|Posted by Rob Maerz on November 12, 2014 at 1:55 PM|
Rudy Ferretti’s Vision for the Electronic Athlete
Originally published in Retrocade Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1
Say what you will about motivational coach Tony Robbins. While his teeth may hypnotize you into buying hundreds of dollars worth of DVDs and printed material, he did manage to write a good book called Awaken the Giant Within.
In this book, Tony teaches that all great ideas emanate from one’s ability to think outrageous. Therefore, if you have a vision of man travelling to Pluto, you have to think impractical. From there, you develop a comprehensive plan that will achieve your goal - in this example, perhaps utilizing technology that does not yet exist.
Enter Rudy Ferretti - a classic console multi world record holder and New Yorker who transplanted to Nevada. He’s been lobbying for the electronic athlete – a paid electronic athlete with full benefits.
As you can guess, Rudy has his naysayers. They believe that Rudy’s vision is merely a pipe dream and will never come to fruition.
But, when you consider the modern technology we take advantage of and television oversaturated with “reality TV” and cooking shows, is it that difficult to wonder that maybe he’s right?
You began gaming in 1985 at the age of 6, right?
Ferretti: The first two games I ever recall playing was Pitfall II for the Atari 2600 and Beauty and the Beast for Intellivision. Both were my family’s consoles as we always had the new and popular systems. The Atari 2600 I played first and I was so excited to play Pitfall II. I knew right away even at six that this was the hottest game for that system. I was always getting pushed into the water by the rat yet I always had a belief you could get past the rat.
Beauty and the Beast for Intellivision was much like Donkey Kong. You can get temporary invincibility and things can be thrown out of windows at you. I had come close to breaking the high score on it years back. Those two games were in fact the first two I can clearly remember and how and where I was playing to date. We had a game room with brown carpet, the TV was to the left of the doorway and we always had junk food parties and gaming with friends. Ah - the good ol’ days!
Are you an avid classic console collector?
Ferretti: Well, years back I was not into it as much. I have to thank my Dad for that one as he got me started in 1996 after I had a huge fire and lost everything. We started to go to garage sales where I got all kinds of stuff over the years for pennies on the dollar. I'm sure we could have gotten more, had I known what I know now, and I'd have a small fortune from collecting and selling.
I do collect, however I'm the type who collects and plays. Certain things I have are sealed but I keep my stuff well in order. My most valuable game is The Flintstones: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak for only $4.99 shipped and it's worth well over $200. I got that when FuncoLand was changing into GameStop. I was always a fan of mysterious games so I was reserved until a place would have a clearance or going out of business sale. Again, I should have bought more but who knew?
What is the historical significance of classic gaming?
Ferretti: Classic gaming paved the way, it put gaming on the map and the classic games have so much more variety and fun factors than today's games. The only difference is the graphics. Classics are still valuable and popular to many people today and without it you would not have anything like Wii, Xbox or PS3. That is why you should care about it. Without Commando for Atari 2600 there is no Metal Gear for NES - it's a timeline.
The same thing we’re doing now would have been done 30 years ago - we just did not have the technology. There would have been just as many people online playing Commando for Atari and other games as there are today. The new era is missing out and should go pick up an old system games. They are a lot of fun to play and they are basics for you to develop into an all around gamer.
You have numerous Twin Galaxies world records spanning several console generations. Are there any that stand out more than others? Which of these would you say was the most difficult or frustrating to achieve? Lastly, which one would you consider the easiest achievement?
Ferretti: Every time I set a record or score it's special in itself. I can honestly say nothing was easy and no score was ever done on one try. Castlevania 3 on the NES was very frustrating over the years. Lethal Weapon on the NES was crazy and the hardest ever to achieve was probably A Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES or Splatterhouse on the TurboGrafx-16.
Though I will say I have a special score on each system and I’ve learned over the years “some you keep and some you lose.” I think the easiest to achieve was probably Monster In My Pocket for NES - it's like a training type version of Castlevania.
What attributes do you possess that enables you to achieve these high scores?
Ferretti: It's a combination of skill, heart, and talent. Talent you’re born with so that can only take you so far. Skill is development - I think anyone can get good at anything to an extent. And heart: that is psychological in your mind. As you gel the three together, in any sport of competition, you get your end result: finger speed, reaction time, calculations of timing both offense and defense, figuring out how fast you can beat the game or what is needed to obtain a hard to beat score in a particular game. You have to have it all to get it but you don't have to be the best - just one of the best.
The secret is how bad you want the score and what amount of time will you put into it. That is nothing you’re given or born with and that is the special unique person in you and you only.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement thus far?
Ferretti: Years ago not only did I suck at gaming, but I can remember using cheat codes and the Game Genie. Today, I'm now third if not arguably the second best all around NES player today in the world. I hold the most max-outs and perfect scores on the NES to date - talk about coming out of nowhere in 2003.
You are one of the players that have performed the Laser Blast 1,000,000. Personally, I stopped at 600,000 because I couldn't take it anymore. What were your thoughts during the game and then after you reached 1,000,000?
Ferretti: That's a great question and I'm glad you asked. The game is easy but even at 100K I was like talk about repetitiveness. I was ready to scream and after I hit the million I threw down the controller and said I’ll never play it again.
Why do people view you as a controversial figure in the gaming community?
Ferretti: Years back I was mistreated and lied to by many big and small names in the community. When I finally tried to fix things many others were biased and spread false rumors which hurt my name and my submission status. I went on a rampage to clear my name, prove my points and I have no regrets because it was all preventable.
And what were the issues?
Ferretti: Multiple gamers, senior and chief referees taking word of mouth to ban me, tampering with the database and my scores, promises broken and not kept, score challenges not taken seriously even though I knew I was correct all along. There was retaliation such as misspelling my name in a book or not leaving a space for an autograph, excuses to why I was not part of something I should have been part of and verbally bashing my image and name. That is just a brief summary of why I have done what I did in the past and present.
I did some wrong things. I was vocal and cocky at one time but now I'm just fed up with what I see and what continues to be said about me. Unlike others, I won't sit back and take it. Also, I’m very passionate and have a vision of what I want for myself and others. But, like I said, others think they know me and my story but they have no clue. Although I'm not quiet, I'm a good person that means well and sometimes I come across as bad when it's just my New Yorker strong personality. One day I will release my story book and/or documentary as my story will be told one day.
The damage has cost me interviews, money and parts in films.
If you could fix one thing in the classic gaming community today, what would it be?
Ferretti: The bias and politics - there are great gamers whose names and accomplishments are not treated equal. All gamers need to be respected and given their recognition, fame and their turn to shine for what they do regardless of the title or who they are.
You have been vocal recently in regard to gamers being paid to play. How is this supposed to work?
Ferretti: I keep seeing TV shows of the dumbest things and I said to myself “why not?” If cooking and bowling can be this big then why not gaming?
First off, we need all games and systems to form a league. Second, obviously we need someone or a group of people who are rich and say “hey, let’s take a chance on this.” I can see it being on any sports channel being watched by the gamers, casual gamers and collective gamers.
We need sponsorships from ESPN, NBC, USA, Spike, G4, Sony, Nintendo etc. Competitions could be held at arenas or stadiums. Millionaire programmers and rich people who love gaming could help us get sponsored to pay our salaries.
I had a plan eight years back with other gamers to form a league. We could have console players against arcade players in hopes of an upset, timed competitions, most points in 45 minutes and things like that. I think FPS need to be involved but the right way - not five on five but one on one cage matches which is the true test.
Other major league sports could help us out. Alex Rodriguez earns 28 million a year to bat .120 in the playoffs. Really, can you imagine how good I and others could be getting paid for this? I feel a fair salary is $250,000 a year for any sports person - not millions with potential to earn bonus.
Just like any sport, you have to be one of the best to be considered a professional. You have to throw, pitch, hit, run and catch to be a pro ballplayer. You don't have to be the best at all positions but you have to know them all. Gaming is the same: you’ve got to play it all to be a pro. Period. And that is my vision.
I'm really shocked that it's not a reality yet. I'm feeling like gaming is stuck at the NCAA levels with no future. We should get paid because we are the best gamers in the world - electronic athletes. We are the companies, we make the scores and we play so it's time we’re taken care of. If we stop, there is no gaming, no money and no players. Do you think pro sports players will play for free? Never!
There are the naysayers out there who believe that getting paid to play just isn't realistic, especially at $250,000 per year. First, do you understand how others may see this as a fairy tale and secondly how do you convince them that this can be done?
Ferretti: I can understand why some would see it as a fairy tale. Many people in this world see things black and white, are closed minded and all the other leagues have failed or are failing. It's just like science: it's only what we have done and know not what we can do and learn.
If I would have told you 150 years ago that baseball players will get paid millions whether they win, lose, suck or shine you know you would laugh. We should get paid because just like any trade, talent or skill we are electronic athletes. We spend just as many hours, years and days on end to be the best and develop like anyone else including heath and injury risks. For us to perform and show the world our greats we should be rewarded and compensated for all we do. If Bobby Flay can get paid to cook and eat at a throw down, and Alex Rodriguez can bat .120 in the playoffs (and still get paid), then why should gamers not be paid to entertain the world?
People say it will never happen - well it should happen. Maybe not $250,000 a year to start but at least $100,000 a year with full benefits and bonuses. The games and companies make so many gazillions of dollars, so why not give a billion to start up a league and televise it? That will pay for itself. If people watch food cookers and bowlers they will watch gamers. Do the league one year - just one and I know it will be around year after year. And if not - we tried, right?
Not everything is realistic but anything is possible. It can all be altered - it's called making history and breaking the barrier of the impossible and improbable. People said we would never have a black president and the casino odds were 5000-1 in 2007 and 500-1 in 2008. But, he won and won in a landslide.
I had the Idea of a professional kickball league in 1993. I was laughed at and made fun of yet since 1998 WAKA (World Adult Kickball Association) is a reality. I did not create it but I came up with the idea first I'm sure. I will never stop believing - it can and will be a reality someday. We work just as hard as anyone else in sports so it's time we make it our time. I hope before I'm gone it's a reality so gamers can be just as lazy as the rest of the athletes, make money, not have to work a regular job and instead have a dream job. I think gamers are worth even more money than the $250,000. If we come together it can and will happen.