The Donkey Kong World Record: The Real History, From 1982 to Today

Since Billy Mitchell's epochal achievement of 874,300 points on August 13, 1982, the official Twin Galaxies-verified Donkey Kong world record has undergone a winding and controversial journey.

Four men have reigned as champion—Billy Mitchell, Tim Sczerby, Steve Wiebe, and Hank Chien—with much back-and-forth between each (except for Sczerby, who is the only of the four to hold the title just once).

(If you're saying to yourself "wait a minute... Tim who?" stay tuned. Sczerby, his score, and its omission from The King of Kong documentary will be discussed below, and elsewhere on Donkey Blog.)

Though Mitchell's original record held for just over 18 years, the 2000s proved to be an active decade for Donkey Kong world records, with six undisputed change-overs (along with four intervening scores submitted by Steve Wiebe that were ultimately unverified due to issues that will be summarized below).

The 2010s have, so far, moved at an even more chaotic pace, with the record inching higher an unprecedented eight times between 2010 and 2012.

The following table shows all of the world record-setting scores, whether or not (ultimately) verified and approved by Twin Galaxies.

The Record-Setting Games

Light scores = Accepted and verified
Dark scores = Rejected or never verified

#DateScorePlayerSetting
1August 13, 1982874,300Billy MitchellLive
2August 17, 2000879,200Tim SczerbyVideo
3June 30, 2003947,200Steve WiebeVideo
4May 7, 2004933,900Billy MitchellLive
5May 29, 2004985,000Steve WiebeVideo
6June 29, 2004999,500Steve WiebeVideo
7July 4, 20041,006,600Steve WiebeVideo
8June 3, 2005985,600Steve WiebeLive
9June 4, 2005 (verification date)1,047,200Billy MitchellVideo
10August 3, 20061,049,100Steve WiebeVideo
11July 13, 20071,050,200Billy MitchellLive
12February 26, 20101,061,700Hank ChienVideo
13July 31, 20101,062,800Billy MitchellLive
14August 30, 20101,064,500Steve WiebeVideo
15December 27, 20101,068,000Hank ChienVideo
16February 27, 20111,090,400Hank ChienLive
17May 18, 20121,110,100Hank ChienVideo
18July 25, 20121,127,700Hank ChienVideo
19November 1, 20121,138,600Hank ChienVideo

Sczerby (#2)

To quote Walter Day:

"[Billy Mitchell's 1982] record stood until August 17, 2000 when Tim Sczerby scored 879,200 points in Auburn, NY. When Tim scored this new record, his achievement was published on the Twin Galaxies website and the story was sent out all over the Internet. Also, Walter Day, Chief Scorekeeper at Twin Galaxies personally phoned Tim and congratulated him on his great accomplishment. A few days later, Billy himself phoned Tim and congratulated him."

Sczerby's score was submitted, verified, and never under institutional dispute. However, the creators of The King of Kong, who made no mention whatsoever of Sczerby or his score in the film, have been attacked within gaming circles for their official position on the subject. In the words of Seth Gordon and Ed Cunningham: "Tim Sczerby's consistently disputed record was impossible to verify and did not merit inclusion in the film."

This statement, disingenuous as it might sound, could actually be defensible based on the impression that the filmmakers may (or may not) have been given at the time the documentary was being made. In fact, there is compelling evidence to support the position that certain individuals (including Robert Mruczek, Walter Day, Brian Kuh, Steve Sanders, and others) may be culpable (though perhaps innocently) of a failure of diligence in giving Sczerby his due, and unambiguous assurance that Sczerby actually beat Mitchell. The filmmakers may not be entirely—or even primarily—to blame for Sczerby's ommission from The King of Kong. (This, however, is a digression that will have to wait for an article of its own.)

The First Rejected Wiebe Score (#3)

Each of the four darkened scores in the above table were initially accepted by Twin Galaxies, but all were ultimately either rejected or otherwise unverified during an arduous saga that this article (and frankly, this blogger) will not and should not attempt to do full justice.

To (greatly) simpify the matter: the Donkey Kong boardsets on which Steve Wiebe performed all of these scores were determined to be problematic.

This initial submission of 947,300, actually beat Tim Sczerby, not Billy Mitchell, for the world record. It was initially accepted and verified, but fell under dispute less than ten days after verification when Darren Harris, a Twin Galaxies forum member, noted that it had been performed on a "Double Donkey Kong" boardset (a custom-made aftermarket modification that converts a Donkey Kong Junior board to play both games, making it potentially unfit for competition due to possible gameplay differences).

Walter Day announced that if Wiebe had indeed used a Double Donkey Kong board, then his "hold on the traditional DK record would be relinquished."

Wiebe's score, however, remained in the #1 position on the Twin Galaxies website while discussion continued as to whether it should be reclassified under a new "Double Donkey Kong" category.

Billy Reclaims The Title (#4)

Nearly a year after Wiebe's embattled submission, Billy Mitchell would perform live at the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee with a score of 933,900.

