Lakeman's Revenge: Copeland Defeated In Kong Off 5's Final Round!

Lakeman and Copeland vie for the win while Dean Saglio calls the action
Photos: Jeff Harrist
Photo: TJ Jones

August 3rd, 2016 - This past weekend, classic gaming fans watched as the second Kong Off in a row culminated in the perfect grudge match.

Once again, a world record holder and the champion he ousted into second place were pitted against one other for the Kong Off final. And as before, #2 in the record books walked away #1 for the day.

Last year it was Robbie Lakeman versus Hank Chien, with Chien taking the Kong Off title, but Lakeman still above him in the all-time standings.

This time around, it's Lakeman who will wear the Kong Off belt, while Wes Copeland's high score remains the one to beat.

It couldn't have been scripted better.

Day 2 high score attempts
Photo: William McEvoy

More than a dozen players fought for supremacy over the course of the first two days, but only the eight with the highest scores could move on to the third day's bracketed head-to-head semi-finals.

Billy Mitchell, who competed in the event but declined to submit any scores, emceed the Day 3 matches for the ReplayFX crowd and the camera crews gathering footage for upcoming documentaries.

A surprise appearance from the Dark Lord of the Sith
(joined by another of cinema history's greatest villains!)
Photo: William McEvoy
Lakeman embraces Jeff Wolfe after their semi-final match
Photo: William McEvoy

Fatigue from a grueling, sleep-deprived weekend was a major factor on the last day, but one by one Copeland and Lakeman worked through their brackets (shown here) until the stage was set for the ultimate showdown.

Dean Saglio and Hank Chien, now relieved of their competitive duties, took to the mic to provide expert commentary for the fans watching on stream, illuminating the finer points of Donkey Kong strategy and inviting viewers inside the thought processes of high-level play.

While a new world record will never be the goal in a single coin head-to-head, Lakeman and Copeland forced each other to play hard. Deep in the game, Copeland was well ahead of Lakeman in pace, but behind him in spare men. Eventually fatigue got the best of Copeland and he succumbed to the Level 19 rivet board with a score of 975,900. This instantly gave the victory to Lakeman (since his score was already past Copeland's), but Lakeman opted to play out the remainder, cashing in all of his spare men on the last barrel board and treating the crowd to a kill screen with a score of 1,096,100.

Photo: William McEvoy

Hundreds of viewers were on hand to witness the finish, both live at the ReplayFX event, and on Twitch (thanks in no small part to a story on Polygon, which helped "boost the signal" for us.

#5 was, by far, the best-streamed Kong Off of them all, with almost total coverage of every minute of gameplay and three full days of commentary from top players, fans, and guests. Special appreciation must go to Jeff Harrist, creator of Donkey Kong Forum, and competitor Daniel Desjardins, who both went the extra mile to set up the live streams, which will remain archived at http://twitch.tv/kongoff5.

Photo: Ethan Daniels

The Kong Off 6 is still in the earliest planning stages. Certainty at this point is limited only to the understanding that it will not be held again in Pittsburgh at ReplayFX (which was always a strict two-year engagement for Kong Offs 4 and 5), nor at the 1up in Denver (Kong Offs 2 and 3). The most likely scenario will be a return to where it all began at the inaugural Kong Off: Richie Knucklez arcade in New Jersey.

As for Lakeman, while the "retirement" talk comes and goes (and comes again), he's still got a world record to reclaim, and has stated that as long as he believes it to be within his reach, he'll keep trying for it.

Kong on!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow dat photo credit; l22

Anonymous said...

Nice one, Robbie. Now get the record back. :)

Anonymous said...

God bless you robbie!

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