Man vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler Review

man-vs-snakeMan vs Snake:
The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler


Many years ago just as Video Game Arcades were becoming popular there was an enterprising owner of one called Twin Galaxies in America by a man called Walter Day.

Part of what Walter did was to start recording high scores and records from players gaining such a reputation that for a while Guinness World Records chose him as their assistant editor of video game scores.

To get a world record on old arcade machines usually meant a marathon gaming session lasting for days and players could only use one coin.
As soon as all your lives hit zero then game over.

In his arcade was a young boy called Tim McVey (not that Tim McVey as the documentary points out several times) who was the first person in history to score 1 Billion points.

On Nibbler.

Which usually causes a reaction of “WOW!” going to “Nibbler?”

The documentary follows Tim trying to regain the record after finding out that for over 20 years he hasn’t been the world record holder as Italian Enrico Zanetti beat his high score in 1984 and has been holding the title ever since.

Ouch, That can’t be something nice to find out.
Still Tim is a nice man and whilst feeling a little put out by it which is natural he takes it on the chin.
Which can’t be said for Walter Day.
Refusing to acknowledge Enrico’s record despite the fact a local news crew filmed him breaking the record and it seems refusing to acknowledge anyone’s who didn’t get the record in his arcade or presence.

Walter shows a lot of sour grapes here to which he is duefully mocked by Enrico back in Italy.
I’ve seen a few documentaries involving Walter to which he does come across as the self appointed high score taker that favours the handful of men that frequented his arcade in the early 80’s to his own reputations detriment.

Entering the fray is the “bad boy” of arcade gaming (there always is one) Canadian Dwayne Richard who has been playing Nibbler, and probably the only one, for the past few years.
So at a gaming event Tim and Dwayne go head to head to beat Enrico’s score.

An engaging documentary helped by the two leading stars so to speak Tim and Dwayne who are polar opposites of each other.
Tim is softly spoken and calm whereas Dwayne is loud and we are introduced to him by looking at his mug shot and watching a video of his arrest at I believe was a gaming event he was in attendance at.

I thought Canadians are quiet and calm whereas Americans are loud and rowdy?

Yet before the challenge starts there are a few hiccups that continue into the event itself.

This is where the documentary was supposed to end I believe but what happens after really elevates Man vs Snake into something gripping.
That is if you are a nerd like myself and you must be to be reading this.

Without giving too much away Tim decides to have another go, there is what seems to be a bit of skulduggery, a few new challengers and when someone Walter Day favours beats Enrico’s record he finally decides to recognise Enrico’s attempt and add him to the world record table.

That’s so nice of you Walter.

With an appearance from the man to get the first perfect Pac Man score and star of similar documentaries The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007) and Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade (2007), both of which you should watch, Billy Mitchell Man vs Snake was something I really enjoyed.