This game is actually a key event with regard to Wiebe's competition with Mitchell, one that The King of Kong omits. Wiebe's first submission (the 947,200 score from 2003) was grazed (but not beaten) by this score, and shows that Mitchell had publicly trumped his own 1982 record, beaten Sczerby, and was actively pursuing Wiebe. The film makes it seem as though Mitchell ignored Wiebe, never competed live, and sat on his hands until submitting a videotaped performance in 2005.

This score also made Mitchell the de-facto world record holder. It did not beat Wiebe's submission, but it didn't need to, since Wiebe's had now been unofficially rejected, and successive Wiebe submissions would be unverified and/or disputed for over a year. All this score had to beat was Tim Sczerby's. It did, so Mitchell was champion.

That fact proved to be advantageous for the purposes of the film, since individuals featured in the footage from the 2005 Funspot tournament, such as Brian Kuh, would—and did—refer to Mitchell (and not Sczerby) as "the champion", even though they were actually referring to a title that had reverted to Mitchell with this Milwaukee game, and not to his original 1982 score. The references to Mitchell-as-champion end up being seamless, and the viewer never suspects anything.

The Record That Lied In Wait (#9)

Mitchell achieved a videotaped score of 1,047,200—exactly 100,000 points higher than Wiebe's initial 947,200 submission—at his home on June 7th, 2004 (one month after his 933,900 live score in Milwaukee).

The score data is long gone from the current Twin Galaxies website (replaced by Mitchell's current score), but an Internet Wayback Machine snapshot of the score info page shows 6/7/04 as the performance date. (Mark Alpiger echoes this date at Classic Arcade Gaming.com.)

Mitchell, however, did not submit the tape right away. It would be more than a year before he (quite infamously) did so.

More Rejection For Wiebe (#5, 6, and 7)

Meanwhile, Steve Wiebe, having replaced the hardware in his Donkey Kong machine to a proper Donkey Kong boardset, performed the latter three "darkened" scores. Like the first score, all three would run into problems, each for different reasons.

The first two 2004 submissions (record game #5 and 6 - 985,000 and 999,500) were never verified simply because the verification process was a slow undertaking. In Robert Mruczek's words, Twin Galaxies wanted to check every detail and avoid getting any "egg on [their] faces" of the sort that had occurred because of the Double Donkey Kong situation. Mruczek hadn't even finished watching the 999,500 game when Wiebe announced the first million-point game ever submitted to Twin Galaxies: record-breaking game #7, with a final score of 1,006,600.

"There it is - one small leap for Mario, one giant leap for Mariokind."
    - Wiebe, the moment he rolled the score to 1 million

Twin Galaxies was less than 48 hours from going public with the story of the new score when a bomb fell: upon an in-person investigation, Wiebe's hardware was found suspect as having been in the custody of Roy Shildt, persona-non-grata among Twin Galaxies, and someone viewed with great suspicion by the staff.

Some of the details as to the nature of the Shildt situation can be gleaned from The King of Kong. However, it must be stressed that the film should be taken with a grain of salt in that regard (and others), as it greatly simplifies, streamlines, and omits many details related to Steve Wiebe and his Donkey Kong scores.

Most importantly, of the four rejected performances, the film only depicts Wiebe's 1,006,600 performance and concatenates it with the others (games #3, #5, and #6), representing it as if it were Wiebe's first and only submission to Twin Galaxies, when it was actually his fourth (and was not, by the way, the "wipe my butt" game, which was Wiebe's first world record submission—the score that beat Tim Sczerby's).

As for the hardware controversy, only the Shildt situation is discussed in the film. The Double Donkey Kong issue is not described, except for Steve Wiebe mentioning in the film that Roy Shildt offered to replace Wiebe's boardset because the old one "broke." (This of course was not actually the problem with the DDK boardset, but Wiebe was most likely asked by the producers to phrase it that way for the sake of simplifying the story.)

Wiebe Triumphs At Funspot (#8)

Fed up with the unverified scores, and eager to prove himself in a manner that could not be contested, Steve Wiebe traveled to the 7th Annual American Classic Arcade Museum Tournament, held at Funspot in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire from June 2nd through 5th, 2005. The King of Kong depicts the events of the tournament, highlighting Wiebe's record-breaking public performance of 985,600, which was verified immediately.

The film innacurately depicts the Funspot game as being the first uncontested score to beat Mitchell's original 1982 score, neglecting to mention Mitchell's score in Milwaukee (to say nothing of Tim Sczerby's original record-breaking game).

The Tape Emerges (#9)

A copy of Billy Mitchell's aforementioned videotaped performance of 1,047,200 was finally submitted on June 4, 2005, the day after Wiebe's 985,600 live performance at Funspot. This event was one of the definitive moments in The King of Kong.

What the film does not show is that, while initially accepted by Twin Galaxies, Mitchell's score was actually removed from the database just three days later on June 7th by head referee Robert Mruczek, who demanded a more rigorous verification. At this time, Wiebe was reinstated as champion.

