Thirty four year old Michael Roberts claims he first completed The Internet about two years ago on the ‘Easy’ setting – in which firewalls, anti-virus software and pop-up blockers provided a safety net in case the gamer makes a wrong click as they navigate through the ever-expanding virtual maze. However his use of a wandering IP address – a power-up which makes the gamer invisible to end-of-level bosses – made his claim impossible to verify.
But after teaming up with fellow online player Stewart McQueen, 29, the pair attempted to repeat the feat in ‘Expert’ mode, which deactivates all their laptop’s security features. Roberts and McQueen then successfully negotiated their way through over 7 billion web pages spread across over 182 million sites, without riddling their computer with viruses or being arrested as part of Operation Ore.
The quest is thought to have taken around four months of constant and frantic online activity, with the two men drawing up a rota to ensure they shared the burden and factored in time to eat and sleep. ‘Once you’ve been at it for a day and a half, fatigue is the biggest danger,’ said McQueen. ‘If you let your mind wander for a second and click the wrong thing, it can take you all the way back to the demoralising safety of your Homepage. And there are no extra lives or cheat codes to get you through this bad boy – it’s not Sonic the Hedgehog!’
When asked what pitfalls the pair had encountered, Mr Roberts admitted he had become trapped in Farmville for the best part of a day, before Mr McQueen showed him how to dodge invites. ‘And there were some very hairy moments as we worked our way through the Bulgarian porn level,’ he added.
Speaking about the achievement, Berners-Lee said; ‘We built in so many traps we thought completing the game would be virtually impossible. Viruses, 404 errors, even a labyrinth of secret pathways that redirect the player to a constantly looping Rick Astley song. But fair play, these guys have got round the lot.
‘It just goes to show what amazing feats human beings are capable of,’ he added. ‘Especially when they’ve got bugger all else to do for months and months and months.’