UPDATE: Billy Mitchell responded to the decision to strip him of his records, as reported by NPR.
Billy Mitchell, the villain of the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, has been stripped of his Donkey Kong records and banned from competition by Twin Galaxies. Mitchell was previously the reigning champion of Donkey Kong and the first million-point record holder, and King of Kong chronicled nice-guy newcomer Steve Wiebe’s attempt to topple the king. The surprisingly gripping film was the first feature from director Seth Gordon, and launched his career into scripted comedy films like Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief.
At the core of King of Kong was the rivalry between Wiebe and Mitchell, and the latter served as the perfect villain figure. In the film, Wiebe becomes the first ever player to score more than a million points in Donkey Kong, but video game record organization Twin Galaxies disqualified his score based on Mitchell’s suspicion that Wiebe’s Donkey Kong machine might have had its board tampered with. Mitchell then submitted a VHS tape of himself scoring a million point-plus score, which was accepted despite the fact that the game was unsupervised. Wiebe challenged Mitchell to a public competition, which he declined. Wiebe went on to achieve a score of 1,049,100 points in his garage at home.
For those who were sucked in by King of Kong‘s underdog tale and the various injustices portrayed, satisfaction has finally arrived – 11 years later. Twin Galaxies has released a statement saying that Mitchell has been stripped of his records and banned from competition, after it was proven that his videotaped recordings of his record-holding games included board transitions that could only have been achieved using emulation software. There are strict rules surrounding Donkey Kong records, which state that high scores only count if they are achieved on the original Donkey Kong arcade game hardware. This ruling means that Steve Wiebe is now, officially, the first million-point Donkey Kong record holder.
The dispute over Mitchell’s records was raised by Twin Galaxies member Jeremy Young in February, who demonstrated that it was impossible for an original, unaltered Donkey Kong machine to produce certain board transitions that were seen in Mitchell’s videotaped recordings. Other third parties came to the same conclusion as Twin Galaxies – even the third party whom Mitchell himself brought in to examine the claims on his behalf. All of Mitchell’s previous scores been removed from the leaderboards, and he has also been banned from participating in the competitive leaderboards in the future.
The current Donkey Kong high score record holder is Robbie Lakeman, whose score of 1,247,700 was verified in March 2018. Wiebe is #12 on the leaderboard, with a score of 1,064,500. He is one of less than 20 players to have achieved a verified score of more than a million points.
Source: Twin Galaxies
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