Billy Mitchell Loses 'Donkey Kong' High Score Record

Billy Mitchell, one of the most controversial video game icons of the last few decades, has had his Donkey Kong high scores removed from Twin Galaxies' records. For years, rumors have suggested Mitchell's scores were false, but nothing much happened. That is, until forum moderator and YouTuber Jeremy "Xelnia" Young released a video detailing everything questionable about the scores, causing an internet backlash that forced Twin Galaxies to rescind the record.

Twin Galaxies Adjudication has determined that the dispute against Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong scores has been accepted. All of his records and scores have been removed from Twin Galaxies. #BillyMitchell #WorldRecordshttps://t.co/XZfa8jV532

— