A Nanaimo man captured the coveted Lasagna Cup and is the undisputed world champion at the video game Garfield Kart.
Andrew Panton recently completed a sweep of the Xbox game Garfield Kart: Furious Racing, setting the world record on all 16 courses in the game.
The 25-year-old is a content creator for the gaming website Achievement Hunter and a lifelong gamer. He was formerly a high-level Halo player, setting a scoring record in Halo 3’s Grifball mode and winning the first international tournament for that category at a PAX gaming convention in the U.S.
Panton, in an e-mail interview with the News Bulletin, said he picked up Garfield Kart because he loves the comic and he wanted to get into less-violent video games.
“I was looking for something that was a little bit silly but also very approachable, and Garfield Kart fit that perfectly,” he said.
Though Garfield Kart doesn’t have as competitive a gaming community as the more popular racing game Mario Kart, “it’s a good product,” said Panton, with more gamers getting into it.
After working to set records on 15 out of the 16 courses, the last track to challenge Panton was Catz in the Hood, the opener in the Lasagna Cup race series.
“Catz in The Hood took me weeks to get the time on because it’s so simplistic people had perfected it…” he said. “[It] leaves zero room for error. The real pressure is maintaining that across three laps with the pressure building with each turn. It doesn’t matter if you are perfect for 98 per cent of a run if in that final two per cent, something goes wrong.”
Finally, on a Monday – “Garfield’s least favourite day,” Panton noted – he smashed the record by more than a second and a half, steering Odie around the streets with pixel-perfect turns to finish three laps in 1:10.776.
Panton said achieving his goal of having all of the world’s fastest times for the game “was a big moment” for him.
“My friends and I joke that it was like climbing a lasagna mountain. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but after weeks of practice and many days and nights of failure, I did it,” he said.
Panton will continue to defend his records in Garfield Kart, but he’s already started thinking about what’s next and wants to challenge himself with “incredibly difficult” new gaming goals and try for new records.
“My hope with sharing this story is that it encourages others to pursue whatever dream or goal they have regardless of how big or small it is,” he said.
Panton said the average person doesn’t have any idea how much time and dedication it takes to reach world-record calibre in video games, but he said that doesn’t matter – what’s most important in gaming communities is making people feel welcome and encouraged.
“It doesn’t matter if you are into competitive shooters like Rainbow Six Siege or just want to relax while building a farm in Stardew Valley, you can always find an audience or community of equally minded people,” Panton said. “If someone goes onto a with a completely open mind, it’s impossible not to find something that hooks you, and the number of people willing to try increases daily.”