Last Night

Last Night

By Sam Machkovech April 6, 2010

While making dinner and watching deleted scenes from the film Bottle Rocket last night, I left a live video stream running on my bedroom computer. Somewhere around 10:00 p.m., cheers and applause exploded from the PC.

"What was that?" the girlfriend asked. I calmly answered—in a tone I might use one day to describe the birth of my first child—that a man just topped the world record high score in the video game Asteroids. 41,338,740 points.

I knew that this person, John McAllister, had been playing Asteroids for over two days straight as part of a weekend promotion by a nostalgic arcade web site. (More on the logistics of peeing/etc. after the jump.)

What I didn't know is that McAllister calls Seattle home. You thought Redmond's Steve Wiebe, from the documentary King of Kong, was the only one like that around town? Nope. McAllister is setting enough records to create a local old-school nerd rivalry.

Where exactly McAllister lives these days, I can't tell; an Oregon news site says he racked the score up in Hillsboro, OR. Either way, I hope to chat with him around Seattle soon, because Kotaku's report on the days-long marathon play session highlights McAllister as an amusing, cocky sonuvagun:
Lives are lost when McAllister stops his endless button mashing to use the bathroom or take a breather. This isn't literal death, but dying in the vernacular of gaming. The classic Atari arcade cabinet McAllister is playing on has no pause button.

So instead when McAllister wants to take a break he just steps away from the machine and leaves his tiny triangular black and white space ship to the whims of fate and fortune. In the live video streamed across the Internet during the record attempt McAllister, dressed in a black t-shirt and shorts, can be seen wandering in and out of the shot, pacing, eating chicken, not playing Asteroids.

After these short, five to ten minute breaks, McAllister returns to the game, boasting once that he could run a marathon after beating the high score. As he plays, McAllister chats about everything, everything but the game.
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