Months later, after receipt and examination of Mitchell's master tape, it was at last "formally and definitively approved" on January 6th, 2006. (Mruczek himself oversaw authentication of the score.)

During the verification process, Mruczek came to the (well-supported) conclusion that the game's final score—1,047,200—was intentionally engineered by Mitchell to best Wiebe's original 947,200 submission by exactly 100,000 points. Mitchell's behavior in the game strongly suggests that the final score is not coincidental. In Mruczek's words: "[Billy] dumped points just so he could get 100K more than Steve ... This was a 1.095-1.110M game if I ever saw one, wasted for the sake of proving a point."

The matter of the actual date of this eventually-accepted performance is also one worthy of very serious consideration.

The June 7th, 2004 performance date cited by Twin Galaxies is convincing. After all, why would Mitchell fashion his game around targeting Wiebe's 947,200 score if Wiebe had already submitted scores that beat it? It makes most sense if one assumes that the game contained on "The Tape" pre-dated those submissions.

This has major implications. If one considers the date of a performance, and not the date of submission or verification, to be the date of the world record, then none of Wiebe's 2004 submissions were ever world records, nor was his 985,600 Funspot performance! They were merely "personal bests" for Wiebe, who was actually chasing a record he didn't even know existed.

Regardless of whether or not it was actually the world record, the Funspot game still stands without dispute as the highest Donkey Kong score performed in public up to that time, as well as the first Funspot kill screen.

Wiebe Beats Mitchell For the First(?) Time (#10)

If Wiebe wasn't setting new records throughout 2004 and 2005, and Mitchell's tape made him the true record holder, then Wiebe really only broke the record once—in the original 947,200 game from 2003—and the only player he beat was Sczerby.

It wasn't until 2006 and Wiebe's 1,049,100 game—shown in the epilogue of The King of Kong—that Wiebe actually, officially, and undisputably, beat Mitchell for the first time.

It should be apparent by now why I am including Wiebe's ultimately-rejected scores in the table. Whether "official" or not, they are important to Donkey Kong history. Each game affected the competition, and each shows a step in Wiebe's progression, as well as his trials with Twin Galaxies submissions (which are even more difficult than the film depicts—since he actually had to contend with four scores and multiple reasons for disqualification, not just one score/one reason). They also help to convey a more accurate account of how Wiebe's rivalry with Mitchell actually unfolded.

The simplified version of the world record chase presented by The King of Kong misses much of the texture of the overall saga.

A very important point must be made here, however: while the film has been much maligned for its inaccuracies (which some have gone as far as to call malicious lies), the ins-and-outs of the record, the disputes, and all the drama thereto are difficult to follow and understand even to someone giving it their full attention. It would be unfair to put so many (often tedious and murky) details on the shoulders of an 80-minute documentary aimed at a casual, mainstream audience.

It was wise, and totally necessary, for The King of Kong to simplify the story. As Roy Shildt stated in an interview: "It would be, like, a five-movie miniseries if you told the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It would take forever. So they condensed it down a little bit."

The film had a duty to be concise, accessible, and entertaining. The reality (as you might be feeling by this point in the article) is none of those.

Billy vs. Steve, Post-King of Kong (#11)

In July of 2007, even as The King of Kong was making its way through film festivals across the country, Billy Mitchell struck back at Steve Wiebe, scoring 1,050,200 at an 80s-themed mortgage broker's convention in Florida.

There are a few things worth noting about this performance: it was displayed (with no audio) on a screen at the convention, with the video signal being fed directly from the game PCB. Mitchell was, presumably, playing from another room, but not in front of a crowd, or even a single known witness.

This score beat Wiebe's previous by exactly 1,100 points, and not by accident. When Mitchell reached his chosen score, he immediately surrendered the controls on the game, allowing his two remaining men to be killed off. After the game, Mitchell (as reported by MTV) had this to say:

"I don't need to run up the score. I just want to put one in the 'win' column. I want to make it competitive. I didn't want to make it too tough."

But there was more significance here than simply "not running up the score." As with The Tape, this game came with a coded message: 1,100 is "1.1 thousand," almost certainly a reference to 1.1 million. Mitchell may have been suggesting to Wiebe that he was ready to take the top score to that level and beyond, and that the ball was in Wiebe's court to do so.

A New Challenger Appears (#12)

It was nearly three years later—February, 2010—when a plastic surgeon from New York entered the fray. Dr. Hank Chien, known to the community up to that time only as a MAME player, submitted a score of 1,061,700, introducing new blood into a fight that had now been raging between two lonely combatants for almost a decade.

1,100 Again (#13)

Less than six months passed before Mitchell welcomed Chien to the battlefield by once again reclaiming the record, again by exactly 1,100 points, and again with an intentional surrender at that precise mark. Whether or not the 1,100 was meant to evoke 1.1 million, the number was now, unmistakably, a specific choice.

