— A group of six gamers in the Netherlands has proven that you really can play video games non-stop for days on end without kicking the bucket — sleep be damned.
The gamers broke the Guinness World Record for non-stop gaming by playing for 50 hours straight over the past weekend.
The last time a mere mortal reportedly tried to play a game for that long, he died of a heart attack. No really.
The six Dutch gamers began playing Rockstar's new wild West game "Red Dead Redemption" on PlayStation 3 machines starting Friday night in Rotterdam. The players, all between the ages of 22 and 36,were brothers Edward and Maykel Leest, Sven de Vries, Renzo Bos, Robbie van Eijkeren and Marcel van Waardenburg.
Though the record-setting event started out as a last-man-standing kind of competition, there's nothing like video games and sleepless nights to bring people together. As the competition progressed, the Dutch gamers’ solidarity grew and they unanimously decided to end the marathon together after they hit the 50-hour mark.
"The contestants entered as rivals but left as friends," said Gaz Deaves, official adjudicator of Guinness World Records who was on hand to oversee the marathon.
The event was staged as part of a promotion for the new TwistDock docking station — a device from European audio/video company Vogels that keeps game controllers continuously charged.
Tjerk Mellink, a spokesperson for Vogels, said that the players were allowed to take short breaks. According to Guinness World Record rules, the competitors were allowed a 10-minute break for every hour played and could accumulate break time. For example, one player managed to accumulate time enough for an hour-and-a-half nap, Mellink said.
Two medics were on hand to keep an eye on the players' health as well. Meanwhile the gamers were tested to make sure no drugs were used to help keep them awake. And though the players were allowed to drink coffee, they were not allowed to drink energy drinks such as Red Bull, Mellink said.
What? No Red Bull? How is that even possible?
"We felt Red Bull is so full of caffeine, it's just bad for you if you use too much," Mellink said. "We wanted them to do this on their own strength. Our main goal was to keep them healthy."
And what did the men get for their sleepless nights and cramped fingers? A cash prize of 1,000 Euros (about $1,296 US bucks), six TwistDocks, and (most importantly) Guinness World Record bragging rights.
You can watch some of last weekend's record-breaking in action here, but you'll only know what they're saying if you speak Dutch.
The previous official world record for non-stop gaming was set in September 2009 by Chirantan Patnaik from India who played another Rockstar game — "Grand Theft Auto IV" — for 40 hours and 20 minutes.
No word yet on whether the Dutch gamers will now attempt to break the world's record for longest time spent asleep.