Arcade King

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"Unbelievable," Mitchell remembers the photographer saying. "Quote?"

"I never gotta play that damn thing again," he immediately responded.

Journalists from around the world jumped on Mitchell's story. For a time, Mitchell fielded calls from reporters at all hours of the night. To this day, he continues to receive fan mail. In fact, earlier this year, MTV featured him on True Life: I'm a Gamer, which has sparked even greater interest in his record. "This was something everyone had in common," Day says of the interest in Pac-Man. "It was a rite du passage. Everybody could relate to it." At Funspot, on the wall next to the Pac-Man machine, a photograph of Mitchell still hangs.

Mitchell claims his next video game record -- 1 million points in Donkey Kong -- will have as much of an impact as the perfect Pac-Man. He's been practicing on his own machines for years and claims he's already surpassed Sczerby's current record score. He'll announce the game date soon, he promises, and then he'll travel to New Hampshire and put it all on the line: 1 million points or bust.

So why has he gone to such great lengths with video games? "You have to do what you enjoy in life to make the rest of life bearable," he explains.

It's doubtful, though, that a seven-digit score in Donkey Kong will win Mitchell any new respect among his employees at Rickey's Restaurant & Lounge. As he plays Ms. Pac-Man for the benefit of New Times, a waitress walks past on her way to the kitchen. "Pac-Man champion of the world," she says, her voice lilting sarcasm as saucy as the chicken wings she serves.

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Trevor Aaronson
Contact: Trevor Aaronson