Presented for your information and adulation: the official top 20 Donkey Kong scores, as tracked/verified by Twin Galaxies International (from 1982-2013) and the community of experts and top players at Donkey Kong Forum (since 2013).
If you're coming in "off the street"—perhaps from a Google search after a viewing of The King of Kong—the first thing to know is that a great deal has changed since the movie, which was filmed almost a decade ago, and whose release ushered in a new and extremely competitive playing field.
Neither Steve Wiebe nor Billy Mitchell hold the Donkey Kong world record anymore, though both are still highly revered. Wiebe remains active and a serious force to be reckoned with, particularly in live events like the recent Kong Offs. While he has not had the time or inclination to pursue the world record since 2010, most of today's top players agree that Wiebe has the potential to reclaim it. Mitchell, on the other hand, is no longer competing.
Since 2010, the world record has been held by Dr. Hank Chien, a plastic surgeon from New York City. Mitchell reclaimed it that year, with Wiebe then taking it from Mitchell, but Chien soon beat both and has held it ever since.
The "Billy vs. Steve" era is now history. The movie brought hundreds of new competitors to the game from all over the world (even Eminem!). Brilliant, talented "next generation" players like Chien, Ross Benziger, Vincent Lemay, Jeff Willms, and Dean Saglio have risen to the top.
This list is only the top 20 out of hundreds of players ranked on the Donkey Kong Forum High Score List. Click to see the whole list, if you would like to submit a score, or to join us in one of our regular online tournaments.
This leaderboard was last maintained on July 1st, 2014.
IMPORTANT: As of March 2014, Twin Galaxies—which disappeared for several months after the Kong Off 3—has re-emerged with a new owner Jace Hall. The organization is in the midst of a restructuring period, is not accepting new submissions yet, and its Donkey Kong scoreboard is in disarray. Bear with them! Please see this post for more details.
|Arcade Machine World Record*|
|MAME Emulator World Record*|
3rd Through 20th
A note on world records: The Donkey Kong world record as it is known and recognized by Twin Galaxies, Guinness, other score-trackers, the media, the general public, and purists/traditionalists can only be set on an original 1981 arcade machine. Hence, Hank Chien is the reigning world champion, even though Dean Saglio's MAME Arcade Machine Emulator score is higher than Chien's arcade score.
Some maintain an alternate view that since the game is emulated 100% accurately on MAME, the record should be whatever the highest score is, irrespective of platform. This view would see Saglio as the champ, with Chien in 2nd.
Without delving into the particulars of the debate, let it be sufficient to note that there are strong cases for both positions. For neutrality's sake, the two records are treated here as parallel entities, or perhaps a split title, with neither being ranked as "1st" or "2nd", and the rankings from there on starting at 3rd place.
This solution honors the traditional perception of the world record being necessarily tied to the original arcade hardware (and Chien's publicly-recognized status as the Donkey Kong champion), while also respecting the fact that Saglio has technically achieved the highest score.