For most gamers, getting the highest score in Pac-Man at their local arcade would be the achievement of a lifetime. Not for Billy Mitchell. In 1999, the video game legend racked up a maximum score of 3,333,360 points after playing through 255 perfect levels of the game.
In this video spotted by Gizmodo, Mitchell explains to Great Big Story the process that went into playing a flawless run of Pac-Man. Each level gets increasingly difficult until stage 21–once you get past that, the game becomes a test of stamina.
“You have to navigate all the way to board 255 doing the same repetitive thing,” Mitchell said. “You can’t miss a dot, a prize, a blue man. You can’t die once.”
After playing like this for four to five hours, you’ll eventually reach the highest score possible when the game runs out of memory. There’s no “GAME OVER” or “YOU WIN” message at the end. Instead, there’s only enough information left in the game's computer to generate the left half of the screen, while random gobbledygook fills the right. Then, according to Mitchell, “There’s nothing left to do but die.”
At least the grand finale wasn’t too much of a disappointment for Mitchell: It did lead to him winning the title of Video Game Player of the Century later that year.
Images courtesy of YouTube.
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