Tom Asaki, an associate professor of mathematics at Washington State University, flicked a 1980s arcade machine joystick back and forth in the basement of his Genesee, Idaho, home, his hand strategically guiding a red snake through a maze as the machine beeped and booped in the background.
The game: a Pac-Man-esque, yet obscure, 1982 Rock-Ola release called Nibbler. The goal: consume all the food in the maze without letting the snake run into its own tail.
It is a seemingly simple concept, but only a handful of players in the world have gotten as far as Asaki, whose skills are featured in a 2015 documentary, “Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler.”
The film, now on Netflix, takes an in-depth look at some of the best Nibbler players in the world, including Asaki, who said he was interviewed for the documentary about nine years ago on the WSU campus.
Asaki made headlines in May 1983 when he became the first recorded person to attempt to earn a billion points on Nibbler.