|Robbie Lakeman (right) with Steve Wiebe at the Kong Off 2|
July 1st, 2014 - He wasn't able to make it happen earlier this month during the most recent Donkey Kong Online Open, but he came close... and even closer this past Sunday.
Robbie Lakeman buried the needle for tournament first place with 1,086,700, but victory for the weekend was almost an afterthought. Lakeman's real ambition—as with all of his runs for the past several weeks—was to dethrone Hank Chien as the King of Kong. It was not to be. "Some games are world record games and that just wasn't gonna be one," Lakeman commented afterwards.
Just seven days later, in the dead of night on June 29th, I was on hand (and on the edge of my seat) to witness Lakeman join Ross Benziger and Vincent Lemay in the "near miss" club. Lakeman's score, 1,131,500, came only 7,100 points shy of the ultimate prize. If the final board had played out more cooperatively, the record would have fallen.
"I still have to keep playing this game," Lakeman said. "I can't be like Vincent and Ross and stop playing. I can't do it."
With Robbie in top form and pushing with all of his strength, he could (and likely will) take the record any day now.
|Ethan Daniels at the Kong Off 3|
Photo: William McEvoy
And he's not the only one with a chance: Ethan Daniels, a bit of a dark horse since he does not yet have a score in the top 20, is nonetheless playing at world record pace and has gone quite deep on several occasions. Steve Wiltshire and Dave McCrary are also currently active and capable.
In other words, if Robbie doesn't do it soon, somebody else just might.
The fourth Donkey Kong Online Open has not yet been scheduled, but organizers are aiming for sometime in August.
Will we have a new champion by then? I would say, with confidence, that it's more likely than not.
If you want to be sure you're on hand to witness history, follow Robbie Lakeman's Twitch TV channel at http://www.twitch.tv/lakeman421/.
Final Scoreboard and Prizes: Donkey Kong Online Open 2014, #3
Total Entrants: 65 Total Entrants With A Score Submission: 32
$200 1st - Ben Falls (912,700)
$150 2nd - Jeff Willms (894,400)
$100 3rd - Martin Laing (894,100)
(Robbie Lakeman was not eligible for first place money since he took 2nd in DKO#1—contestants who win a place-prize can't win another for the next two tournaments, but can still win bounties. Second place Eric Tessler is the tournament organizer and does not compete for the prize pool.)
$50 Longest First Man - Robbie Lakeman (81 boards)
$50 Longest Last Man - Jeff Wolfe (33 boards)
$20 Most Improved Score - Andrew Barrow (301,900)
$50 Mystery Bounty #1 (12th place) - Mick Winzeler
$50 Mystery Bounty #2 (32nd place) - Chuck Vess