Game to set a record
Okan Kaya played five and a half days of Black Ops II in a bit under a week.
We have seen a couple of stories in the new recently about young Korean men playing video games for 40 hours and then dropping dead, so a new world record for continuous video game playing seems like a somewhat foolhardy venture.
Nevertheless, Okan Kaya, a sales manager for a Sydney network cabling company, set out to beat that record last week, and didn't stop until almost a week later, with an official tally of 135 hours and 50 minutes. I spoke to Kaya a couple of days after the record-beating effort, once he had rested up thoroughly.
Of course, the obvious first question is "Why? Why do this to yourself?" His reply seems to be a variation on George Mallory's take on scaling Everest "because it was there".
"Two years ago my wife got me a copy of the latest Guinness Records book for Christmas, and the first section was all about gaming," he recalled. "There was a section on video gaming marathons, and I thought I wouldn't mind giving that a try, maybe with the next Call of Duty game, so I submitted my idea to Guinness."
It took eighteen months to come together, and Kaya had to keep switching games. "Originally it was going to be Black Ops, then Modern Warfare 3," he said. "The problem was I couldn't find a venue. This year, though, my boss was kind enough to host it at my work, so I got to do it with Black Ops II."
Despite the wording of this Guinness-bestowed title, Kaya did not technically play non-stop. Under rules agreed to by Guinness judges, he was granted ten minutes of rest time per hour, which could be saved up and used in large chunks so he could get some sleep. "I had to play for the full 50 minutes to get the ten minute break - if I only played for 45 minutes, it wouldn't count."
You can do the maths for yourself. If he took no breaks at all during an entire day, he could only accrue a maximum of three hours of rest time. The agreed rules stated that these rest periods could only be used for toilet breaks and sleep. "I ate and drank while I was playing," he explained. "Three hours was the biggest sleep I got; every other day I only got an hour and a half or two hours."
I asked Kaya if he had heard about the deaths in Korea. "Yeah, but those guys played forty hours non-stop, no rest or exercise, no food, no water. I had scheduled food and drink, and regular check-ups from a doctor. If he ever got a result he didn't like, he was authorised to stop the whole thing immediately. I also moved around and got lots of exercise, and played a lot while walking on a StairMaster."
As for what he ate and drank, it was mostly ice-cold water and light, healthy meals. "I didn't want to eat anything too heavy that would leave me feeling sleepy and weighed down," he said. As for caffeine, he barely touched it. "One of my friends in Tasmania send me an eighteen-pack of Red Bull. I drank three of them, but the rest was drunk by the witnesses. I was worried that caffeine would have gotten my heart pumping too fast, and that might have caused the doctor to end it."
Kaya reached 29th in the world in the Black Ops II online rankings, and you could be forgiven for thinking he would never want to play the damned game ever again, but you would be wrong. "Oh, I'll definitely play Black Ops II again," he said. "I'll stay away from it for at least a month, but it's a great game."
- James "DexX" Dominguez
DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez