The metaphysics of Pac-Man  SEP 10 2010

This profile of Billy Mitchell and other classic video game record holders starts off as most do, with descriptions of Mitchell's hair, the dizzying scores, the rivalries, and Mitchell's perfect game of Pac-Man:

Another player named Rick Fothergill had almost beaten Billy to the mark, but he fell short by nine dots, or 90 points. Fothergill is Canadian, and his challenge made Billy redouble his efforts, because Billy thinks of his Pac-Man prowess as a patriotic symbol, a matter of national pride not unlike like the space race. Billy was so determined to beat Canada that he forgot to eat for several days. He had set out on his quest July 1 -- Canada Day -- and eventually executed 30,000 precisely calculated turns for a perfect run just in time to celebrate America's own Day of Independence on July 4. "It's like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon," he told reporters afterward. "No matter how many people accomplish the feat, it will always be Armstrong who will be remembered for doing it first. And, best of all, it was an American." To emphasize the point, Billy began using a new set of high-score initials: U S A.

But then, it starts to get deep. This is a great piece and not just for gamers. (thx, @asimone)

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