August 10, 2005

From John Henry to Ms. Pac Man

by Nick Montfort · , 6:25 pm

In rather disturbing news, CNN reports that a South Korean man died after playing “online battle simulation games” for 50 hours in a Taegu cybercafe, almost non-stop.

On a happier note, Abdner Ashman broke the Ms. Pac Man record last year, getting through 141 screens and scoring 921,360 points. Twin Galaxies has finally approved the record and posted an extensive writeup of the game along with a board-by-board recap. There is some very interesting and detailed description of Ms. Pac Man in there, along with the wonderful sports-like commentary:

One stage from the kill, and the game is not done yet with throwing him a few fast ones. In the middle of clearing the board, the ghosts break pattern. Abdner reacts quickly and defensively, running to the nearby upper right energizer, but this is still not enough this time, and he is herded, literally towards the top left energizer. Already way off his normal pattern, he is left with a veritable mess of dots to deal with.

6 Responses to “From John Henry to Ms. Pac Man


  1. babylona Says:

    I swear, this *exact* same story – word for word – was published approximately a year ago. I remember the details about not getting up to go to the toilet. I’m trying to dig it up.

  2. nick Says:

    Here are two other reports of similar incidents, one of which happened in South Korea and one of which happened in Taiwan – back in 2002, only ten days apart. Maybe this happens all the time?

  3. scott Says:

    At least he remembered to shit.

    Sometimes when I’m playing my favorite online battle simulations, I just slap on the Depends and let fly.

  4. noah Says:

    Is the “Mrs.” in the title of this post a joke? I’m sure the machine I played as a kid gave no info about marital status except via cut-scene behavior.

  5. nick Says:

    As you well know, Noah, errors often crop up in titles, captions, and other secondary text. I guess I must have been thinking of John Henry’s famous wife Polly Ann, who drove steel just like a man. Looks like I also forgot the italics.

  6. noah Says:

    Sorry — I meant it as an honest question. I thought maybe it was like the title about the booty and the lamp: a reference to something with which I wasn’t familiar.

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