After the game, Mitchell commented on the points he threw away, saying simply, "Some say I'm being cocky. Some say I'm being lazy. I say, I'm being Billy Mitchell."

He went on to declare, "there's one more thing I have to take care of," and proceeded, at that very moment, to start a game of Donkey Kong Jr. Four hours later, he would reclaim the Jr. world record from Mark Kiehl.

The performance, which was timed to coincide with Mitchell's induction into the Video Game Hall of Fame one week later, took place at a Boomers theme park in Florida, and has raised questions. Both the Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior scores from that day were recorded via direct feeds from the game PCBs, contain no audio, the tapes do not show Mitchell himself playing, and the only witnesses were personal friends (one of whom—Twin Galaxies referee Todd Rogers—verified the score).

Wiebe's Last Stand (#14)

Mitchell held the record for just three weeks before Wiebe returned with another record-setting game, almost precisely four years to the day since his last. This game marks the fastest record turnover in Donkey Kong history. But with a fearsome new player now in the mix, it too wouldn't last long.

Hank, Hank, and More Hank (#15, 16, 17, 18, and 19)

Chien overtook Wiebe on December 27th, 2010 with a performance recorded from home, then beat his own score two months later in February of 2011, live at Funspot, on the very same machine where Wiebe had taken the record in 2005. Chien's 1,090,400 from that day would stand for over a year.

In May of 2012, while training for the Kong Off 2, Chien pushed the record past the 1.1 million mark for the first time with 1,110,100. He would improve the score two months later, reaching 1,127,700.

Finally, just over two weeks before the Kong Off 2, Chien hammered the record further for the fifth time in a row, bringing it to rest at 1,138,600.

What Next?

Who, if anyone, will be next to take the crown?

Will Mitchell—the man who has intentionally abandoned or soft-played multiple games that were on pace to reach a mark in excess of 1.1 million—finally unleash everything he has upon Donkey Kong for all the world to see, now that his "coded challenge" has finally been answered, or at least produce a comparable performance in front of a real crowd?

Will Wiebe return? He is still actively playing, but with newcomer Chien on a seemingly unstoppable streak of ever-increasing scores, it is easy to doubt whether Wiebe will ever see first place again.

Will Chien continue to repeat himself until all hope of topping the record is buried (which becomes increasingly likely with every new score)?

Will a promising lesser-known player like MAME champion (and all-around points leader) Dean Saglio become the fifth to hold the title?

There is still room for the score to rise, and it will be interesting to see what the next chapter holds.

--

Credit for most of the original research behind the data and information in this article goes to the excellent Donkey Kong Timeline and Robert Mruczek's response at Superbunker.com.

Other information was gathered from a variety of sources, including news releases, posts on the Twin Galaxies forum, and the Classic Arcade Gaming forum. Further specifics can be provided on request, and new information and corrections are eagerly awaited.

At no point does this article mean to necessarily imply any wrongdoing, irresponsibility, or ethical misconduct on the part of Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe, the King of Kong film—all of which I am extremely personally fond of—or any other person or group mentioned or not mentioned in the article. This is a presentation of facts, and I leave it to the reader to decide for himself what to make of them (at least for the purposes of THIS post—I'll be happy to tell you what I think, and what you should think, in others!)

Thanks, collectively, to all who contributed to this body of information.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

billy is the king, FOREVER

Alex Wood said...

billy is a coward "king", FOREVER

Leave Judy Wood Alone said...

Hank Chien is cheating and has bribed twinggalaxies in accepting his scores with doctored videos.scumbag

Anonymous said...

It seems clear to me that TwinGalaxies has a vested interest in Billy Mitchell and unless the so called Authority is beyond reproach how can they be trusted.... Steve Wiebe has of all involved been humble and willing to come out in public to defend his records... If these records are going to ever be credible in my opinion there needs to be a change at the top, and scores should only be accepted from sanctioned machines in front of witnesses period. Video is a joke...

Anonymous said...

Good read. Gz to Billy! The true champion. I must agree with my anon friend above that video is not credible enough.

Anonymous said...

Twin galaxies appear to be somewhat biased to Billy Mitchell.... It's a disgrace

Anonymous said...

Wiebe is a great man; so humble, modest and sincere. He has the highest score of all Kong players when it comes to general deportment.

Anonymous said...

Though it made for very intriguing viewing, it's a sad fact that the relationship between Billy Mitchell and Twin Galaxies casts an indelible shadow of bias/corruption over all of Billy's alleged record scores. Even if you resolutely convince yourself that 'King of Kong' intentionally manipulated the account to paint Billy as the villain of the piece, it's plain to see that he is nothing more than a childish brat desperate to hold on to a rapidly crumbling empire founded on deceit, subterfuge and corruption.

Sorry Billy, you cannot reasonably expect us to believe your hype any longer. You were never anything more than a pretender to the crown.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what ANYONE says, Title or no title, Steve or Billy or whatever!! I have 100% PROOF that if you take two slices of bread, put grated mozzarella cheese on it, a bit of ham, some mustard and mayo and toast that sucker, you got yourself one heck of a sandwich.

