Irish gamers in Halo: Reach Guinness World Record attempt

17 Feb 2011

Four Irish students are aiming to break the current Guinness World Record for the longest video-game marathon on a first-person shooter (FPS), which currently stands at 33 hours. With their chosen game being Halo: Reach, played on the Xbox 360, the Gunna Scréach team is also raising funds for the Midlands Simon community during the event, which Microsoft has endorsed.

At 2.15pm on Friday, the Gunna Scréach (Irish for blazing guns) team kicked off its official Guinness World Record attempt in Golden Island Shopping Centre in Athlone.

Wexford native Mark Gethings and Athlone natives Tony Flynn, Lorcan McKenna and Pierce McKenna are aiming to play Halo: Reach straight through until 2.15pm this Saturday.

Speaking two hours into the record attempt from his video-gaming station in Athlone, Gethings said the team must play continuously for the next two days, with each member getting a five-minute break after each hour. He said the genesis for the idea came about when he got an edition of the Guinness World Records one year for Christmas.

“I looked at the record for the longest video game played by a first-person shooter (FPS). Three girls had won the record for playing Rainbow Six Vegas 2, so I rang Pierce McKenna and said we couldn’t have that!

“At that time this attempt was 24 hours long, but the reigning 33-hour record was only made in October 2010 by three guys in the UK. That attempt was done with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.”

Halo Reach

Halo: Reach generated more than $200m in sales in the US and Europe within 24 hours of its release in September 2010

Gethings said the team, which has a Facebook page, chose Halo: Reach, as it was the most popular game in 2010. The team’s aim is to beat the above-mentioned 33-hour attempt at 11.15pm on Friday.

“Then we hope to set a new 48-hour record by 2.15pm on Saturday.”

And each of the four players must play continuously.

“You can save your five minutes up and get a 10-minute break after two hours, or whatever. There always has to be at least one person playing, so we can’t all take our break at the same time,” he added.

But what about eating and sleeping?

Said Gethings: “Well, we can sleep during our breaks if we save them up, but we’re probably not going to sleep. You can eat while you’re playing, but you only get toilet breaks during those five-minute breaks you get each hour.”

Play head-to-head with Gunna Scréach

Fundraising for the Midlands Simon Community will be taking place in tandem with the event in Golden Island Shopping Centre, but people can also donate by playing head-to-head with the video gamers themselves over the next two days.

“Four other people can play against us and we’re charging €2 per game. There’s also a raffle with an Xbox as the prize. Microsoft donated a year’s worth of Xbox Live, so we are also going to raffle that off,” said Gethings.

Logging records for Guinness

The team also has to log all of its activity for Guinness during the attempt.

“We have two independent witnesses doing four-hour shifts for the duration of the event. We have to have photographers taking photos and the entire 48-hour event has to be recorded on video. Guinness just needs the highlights but you have to have all 48 hours in case they request it. We have three standalone cameras filming the event,” he added.

‘Keep her lit’ – Hector

Meanwhile this morning, team member Lorcan McKenna did a live interview on Breakfast with Hector on 2FM.

Hopefully, by Saturday, 19 February, the Gunna Scréach quartet will have both broken and set a new Guinness World Record for the longest video-game marathon on a first-person shooter.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic