A black belt in gaming?

Jason Lundgren reaches 1-million-point milestone
By Brandon Gustafson | Aug 07, 2019
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson Jason Lundgren loves video games, primarily vintage games and arcade games. Here he is at Another Castle Video Games in Edmonds, a spot he’s achieved some of his scores. He recently was awarded a “black belt” on HighScore.com for earning 1,000,000 points through the site’s scoring system.

The last time The Beacon spoke with Jason Lundgren, a 2001 Kamiak graduate, he and his friend, Derrick Meury, talked about living with autism with the hope of increasing autism awareness in the Mukilteo area.

Lundgren focused on the pros and cons of living with autism. One of the pros, he said, can be his memory and focus. This helps him with his passion: video games. Now, he’s got a “black belt” in gaming.

How? A lot of time, energy, and focus.

When he’s not working at Safeway or spending time with family and friends, Lundgren loves playing whatever games he can, from pinball machines to console games. He holds multiple gaming world records, such as the high score of the 1989 arcade beat-‘em-up game Final Fight.

While being a world record holder is great, Lundgren wanted to achieve something for his cumulative work.

He joined the website HighScore.com, which lets users post scores and records of their various gaming achievements, in the fall of 2016.

“I did it just to prove I’m one of the best at vintage and console gaming,” he said.

When a user submits a score, either with photo or video proof, it’s voted on by other website members who decide if  the score is legit.

“It’s to make sure no one’s lying or trolling,” Lundgren said.

A mix of the amount of votes you receive, as well as the score you submit, goes towards your cumulative website score.

Lundgren’s first score was from the 1981 arcade game “Frogger,” which he played at the now-closed Replay Café on Highway 99,  next to his work at Safeway. He also plays a lot of arcade games at Another Castle Video Games in Edmonds.

While thousands use the website, Lundgren is in the top-50 overall (ranked 47), and just last week surpassed the 1-million-point mark, which earned him the rank of “black belt” on HighScore.

“When I finally saw I got the 1 million points, I felt like a millionaire,” Lundgren said. “It was like, you have the feeling of winning the lottery.”

Lundgren, who goes by JLM101582 on HighScore, has submitted scores for games like “Final Fight,” as well as various pinball machines and older console games. In particular, Lundgren loves his Sega Genesis. He also has played a lot of “TECMO Super Bowl” (he enjoys playing with Barry Sanders, Dan Marino, and Jerry Rice) and “Street Fighter.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “When I play some of these games, it brings me back to happy times in my childhood. A lot of these games are timeless, really.”

Lundgren has some lofty goals in mind for his place on HighScore.com.

“I have to keep going so I don’t waste what I’ve done,” he said. “The next goal is to be top 10 (on the website). But I know I have to take it one step at a time. I need to get to 2 million points, then 3 million. At five million points, you get the title of ‘grand master.’ If I got that, I’d be one of the happiest people alive.”

In addition to his place on HighScore’s hierarchy, Lundgren has other lofty goals as well.

“I want to be on the Mount Rushmore of vintage gamers,” he said. “If I keep doing what I’m doing, I may end up on the same level as some of the best gamers out there. The goal is to be considered one of the best.”

While smiling, Lundgren says getting the recognition of some of his peers wouldn’t hurt, either.

“It would be so cool for people to see what I’ve done and be like, ‘I know that Jason guy! He’s a cool dude.’ ”



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