Anonymous said...

The above synopsis leaves out one or two small details regarding the Steve Wiebe submissions but is largely accurate. Steve's post-KoK submission of 1.049M was rejected due to technical reasons, while his 985K, 999K and 1.006M were never formally released due to the potential that they were DDK boardsets once Perry Rodgers/Brian Kuh discovered the link to Shildt when they visited Wiebe in Washington. Mitchell goes down as a show-boater with the 1.047M score revealed at Funspot...Mitchell does not show up while Wiebe does, so kudos in class here goes to Wiebe. Mitchell ALSO dumped more games publicly than anyone...his recurring "stunt" to leave games in progress is tiresome and a slap in the face to his competitors. New blood in the game takes it to 1.1M and beyond, and likely 1.2M will be "it" in the game, and beyond that will require a lot of luck.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies Chief Referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Chrispy said...

Thank you for the input, Robert. It's a pleasure to see you. As for the 1.049 game, I was under the impression that you personally invalidated the score (but were under pressure to accept it), on the grounds that it broke continuity of performance. This, however, happened around the time when you left Twin Galaxies (for unrelated reasons), and the score was ultimately upheld?

Anonymous said...

Correct, Chrispy...I never validated the score but was under presure from Walter to accept it. His exact words were that the "totality of the performance outweighed" the issue with the break in continuity of performance. In other words, he was going against his own rules. Thus this was one of the primary reasons that I left TG back on Dec19/06.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies Chief Referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that I always said to Walter and others as well as on the forums that the 1.049M performance was good from a gameplay perspective, but because of the break in continuity of performance it could not be accepted as a taped submission...letter of the law as I was a TG volunteer/referee (there were never any paid TG staffers back then, just volunteers)...and I tried my best to rigidly adhere to Walter's own laws governing score submissions.

This is also why it surprised the heck out of me how Mitchell's 1.047M performance was entered into the database during the 2005 Funspot/ACAM event...Walter went against his own rules back then as well since in the cabin as we watched the final portion of the performance before it was publicly revealed that Saturday at the event, we determined it was not the master tape thus the "glitch" that was seen was sufficient to invalidate the performance pending receipt of the performance. BUT, at the time, this was submitted for people to watch "for entertainment purposes only" according to Mitchell. No one knew that Walter/Bill would collectively treat this as a submission as is depicted in an isolated segment of Walter being filmed talking to Mitchell via cellphone in the "King of Kong" film product.

Not the first time that Walter bent his own rules for Mitchell, and not a good thing to do either as the officiating body has to be impartial and unbiased. Sure, we held Shildt's involvement as being highly suspect due to his earlier comments that we would try to "blow one past TG" one day, and since he seemed to actively seek out Wiebe and give him boardsets gratis this could very well have been the attempts to do so, thus prudence dicatated that TG withhold release of the Wiebe scores pending further validation.

But as for Mitchell's decision to publicly show that performance during the 2005 event at ACAM, that reeked of grandstanding. We will never truly know just who knew what as far as that 2005 event at Funspot/ACAM. The film suggests that Wiebe left a message to Bill, but objectively you have no way to know if this is the case or not since reaching Mitchell's voicemail could have been filmed at anytime before or thereafter, and clever editing, of which the "KoK" producer/director are quite guilty of, could easily create the illussion that a message was left.

As for what Mitchell knew, it was clear that he orchestrated the entire revelation of his score at that event. What the "KoK" film does not clearly tell you is that on the Wednesday night before the event started, the tape arrived at the airport and was picked up by gamer Greg Erway enroute to the event. That tape was shown in my cabin and was proven to be the wrong one. In front of the group present Brian Kuh called Mitchell to let him know, and Mitchell said he would expres mail out the tape to arrive the following day. Kuh is depicted in the film as delivering the tape to Funspot. Makes you wonder how the producer/director knew enough that he even HAD this tape in his possession as he is depicted carrying it in the Funspot parking lot.

Anyway, the first third was shown on THursday night in the Cram cabin which is inaccurately referred to as "Brian Kuh's cabin" in the "KoK" film. Brian intentionally cut the film after the first third was shown as per "orders from Mitchell". Even then you knew that in sequence the final third would be shown at Funspot/ACAM during the final day of competition. Yet Wiebe had not arrived yet until Friday.

On Friday Kuh was not allowed to show the second third of the film in the Cram cabin as he had ticked that group off by inviting around 30+ people to the showing and that cabin's renters (CRams, Donald Hayes and others) could not even go to sleep that night until quite late as a result, so it was next shown in my much smaller cabin.

(to be continued)

Anonymous said...

Wiebe was present in my cabin before the film showing started, and it was Kuh who told him that Mitchell specifically did not want him to attend as he was a fellow competitor. That was in some perspective a gamer's right to do so as per TG policy at the time, but also poor sportsmanship from another perspective.

Wiebe left and a very smaller group of gamers, plus Walter Day and also two other documentary people including Ross Tuttle, I think his name was, or Josh Tuttle, who continued to watch the film.

Interestingly, and inaccurately, Wiebe is depicted in the "KoK" film as crying back at Funspot/ACAM that he was not allowed to watch, and yet for the first third he had not even shown up yet, and also Funspot was closed by the time we were watching back in the cabin, so how was he back there being filmed and crying about it ? Film viewers would never realize this, so now you know.

When the final third was shown at Funspot/ACAM it was a classic example or poor sportsmanship and grandstanding. Kuh was acting "under orders from Mitchell" and asking Funspot/ACAM management to have a prime location table for his TV to be displayed showing Mitchell's filmed performance. At one point Kuh event attempted to, but was told no way, to put a TV set/VCR on top of the very same DK machine that Wiebe would be playing at so everyone could stand behind Wiebe as he played and watch Bill's performance unfold. How sick is that, never mind unfair to Wiebe ?

As it stands, Kuh was eventually allowed to show the tape at the back end of the arcade, and a significant group did watch the performance unfold. I was standing next to "KoK" director Ed Cunningham at the time and was telling him about the roll-over glitch and answering his questions along the way save for how much I thought Mitchell would make that game (even though I had seen the tail-end of the performance the night before)...none of which is captured on the "KoK" film product by the way.

As Mitchell's score of 1,047,200 was seen by all, Wiebe was concurrently playing DK with some observers. Talk about unfair pressure.

This fiasco was "explained" by Walter Day as being Mitchell's magnanamous effort to offer anyone who could break a million on DK during that event a thousand dollars, and anyone who could break the score on that tape ten thousand dollars. But the fact remains that no such announcement was made until the tape was shown at Funspot/ACAM during the middle of that Saturyda, offering Wiebe and any other attendee skilled at DK precious little opportunity to do so.

We will never know for sure how much of this was planned in advance. Certainly Mitchell getting exactly 100K more than Wiebe's earliest submission was pre-planned, as well as his performance shown in third culminating with the final day of the event, but did he in fact not know Wiebe would be at that event ? We will never know for sure. But two aspect that I am certain of...Mitchell dumped his game for the sole purposes of simultaneously reaching all zeroes in the score (next to the last elevator stage) and end the game exactly 100K beyond Wiebe's earliest 947,200 score.

As for Wiebe's final 1.049M score as epicted in "KoK", one has to wonder just how credible the filming was at the end of the film, to suggest that Wiebe in his garage, with his son hanging onto his back, was getting the 1.049M right then and there. After all, the film makers say on film that Wiebe wrote to them informing of his new record AFTER the film was completed, so just what exactly is being filmed at the tail-end of "KoK" when Wiebe is shown playing ? Clearly it was filmed for the sake of suggesting Wiebe was playing for the record, but it is just another example of the "KoK" film product that was inaccurate and/or misleading.

(to be continued)

Anonymous said...

In the aftermatch of "KoK" Mitchell and Wiebe only achieved a few truly decent scores on the game, in public anyway. Mitchell played publicly just a few times in recent years, while Wiebe farmed himself out to venues across the US trying to set a new DK record while only once breaking a million points during these excursions, and again, most recently, at a recent Colorado event.

There are other players pegging away at the game with more frequency now, and there are virtually no more secret tactics left uncovered in the game whereas back in 2004 there were as Mitchell's and Wiebe's tactics differed in several respects. The game's potential has increased as some tactics have been proven to be more fruitful point-wise than others, so the ultimate goal or point-pressing in every single stage successfully from start to finish is what is needed to be done to attain the highest possible score, and no one, not even the top players, have successfully pulled off that feat...yet.

Robert T Mruczek
Former Twin Galaxies Chief Referee
Star Wars classic arcade marathon champion

Anonymous said...

Billy is awesome. Billy Mitchell always has a plan...

Anonymous said...

Billy is a tool and his wife is fugly

Anonymous said...

I agree, Billy is a tool.

Anonymous said...

Billy Mitchell is not a champion.
Only a true man stands up with his foes, face to face to fight for the title.
Video proves nothing.
Billy mitchell is a coward.

Anonymous said...

watched show in australia and quickly realized that this so called man billy is a total headcase. loved the show great man steve,

Anonymous said...

These guys have and are influencing a whole new group of DK lovers and for that I tip my hat to them. This Hank guy only submits tapes so to me that ain't s$&t. Wonder if he did the work on Billy's wife's tits as those hooters are huge.

Anonymous said...

billy mitchell is a stupid cunt!

Anonymous said...

Like anonymous said above, Billy Mitchell is a very poor excuse for a human being however even though he is a cunt he has proved himself in live situations to be a world champion. It is obvious that twin galaxies has vested intrest in Billy but who really gives a rats arse what those loosers think. Steve is a top bloke, a real champ and at least the doco will teach people that. As for Hank, he needs to prove himself live before he is ever considered a world champion. Anyone can make a fake video these days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional backstory Robert.

HEY BILLY! as of right now Steve has a higher score than you. He is the standing directly on top of your looking down at your LOWER position on the ladder. You have failed Billy, you don't measure up.

Anonymous said...

This story is still very intriguing even after all these years. I will say that it is very impressive that Mitchell was able to go out publicly and win back his records several times. However, the sportsmanship he displays along with the taunting has made it easier to believe that the KoK depicts him accurately. I truly believe that Wiebe is a true champion with a heart to be honorable, and humble. He deserves his credit in every aspect, especially after reading just now how many times he was actually denied the record. As for Hank, knowing him personally, he is also the definition of a true champion. Hank is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, and openly cheers on the competition to do well and even compete for his record. All three are great players, but a true champions colors show when they are down, and Steve and Hank have proven themselves worthy of our respect. Thanks to Robert for providing much backstory to this great saga.

-KongHusker_

Anonymous said...

billy was not a very nice to steve. steve was a nice guy. if you watched the movie "king of kongs" you will know what i mean. the first time they meet, steve was on the donkey kong machine and said "hey billy" then billy ignored that and said to his wife "there are some people i dont want to spend too much time around" so... i dislike billy and steve is the rightful king of kong. -(besides the newest winner hank :D )

-bradexpos11 (mayhemcraft) www.youtube.com/mayhemcraft

Anonymous said...

Billy you are the world´s biggest douche. I hate u more than anything in the world. Do the world a favour and die!

Anonymous said...

Billy should hang his head in shame, and Walter needs to take a long hard loom at his judgment. Steve turned up and did the job. Billy ran and hid like a spoiled baby.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy any video performances. Do it live under the pressure and lights. What is up with Billy's hair. It should have it's own documentary.

Steve is the champ in my eyes.

It seems to me that the nerds in the movie are starstruck with Billy and are afraid of change. Cut ties with Billy\Uncle Rico and embrace the modern era of players.

Anonymous said...

Billy Mitchell is a sore loser.. His pathetic attempts to act "cool" just proves to everyone around that he is indeed a 15 year old high school girl trapped in a man's body. Twin galaxies is like the locker room in grade school, full of cliques and groupies. Steve Wiebe is a champion through and through and gives hope to people to push through all the bs and do what you know you can acomplish.

Sorry Billy, if you can't be a man and play under pressure like everyone else, then maybe you can shut your face when it comes to the people who have enough balls to take you on in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Whilst watching "KoK" I was amazed at how Mitchell has an unwavering following of slaves that idolize him unquestionably like some weird cult. I've no doubt that Mitchell is a world class player, however, the manor in which he and his slaves got on around Wiebe was absolutely disgusting - no more salt in them than a pack of common bullies.

Wiebe showing up and performing as he did showed some real guts as he knew he was walking into the Church of Mitchell. A lesser man would have slapped the shit out of everyone involved with the 'home visit' and washed his hands of anything to do with such an evidently biased organisation.

The "winner" here, regardless of score, was always going to be Wiebe. The man came across humble, determined, skilled, polite and had a fantastic family surrounding him. Mitchell came across as conniving, twisted, petty, manipulative, cowardly and as a bully.

Twin Galaxies didn't come off too well either in my opinion. How the integrity of the Guinness Book of World Records could be aligned against a committee where there is obvious bias and rule flexibility when convenient is astonishing to me. There was something sweet about Walter Day that made me want to like him, however his idolization of Billy Mitchell brings to the fore an undeniable weakness that is not appealing.

Mitchell, Wiebbe and the KoK documentary have evidently done more for competitive arcade gaming re: coverage than anything before it. Now that the world is looking in such conspiracies will be hard to wash

Anonymous said...

Just watched KoK- because my husband made me (and I admit I liked it). I agree Billy Mitchell doesn't seem very nice, but looking at the current record list here he has the two highest live scores ever so I don't understand why everyone is saying that Billy Mitchell can't perform live. Also a big thank you to Robert M for the extra details- you seem nicer on here than you came across- guess you really do have integrity above all so i respect that and hope you have a nice partner who does too( someone point me to the blog that has the gossip as to why you left, half joking, but i'm addicted to this saga, I may just even pop out back and try my luck on the dusty unofficial mame machine in the garage )
julie ( Australia)
P.S. cheers to the blogger who gave us this page to read

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Billy Mitchell, in regards to LIVE Donkey Kong scores, Billy is the only player to have scored over a million and he's done it LIVE twice!
No other player; Wiebe, or the current champion, have broken a million, LIVE!

I'm a Wiebe fan personally but facts are facts.
And a bit of me likes to root for the bad guy.

Anonymous said...

Whoever ends up with the world title, Steve has been to true "winner" and will be forever. Steve has shown the TRUE meaning of sportsmanship and what competition is about! Go Steve - you are the most talented and all around great guy!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, Twin Galaxies seems to just be too far up Billy Mitchell's ass for some reason. Although I rather enjoyed the movie- seeing the Billy Mitchell Desciples/fans really was something sad to see. Twin Galaxies although I can appreciate what they do- just can't seem to be trusted with as much stock they put into Billy Mitchell. Oh yea- what's up with Billy's hair cut? Yuck!

