How can you get on the high score board of your favourite game?
With sweat beading on your forehead, bottom lip firmly pinched between your teeth and eyes staring intently, unblinkingly at the screen, you're only 20 points away from the high score.
That elusive high score board is the goal of every arcade gamer, but one that only a handful of gamers will get to experience. That said, why can't it be you?
Here are our best tricks and tips for landing a coveted spot on a high score board of your favourite arcade game.
Watch YouTube videos
The wonderful thing that is the internet offers us everything from cat videos and 'Will it Blend?' commercials to tutorials on every arcade game there is.
You can watch as a skilled player takes you through the game, talking you through his or her techniques, showing you secret points-scoring areas and giving you tips on what to avoid. Sure, watching videos of other people playing games ranks around a 12 out of 10 on the geekiness scale, but you'll be the one having the last laughs down at your local Playtime when it results in your name on that board.
Pro tip: Don't mention the YouTube videos, just say it just all comes to you naturally.
OK OK, we're going to sound like your mother here, but there really is no substitute for practice. Do you think Mitchell Starc got to where he is today just by watching YouTube videos?
Spend as much time as you can on your chosen game, working on your technique and learning which strategies get you the most points or keep you alive for the longest. Just like in bowling (the cricket or the alleyway kind) you will get better with time. Practice might not make perfect, but it might be enough for a high score at least.
So you know the game pretty well, you have you favourite strategies and routes. Now throw it all away and start over.
Experiment with different methods of survival, of attack, or defence (depending on the game, of course). Some of your efforts might crash and burn faster than a Space Invader set in your sights, but some of them might turn out to be better than your original method of playing.
You can't expect your game avatar to get around with no supplies, so why would you attempt a record break without fuel of your own? Make sure you're well hydrated and have something tasty in your belly before embarking on any big adventure like this.