King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is without question the best videogame film of all time. The documentary told the David and Goliath-level struggle over who holds the record for official highest score in Nintendo’s arcade classic Donkey Kong. Billy Mitchell, the mullet-wearing arcade master and the first person to ever “beat” Pac-Man, had held it for decades, but when challenger Steve Wiebe topped it, Billy’s friends at Twin Galaxies, the official high score keepers for all games, chose to not recognize the score. King of Kong followed Wiebe’s adventure to make that score official. In the years since filming ended the rivals have traded the top spot, with Billy regaining the high score last month. And today Twin Galaxies verified Steve Wiebe’s most recent submission, and he’s the King of Kong once more.
Submitted last month, Wiebe’s score of 1,064,500 was officially recognized, putting him about 2,000 over Billy’s old score. But don’t set that score in stone just yet, as the high score has been in a state of flux since King of Kong was released. In case you didn’t see the movie (you should rent it right now, or watch on Netflix Instant), Billy and Steve have been trading the position for some time, and this could be another situation where Steve finally pulls out a win, only for Billy to come back and reassert his claim. And let’s not forget Hank Chien, a surprise outsider who briefly held the honor and is now at third place.
Above: Steve’s finest hour in King of Kong
The real question is when and how will this all end? As arcade fans know, Donkey Kong, like most old games, has a kill screen, a point at which the levels can repeat no further. That means that theoretically there’s a limit to how many points can be scored. But what is the ceiling? It’s possible Billy Mitchell knows but isn’t sharing. In the past when he’s beaten a high score, Billy immediately stops playing so his competitors won’t know what his highest possbible score could be. Maybe we’ll see him and his intimidating mullet pop up soon, and he’ll score 1,064,600. Only time will tell, but in the meantime let’s celebrate everyman Steve Wiebe and his achievement.
Bonus: Here’s the awesome History of Donkey Kong extra from the King of Kong DVD.
Sep 20, 2010