing


(Thanks to Eric Clayberg for the use of the jpegs)



* Here is some additional proof to Ray's amazing game (scroll down to December 1982):
* Page archived, as original link is no longer working

"On Saturday, December 4, Mr. Raymond Mueller, 21, scores 4,722,200 points on GRAVITAR by Atari Inc. after playing the game for twelve hours and 21 minutes at Chuck E. Cheese in Boulder, Colorado"



Here are the initial emails Ray and I exchanged:
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Subject: Gravitar 
Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002
From: Dan Coogan 
Organization: Coogan Photographic 
To: Ray Mueller 

Hi Ray, 

I was searching the Google archives for info on Gravitar and found your interesting posting (4/22/99). I've been playing Gravitar in Mame for a few months and just love it. At 38, I played most of the classic games when they were in the arcades (and paid for a few operators to buy their games, I'm sure) but never had played Gravitar. 

In fact I love playing it so much I ended up buying one from Derek Litton in MA -- here's the actual Gravitar game from Derek's web site 

Currently I own 4 uprights, but 3 are waiting to be picked up, so I only have Donkey Kong Junior (my all time favorite, bought in July 2001) here in my home. 

I just purchased a Taito Crazy Climber (from Howard Cheatle in PA), Berzerk (from Mark McMasters in GA) and Gravitar (from Derek Litton in MA ) -- these 3 will be delivered by Eric's in early March, I can't wait. 

So here's the Big Question - How do you score over 4 Million+ points on such an amazing game? It's difficult and I love it, and have finally scored 30,900 in Mame, so 4,700,000 seems to be an unattainable score. 

Thanks for any advice/tips you can offer for playing this amazing game. 

Best, 

Dan Coogan 


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Subject: Re: Gravitar 
Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002
From: Ray Mueller
To: Dan Coogan

Hi Dan, 

It is always good to hear from another Gravitar fan. It looks like your machine is in excellent shape. I'm still looking around for one of my own. I used to have an upright Ms. Pac Man and a cocktail Defender, but sold them both due to new additions to the family and the resulting lack of space. I see this as a temporary set- back only, and have plans to start building my collection again soon. 

I find it interesting that few people became interested in Gravitar when it first came out, and so many arcades converted them to Space Duel or Black Widow. Some of my friends thought it was just too hard, but I found it to be a challenge and a welcome relief from most other games that were easily mastered and became so repetitive. 

I find playing the Mame version more difficult because of having to use the keyboard for the controls. The secret to Gravitar is getting so familiar with the placement of the buttons that moving your ship around is just second nature, like driving a car. Since you have the left, right, thrust, fire and shield buttons, if you have to stop and think about what you are doing, you will most likely get blown away. 

Other than that, there are some strategy tips I can share with you. For instance, you can go to the easy planets, steal their fuel without destroying all the turrets, then attempt a harder planet. This should give you plenty of extra fuel if that is what you need. When you then destroy one planet, all the fuel cells and turrets get replenished on the remaining planets, so you have even more fuel available to you. 

I think that once you get good with controlling your ship, you will find that you have more than enough ships and ample fuel to get though most systems. There are also some ways to get the maximum number of points per system, like destroying the hard ones first, if getting a higher score is your objective. 

The big road block for most people is getting past the last planet with reverse gravity and invisible planet walls, and that takes a lot of practice, but again, there are some tricks that can make it easier. 

Let me know how your Gravitar works once it arrives, and I would be happy to help you past any sticky points, If I can.

Thanks for the message! 

~Ray 


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Subject: Re: Gravitar web site
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003
From: Dan Coogan 
Organization: Coogan Photographic
To: Ray Mueller

Hi Ray,

Well I finally made it all the way into the final screen of the Negative Gravity/Invisible Landscape. It took about a year, but I finally did it. Current high score is 414,350. I've made it through the Positive Gravity/Invisible Landscape about 6 times now, and I didn't think I was ever going to get through it, so I'm pretty happy with the progress.

So I decided to set up a Gravitar web site and wanted your feedback before I announce it to the newsgroup. Here is the url: http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/gravitar.html

I'm still working on the Game overview page (still needs some work) & the screen captures (got 3 of the 11 planets done, + I need to do the red planet and a few other things, and I need to do the html coding for all those pages), but I hope to get that done in the next few weeks.

Let me know what you think and if you have any thing you want to add -- I'll be more than happy to add it.

best,
Dan


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Subject: Re: Gravitar web site
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003
From: Ray Mueller 
To: Dan Coogan
References: 1

Dan,
Congratulations on both meeting your goal and on a great looking website. Yours is the most complete site on Gravitar I have ever come across. It is clean, complete, and not too cluttered. You must have put almost as much time in to developing your web page as you did getting past the 4th level. The flow chart is a nice touch.

The only improvement I can think to offer would be to post a video file that shows some screen play. That is the only way I can think of to impress upon folks how smooth you have to get with ship control to make it through an invisible planet with tunnels. It could also show the techniques such as leaving the fuel cells as landmarks and shooting to find the walls.

I also have to admit to you that I have yet to get a machine of my own. I found someone fairly close with a Gravitar in fairly good shape, but I have yet to take the plunge. He wants $500 for it, and it would probably take another $200 to get it in perfect shape, which seems to be the going rate these days based on my eBay watches. In fact, I have been quite surprised how much demand there is for Gravitar machines and parts. For a game that has been highly criticized as being too difficult to play, it has to be one of the hottest items on eBay. Although I suppose that could also be due to its scarcity.

I did mange to get a Lady Bug PCB, and plan on doing a rebuild on it with my kids once they get a bit older.

Well, you have rekindled my desire to get a game and start practicing again, soon.

Good luck! I will keep your web page bookmarked and check back often.

~Ray


This page last updated: 12/31/06
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