First Billion-Scoring Video Game Champ: Tim McVey
It's not every day that you meet a Guinness Book of World's Records record holder. For me it was Saturday. At the Video Game Summit in Lombard, IL. I met Tim McVey. The name may not be familiar to you, but he holds an important first in the annals of video game history. He's the first person to ever score a billion (yes - that's "billion" with a "b"!) on a video game.
It was back in 1984 that Tim McVey chewed his way into the record books by scoring 1,000,042,270 on Nibbler. It's a maze/puzzle game in which you play a snake snacking its way through the hedges without crossing paths with your growing self. Nibbler never became a classic marquee title - manufacturer Rock-ola was better known for their jukeboxes. What I find especially amazing is that a game of this era could even count up to a billion without crashing!
Tim's session stretched past 44 hours at the famous Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa. As he powered through the game nearing his goal, the news media showed up making the task that much more difficult. When his score breached the billion points mark, Tim's name and picture appeared in print across the country, he was on TV nationwide, and he became the first video game "celebrity" to have a civic day named after him.
In person, Tim is a pretty unassuming guy. Given the strong video game personalities presented us in recent films like "The King of Kong," Tim came off as a fellow who understands where his world record performance fits in his life. It's an accomplishment he's proud of, but there's a lot more to Tim than just a snake trying not to have a pileup with its own tail. Nice to have met you, Tim, you're a real gentleman...
If you want a taste of Tim's experience, you can play Nibbler today (usually called "snake") on practically any computer or mobile phone.