Craig Glenday and Stephen Daultrey reveal all about the new Guinness World Records books
The latest edition of the world’s biggest selling annual book aims to take record-breaking to a new dimension with Guinness World Records 2017 showcasing more than 4,000 records.
The new book includes around 3,000 new and updated achievements, and 1,000 classic favourites, along with many never-before-seen photos.
Also out now is the new Guinness World Records 2017: Gamer’s Edition, featuring all the latest facts and stats from all your favourite videogames. The 10th edition includes a special Star Wars section, as well as online gaming legends, such as Ali-A, Syndicate and DanTDM.
We caught up with Guinness World Records Editor-in Chief Craig Glenday and Stephen Daultrey, the Editor of the Gamer’s Edition, to reflect on what it’s like to work for Guinness World Records and what their favourite records are from this year’s books.
How long have you been an editor at Guinness World Records?
CG: I’ve been at Guinness World Records since 2002 and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2004.
I started off as the Head of Editorial, responsible primarily for the website, and in 2004 the new position of Editor-in-Chief was created to encompass the book and website.
SD: I’ve been haunting the Guinness World Records HQ with my ghostly presence for nearly 18 months now. (Disclaimer: I’m not really a ghost, it’s just my English gaming tan).
What’s the best thing about your job?
CG: It’s wonderful to work for a book that everyone around the world knows.
If I ever contact anyone about anything, I only have to say I’m from Guinness World Records and suddenly doors open.
We have such global brand recognition that there’s almost no country in the world that doesn’t know about us – even in countries where we don’t sell the book.
But really the best thing about the job is getting to meet these incredible record-holders.
They are, by definition, the most amazing, inspiring, talented and interesting people on the planet, and we get to deal with them on a daily basis, whether Hollywood stars, Olympic athletes or kids from the local school. In our book, everyone’s equal.
SD: I absolutely love researching new records, and discovering all the amazing things that people are doing in the world of gaming. It’s such a diverse and creative industry, unquestionably more so than any other industry in the world (sorry movie-makers).
We now have expert, near-superhuman gamers who play videogames in all sorts of crazy ways, whether it’s blindfolded or using absurd controllers – such as playing a fantasy action game with a microphone!
I mean if you’re going to be attacked by a big, snarly dragon the last thing you’ll want to do is just shout at it, right?
But gaming isn’t just about playing games. There are all those wonderfully talented geniuses who make the games, pushing both their imaginations and technology to the limit.
So recognizing innovation in the field of development is also exciting, too, whether it’s for the Longest game script or the Most polygons in a spaceship model.
But probably the best thing about my job is seeing a year’s work come to fruition in the book itself.
It’s like what that grey-haired dude in the A-Team says: “I love it when a plan comes together”.
I reckon that seeing the finished book arrive back from the printers is probably akin to winning a medal in the Olympic games, although I wasn’t that great at athletics so I’m not really sure.
What’s the most interesting record you have seen since working at Guinness World Records?
CG: Gosh, I’ve witnessed or adjudicated so many, it’s really difficult to choose just one! I’ve been lucky enough to measure the world’s shortest and tallest people over the past ten years, I’ve weighed the world’s heaviest man and woman, and lengthy beards, moustaches, feet and fingernails.
I’ve also travelled a lot – to the sea bed off Norway with Katie Melua, to (nearly!) Antarctica with Fall Out Boy (we got snowed in for a week) and to 43,000 ft with Kim Wilde and Tony Hadley!
The most memorable night, though, had to be presenting Michael Jackson his certificate for Thriller – the best-selling single of all time – at the World Music Awards… with the help of my glamorous assistant Beyoncé! A crazy experience!
SD: The new space simulation videogame No Man’s Sky is programmed to generate its own universe, which is filled with more than 18 QUINTILLION PLANETS (!!!), which you can actually land on and explore.
And it’s not like each one of those planets is some boring, barren wasteland - they each have their own weather, wildlife, plants, landscapes… everything!
Apparently if you were to visit every planet in the game just for one second it would take you 585 billion years. So there you go, folks, that’s a really impressive record right there! Because everyone wants to play the same game for 585 billion years, right?
If you could hold any record you have come across, what would it be?
CG: Well, I’ve been a record-holder once myself. Before I was Editor, I held the world Curly-Wurly-stretching record!
It was really enlightening to see record-breaking from both sides of the fence, but the rules at Guinness World Records mean that staff now can’t be eligible for records.
The Curly Wurly record is now over twice the length I achieved and there’s nothing I can do about it! (Well, apart from quit the job!)
SD: Well I’d love to be the first invisible man but I haven’t come across that one yet.
Maybe for scoring the most Premier League football goals, as long as every one of those goals was scored for my beloved team West Ham United FC.
Unfortunately, I’m in my 30s now so I think that’s very unlikely to happen. (Unless I do it in the FIFA videogame, of course)…
What is your favourite record from this year’s book?
CG: Aarggh, don’t make me choose! Okay, if I have to pick just one, I’d say the Largest loop-the-loop in a car.
This phenomenal record was inspired by the toy car loops that you could build as a child, only this time scaled up to human height!
