Chicago-Area Coin-Op Archive

Andrew Breyer, Competitive Player

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In the early days of home video game systems, Atari hosted tournaments where the best players competed to be the world champion for different games on its systems. One such player, Andrew “Andy” Breyer, competed in the world championship for Asteroids on the Atari 2600 in 1981. Breyer went on to win the world championship in the competition in Washington D.C. With such a great feat, he would serve as a monumental person in the history of Coin-Op in Chicago.

Breyer’s interest in gaming began with Pong, one of the very first arcade games produced and developed by Atari in 1972. He enjoyed playing games that allowed for twitch reaction and skill. Games, such as Phoenix, Space Invaders, and Galaga, all caught his attention. Gaming grew into a passion for Breyer, which worked well for his competitive nature.  He usually attended an arcade located in the mall about one and a half miles away from his home. This allowed for easy access to the arcade for long hours without much interruption. Soon after the release of the Atari 2600, Breyer obtained the popular gaming consoles and indulged in many of the first games. One such game being the infamous Asteroids.

Soon after the release of Asteroids, Atari hosted a world competition for the game. Breyer attended the regional competition for his area. The game was played on several Atari 2600s available at the competition center. Participants stood in long lines to wait for a chance to attempt to get the high score. Each participant had several chances to get the highest score before time ran out. In the regional competition, Breyer faced many fierce competitors. Breyer sought to obtain at least an Asteroids t-shirt which was rewarded for a certain score.  He tried several times before reaching the highest score in the competition which he obtained by a very small margin. This success rewarded Breyer not only with a Asteroids Deluxe, but also a chance to fly to Washington D.C. to compete in the world championship. 

After winning the regional competition, Breyer practiced Asteroids as often as possible before making the flight to D.C. After arriving, Breyer even opted out of free lunch to practice for the final competition. Participants in this competition received two chances to place a high score. The scores would be added together to determine the world champion. Breyer led the first round with the highest points. The other participants did not come close to his score. The second round was more troubling, as he lost many of his ships very early on and used his final ship to place a decently high score. With the completion of this competition, Breyer was named world champion. The competition did not mark the end of Breyers fame. About a year later, Breyer would be asked to participate in a commercial to popularize some Atari products and be reasonably compensated for his work. 

Today, Breyer is an IT manager, participates in a band, and delves into arcade games now and then. He is very much into the old arcade games and not interested in the newer video game industry. His experience as a world champion and competing in arcade game competitions makes him a valuable member in the history of Coin-Op. The insights he provides are very interesting and give a unique view on the industry. Learn more about Andrew “Andy” Breyer and his world championship  experience in the provided interview.


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