JNugent74 said...

Chris, this is a great article, but I think it should be updated. Also, you should point out that, in addition to submitting videos, Hank has also scored very high in live settings as well. Maybe a disclaimer at the beginning cautioning those who have watched KOK to read the entire article AND Robert Mruczek's comments at the end to get the whole story. Or, you could incorporate Robert's comments into your article (with his permission, of course). A great read, though.

Anonymous said...

VERY upset with TG after all of this. You think its a name you can trust, and then they side with someone like this. Its like playing in the super bowl, bu the ref is a former coach for one of the teams. I hated billys immature attitude and can only say one thing...cut your hair! Steve is the true champ to me. and lastly...Brian Kuh is the biggest nerd douche of them all. wishing so bad he was a champ himself, hes a b**** slave to billy...it was pretty funny actually

Anonymous said...

Finally saw "KoK" and felt there was some clever editing going on. Glad to get a LOT of clarification here. Just shows how rarely a documentary is actually just that.

THAT SAID...

Clearly a bias towards Mitchell here with his creepy following. This whole page reeks of pandering. The fact 11 and 13 are even considered "live" is downright comical.

Sad.

Anonymous said...

Billy Mitchell is a douche.

Anonymous said...

Strange that so many people are asserting here that Billy Mitchell has the highest "live" score when Hank Chien clearly has the highest "live" score on the list (1,090,400, Feb 27, 2011, # 16 above), which the article itself noted occurred live at Funspot, whereas comments as late as 2013 falsely assert that Billy still has the highest "live" score and that Hank hasn't 'proven' himself due to his purportedly 'doctored' videos. Billy's one last remaining claim to DK fame is gone, unless and until he can beat 1,090,400, live.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Hank Chien's live score might have been beaten (hard to verify due to unclear articles) by live scores by Vincent LeMay and/or Jeff Wilms. But even if that is the case, that wouldn't change the fact that Billy Mitchell doesn't have the highest live score. It just pushes him further down the list.

Chrispy said...

I should mention at this point that I have made two relatively brief but important changes to this article over the last couple of weeks, because these changes DO have a bearing on the comments. It would seem that people are taking note of the discrepancy between what the article says and what some of the older comments are saying:

1. 8/5/13 - I added wording to make it clear that Hank's 1,090,400 score (#16) was performed live at Funspot (as opposed to his other scores which were all taped). It was a mistake not to mention this initially. I did not anticipate several comments that would accuse Hank of being a cheat and of producing doctored videos. I assure you, this is not the case! Hank is the real deal and has proven it live on many occasions.

2. 8/10/13 - I have learned over the last few months some new details about Mitchell's post-King of Kong record reclamations (#11 and #13). Specifically, that the video of these submissions were direct game board feeds with no audio (and no Mitchell), and that, despite reports to the contrary, neither of these performances were actually witnessed live by neutral parties. As a recent commenter implied, their official TG designation as "Live" is, indeed, dubious. I will not engage in conspiracy theorizing, but after learning more about these performances (and after witnessing Mitchell's play at the Kong Off 2) I must admit that I now have some very serious questions. For that matter, I have of late had a hard time understanding how any of Mitchell's world record performances since Milwaukee 2004 (the three including "the tape" from King of Kong) could have possibly been verified given the "direct feed" format, which would not be accepted from any other player. These are silent recordings of video signals of indeterminate origin, wherein the player cannot be seen or heard. It seems odd indeed for TG to have verified those, while repeatedly rejecting full-cabinet recordings from Wiebe (who CAN be seen and heard) simply because Wiebe's raise a few technical questions. Silent "direct feeds" with no visual link to the player (and all of which just *happen* to have been submitted at moments of opportune publicity for that player), raise a lot MORE questions, all of them more important.

Finally, to the last commenter, the highest live score ever performed was Vincent Lemay's 1,135,900 at the 1up in January, followed by Willms' 1,105,900 two months prior at the Kong Off 2. Neither of these games, however, broke Hank Chien's world record of 1,138,600 at the time that they were played, so they aren't a factor in this article.

At this point, I plan to stop making all but the most minor edits to this article, since some of the comments are being orphaned from the material to which they are replying!

Anonymous said...

We need to get Billy Mitchell a Douchebag Jar.

"Some say I'm being cocky. Some say I'm being lazy. I say, I'm being Billy Mitchell."

Really?!?! Put a dollar in the jar.

Anonymous said...

get a grip on reality, guys:
every other person can break 1 million in this game if he practices for months on end. (but nobody sane enough is wasting his life with donkey kong scores)

Anonymous said...

I'd to see these guys try something impressive like StarCraft.

Anonymous said...

-do you know what my initials are? *pulling at tie*
-t.i.e?

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