Posts Tagged ‘Billy Mitchell’

Man vs. Snake: The Long & Twisted Tale of Nibbler review

manvssnake-coverAt the beginning of March, I had the opportunity to attend the Omaha Film Festival at the invitation of Tim McVey to watch a showing of Man vs. Snake: The Long & Twisted Tale of Nibbler by Andrew Seklir & Tim Kinzy. It is an opportunity I am glad I was able to participate in.

Man vs. Snake: The Long & Twisted Tale of Nibbler (from here referred to as MvS) tells the tale of Tim McVey and being the first person to set a billion points on a video game. Nibbler was the first game to have a counter that rolled over 999,999,999.

The documentary discusses how Tim decided to set the record and first accomplished it when he was 16. It goes from there to talk about how Enrico Zanetti, from Italy, beat the score, which Tim found out 25 years after the score had been beat, thinking he had held the record all along when it had been Enrico instead.

The documentary covers not only the history of the original record setting events, but Tim and others attempts to achieve or significantly beat the billion points score. It covers the challenges they faced, especially for Tim trying to go after the world record and marathon a game while in his forties. It also covered other Nibbler score contenders, including but not limited to Elijah Hater and Rick Carter.

Many familiar faces from King of Kong are in the movie as well, including Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, which is fitting since Tim set the score in the original Twin Galaxies arcade.

We were told the ninety minute film was created from more than 500 hours of footage shot over several years.

manvssnake-screen-1As I’m loathe to spoil the movie for anyone, so I won’t talk about how it ended.

That being said, I thought they told a really good story without there having to be a bad guy to make the story good. This is very different from King of Kong and other documentaries where they needed a bad guy to further the story along. This documentary had several victors and recognized many individuals for their accomplishments.

I enjoyed the movie and I think most gamers, both classic and modern, would appreciate the story and the history behind the movie. I really enjoyed the ending of the movie – when you watch it, be sure to watch it through the credits.

The movie concluded with a Q&A with Tim, his wife Tina, Pat and Glenn from Star Worlds Arcade and Walter Day. A transcription of the Q&A will be available on this site later this week. Trading cards commemorating the event were available for individuals to pick up.

man-vs-snake-the-long-and-twisted-tale-of-nibbler-arcade-cabinetIt was also announce that Tim McVey was one of the individuals being inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in Ottumwa, Iowa, come August.

MvS has won many awards, including but not limited to the Documentary Honorable Mention at the Omaha Film Festival, Jury Award Winner Documentary Best Picture for Fantastic Fest Film Festival 2015 and Twin Cities Film Festival Honorable Mention 2015. This past weekend it also won “Best Documentary Feature” at the Calgary Underground Film Festival.

It should be being released via a distribution deal soon.

You can learn more about Man vs. Snake by visiting their website:

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.

Gamer of the Month Profile: Mitchell Meerman

Patrick O'Malley, Mitchell Meerman and Glenn Thomas at Star Worlds Arcade

Patrick O’Malley, Mitchell Meerman and Glenn Thomas at Star Worlds Arcade

It took a little while for us to get with Mitchell and complete the gamer profile interview as he was our first Gamer of the Month, getting the best scores on the Classic Crazy Challenge Gamer of the Month Contest.  But we finally got everything squared away to get this interview completed.

I had the opportunity to meet Mitchell at Star Worlds Arcade when we were out there for their Summer Sizzle Event and verified several of his scores live.

Name: Mitchell Meerman

Nicknames: YoshiEgg25, MJMeerman, Admiral Yoshi

Tell us a bit about yourself – non-gaming history.
I am 21 years old and from Sycamore, Ill. I’m a Computer Science major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I work in information technology and am looking to gain CompTIA A+ certification in the near future. Among other things, I’m a club president at UW-Platteville, an accomplished pianist, a fan of many sports (mainly hockey, football, and baseball), and an amateur music producer and songwriter.

Tell us a bit about your gaming history.
I began playing games at a very young age with my dad on PC, playing such titles as King’s Bounty, Hover!, Chip’s Challenge, and King’s Quest. I received a Nintendo 64, my first console, when I was five, a Jungle Green colored set bundled with Donkey Kong 64. I started on the Game Boy line soon after and owned solely Nintendo consoles until I began my collecting phase in the summer of 2010. During the second half of that year, I acquired three Dreamcasts, a PlayStation 2, a Nintendo Entertainment System, and a Game Gear. I’ve gotten out of the collecting for the most part now, but I’ve still got a lot left, and I still am attempting to get every North American released Pokémon game complete in box. I was turned on to arcade gaming at the start of 2011 and have been a regular customer at Star Worlds Arcade in DeKalb, Illinois, since I first visited at the end of May 2011.

dk-64Favorite Classic Game? Why?
Donkey Kong 64. It was my first console game and I fell completely in love with it. I’ve actually gotten 101% completion on the game, getting all 201 golden bananas, including the Rareware banana. It was actually my introduction to arcade games as the original Donkey Kong is included as a playable game on the cartridge and playing it is required to fully complete the game.