The fearless Terry Grant worked out what he had to do to drive his Jaguar F-PACE along the track then up and around the mammoth 19-m-tall (62-ft) loop without falling off. It’s hair-raising stuff but a total thrill to watch.
It also symbolises the passion, dedication and determination one needs to be a Guinness World Records superstar.
SD: There are so many cool ones, it’s so hard to pick. I was gripped by the man with the largest videogame collection (17,466 titles including a huge pile of Star Wars ones!), the youngest gamer to earn $1 million in pro gaming – because pro gaming is huge and very, very lucrative right now – and we even have the first game developer in space.
But my favourite is probably the special FX genius who built a Batman costume and then spent several months loading up his creation with more than 20 functioning gadgets, such as Bat-respirators and grapnel guns.
So his record is for the most functioning gadgets on a cosplay costume. It sounds a bit niche but cosplay is actually this massive subculture, and the suit genuinely looks amazing and took an awful lot of skill to create.
You should see the photo-shoot we did. Batman himself would be impressed. The Joker less so… He’d more likely be a bit scared. Yeah you go running now Joker…
Is there new content each year?
CG: We receive about 1,000 new claims a week, and even though only a very small percentage of these make it through to being official records, we still have too many to fit them all in.
We try to maintain a balance of about 75% new and updated, and 25% classics. Each new generation of reader comes at this material fresh, so they’re always interested in the historical absolutes – the tallest man ever, the highest mountain, the hottest place on Earth, and so on. So yes, it’s packed with new material every year, and we strive to have 100% all-new photography.
SD: Dude, it’s virtually all new content: new photo-shoots, new records, new games, new features, new interviews, new photos of me... Oh, and we have a special STAR WARS section, too! That’s very, very new… and exciting! Of course, if you’re referring to the records, I reckon you’d be looking at 75-80% new content, including both new categories and updates. It’s a lot of fresh stuff. Bag yourself a copy and lose yourself…
How do you decide what records make the book?
CG: We try to hold a mirror to the world, so we choose records based on what’s happening at the time. New technology is always providing us with records – 3D printing, streaming videos, digital music, etc – and we respond to trends and fashions, hence records on selfies and twerking! We’ve always tracked the things that human beings do – it’s part of why we’re still here and still so popular, as we’re relevant to contemporary readers.
SD: The record has to be something that you can measure such as a score or an age, it has to be something that can theoretically be beaten (unless it’s a “first”), it has to be something that represents genuine achievement, it should be something that inspires others, it should be something that has a great story behind it, and ideally it should also be something that makes you go “OH, WOW!!!” And then phone up all your mates to tell them about it so that they can shout admiring expletives, too.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to break a record?
CG: Read the book first! Seriously, this is not just a sales plug! It’s better to see the kinds of record that we accept before you make an application. Understanding what we like and how we operate can save you a lot of time in the long run.
And always contact us before you make the attempt, as you’ve got to be sent the guidelines that all claimants must follow. Then, once you have the guidelines, just dedicate yourself to practising and improving your efforts so you can become the best you can be – and hopefully the best in the world.
SD: Find something you’re good at, look for a quirky angle, and then put your absolute heart and soul into it. If you’re a pro gamer, for example, or what’s known as a “speed-runner” (somebody who completes games as fast as they can) then it’s all about patience, dedication and honing your skills through practice.
But as I said earlier, gaming isn’t just about playing. Why not unlock your imagination and push your creative and mathematical talents to the limit, and break a technology record instead? Make a game that has the largest character model in it, the most narrative choices, or, um, the most camels in it… It’s about generating great ideas and investing your heart and energy into them.
This year’s theme is space, how did you come up with the idea?
CG: There were so many fascinating and inspiring stories this year in the news about space and space travel.
The re-classifying of Pluto, the confirmation of gravitational waves, the successful landing of the first re-usable rocket, the first cappuccino brewed on the International Space Station, the longest time spent in space by a female astronaut, and so on.&
Also, NASA announced that their astronaut training programme had received a record number of claims, suggesting that “space” is more popular than ever.
Perhaps people just want to escape Earth – and who can blame them!? It was a true honour, too, to finally get the chance to present moon pioneer Buzz Aldrin with a certificate for the Apollo 11 mission. Meeting Buzz – and another inspiring human being, Commander Chris Hadfield, he of the first pop video in space – was a truly unforgettable experience. As I said before, it’s this part of the job I love the most, and I was truly indulged this year with some truly remarkable record-holders.
As the Gamer’s edition is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, can we expect to see anything special in the book to celebrate?
SD: Ah yes, we’ve all got our party hats on for this one. We have a recurring 10 Years of Gamer’s theme throughout the book where we flag the most iconic and intriguing records from our previous editions.
We have an Awesome Anniversaries feature looking at the hit games that are celebrating landmark birthdays with us, so that’s top favourites such as Final Fantasy VII, GoldenEye 007 and Gran Turismo.
The YouTube superstar Ali-A has provided us with a special guest foreword where he wishes us all a happy birthday (lovely feller is Ali-A, and he’s a huge star in gaming and a record-holder too!).
Anything else? Well, there are lots of pictures of me in the book. That’s another great way to celebrate. Haha!