Details: So did you?
Hank Chien: Well, we didn't really get rid of the sofa, but we put [the game] in front of the balcony. There are all these people on the Internet saying, like, "This guy came out of nowhere and he has been practicing in his basement." I'm like, "I'm from New York City, and I live in a high-rise condo—which doesn't have a basement!"
Details: Would you say that you are addicted to playing?
Hank Chien: [The game] was basically occupying all of my free time, but I don't think it ever really interfered with my work or personal life. I was never late to work because of Donkey Kong or stood someone up because of Donkey Kong.
Details: What's the hardest part of the game for you?
Hank Chien: The big issue is actually the bathroom. Whether I have to go or not, if I am preparing for a big game, I always go to the bathroom right before I start. I don't get hungry easily; I try to keep a cup of water next to me. Concentration-wise, I do start to lose it after about an hour and a half.
Details: Does racking up a high score still give you an adrenaline rush?
Hank Chien: Well, I have played this game so much so it's hard for me to get excited now. I still encounter new situations, but I have seen almost 99 percent of it. But there is still that one percent that sort of catches you off guard. Two weeks ago I was literally five or 10 minutes away from beating the world record. Yeah, I was cursing at the machine for about 10 minutes after the game.
Details: How long do you think you'll keep your reign as champ with the current score?
Hank Chien: My score is very beatable. But I held back. I knew I was on pace to beat the world record even if I played safely. On top of that, two of my deaths were completely stupid. So, my score is very beatable—and if nobody beats it, then I am probably going to beat it myself.