Favorite Modern Game(s)? Why?
If I was forced to narrow it down to just one game, it would be Elite Beat Agents. I had an insane amount of fun with that game and I often find myself wanting to go back to playing it. I also love such games as the Pokémon, Ace Attorney, and Professor Layton series, and right now I’ve been loving Octodad: Dadliest Catch.

Favorite platform? Why?
nintendo-game-cubeThe Nintendo GameCube. That little box has an insane amount of power that was untapped by just about everyone, and I’m determined to get all I can out of it. My first disk when I got the system was The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition, a collection of four Zelda games and my first experience with the series. I love playing such games on it as Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, Chibi-Robo!, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Super Mario Strikers, Mario Superstar Baseball, and Pac-Man Vs. I currently own three GameCubes, all with Game Boy Players attached, three Broadband Adapters, and even a component cable, which is a pretty pricey piece of equipment nowadays. I’ve used two of the Broadband Adapters to play Mario Kart: Double Dash!! over LAN and have played eight-player races with my friends. I’m hoping to get to the point of being able to play sixteen-player MK:DD and possibly a five TV, five GameCube setup of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (

Why do you game?
I game because it’s fun and it gives me the opportunity to have fun with my friends. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of cool people through gaming and have formed some lasting friendships. If gaming ever stopped being fun, I’d stop doing it. Luckily, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Star-Worlds-Arcade-Logo150Is there a gamer or personality that inspires you to achieve your gaming goals? If so, who is it and why?
It’s tough to say if there’s any one person. If there is, it’s been Patrick O’Malley. Him and Glenn Thomas have both been extremely supportive of my goals and various record attempts at Star Worlds Arcade. Tim McVey, who taught me how to play Nibbler, has also been, and seeing what he did at such a young age with being the first gamer to break a billion points on a video game and his attempts to take back his record nearly thirty years after he got it are also inspiring. I also aspire to be like other various “go for the gold” and “never say die” figures like Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe, William Carlton, Thor Aackerlund, and Doris Self.

What was the first world record you set – with any entity? How did that make you feel? Why was that game the first game you set a record on and did that affect the scores you chase today?
Though they were never submitted anywhere because of the archaic format I recorded the video on, I first achieved many records on both Mario Kart DS and Pokémon Pinball. I first went after those because of the lack of times/scores on both games, and because I could already beat them at my then-current skill level. I felt great after getting those records and it made me feel like I could do that on more competitive games. I still have the tapes from those game sessions at home!

nibbler_000What is your favorite record that you’ve set? Why?
My score of 251,169,160 on Nibbler on December 26-27, 2014. Though it wasn’t even close to a world record, I felt that I really didn’t give up, especially after a seven-hour game before that ended with the reset button being accidentally tripped when we were cleaning the joystick. I intend to improve on that score and eventually break the billion-point barrier, if not go for the world record.

What records are you looking to set in the next year? What challenges do you see for setting those records, if any?
At some point, I hope to have another go at the Nibbler marathon record, as I mentioned. I also would like to go for the Avalanche world record, which I had with 2,503 points but was never officially submitted anywhere before it was beaten by Lars Bull. I’ve also been slowly improving at Donkey Kong and hope to get much better, though I don’t envision myself competing for the world record any time soon.

classsic-crazy-challenge-video-game-scoreboard-winnerYou were Gamer of the Month for July on the Classic Crazy Challenge. What was the hardest part about that challenge for you? If you could have done something different, what would it have been?
The hardest part was definitely BurgerTime. Nibbler was a cakewalk for me (setting a one-man world record on my first try) and I was confident with a good score in Donkey Kong, but I put a few weeks of practice time into perfecting the patterns on the first two boards of BurgerTime. And even then, I was getting unlucky on it! My strategy, though, worked to perfection and I’d change nothing about what I did.

If you could say one thing to inspire future gamers wanting to set world records, what would it be?
Just do it! Pick a game, and you can probably get a record on it somehow. Even your favorite game! It really isn’t hard to do. Being a world record holder is extremely gratifying and it’s something that you can bring up in conversation and people will be impressed. Even if it’s a video game, that term “world record” gets envy from even the most tech-deprived of people.

Any other comments, thank you, or anything else?
Thank you so much to VGS for giving me the opportunity to become Gamer of the Month, Patrick O’Malley and Glenn Thomas of Star Worlds Arcade for their support and enabling my addictions to arcade games, Tim McVey for his support and teaching me how to play Nibbler, and to my family, Kathy Macco, and everyone else who has supported me through playing and had to deal with me talking about arcade games for hours on end!

Many thanks to Mitchell for working with us on the interview and congratulations once again on your Gamer of the Month Achievement.  There are plenty of opportunities for other folks to compete in our Gamer of the Month Competitions.  Check out February’s contest which ends March 15 and the March Giga Challenge for more information on how to compete.

About Grace "Kayhynn" Snoke

Grace Snoke is a corporate journalist and author who enjoys gaming, reading, writing and jewelry making. Outside of her day job, she writes for a number of sites including: Video Game, Obsolete Gamer, SciTech Nerds and for a couple blogs and sites she owns. You can learn more about her adventures as an author here.


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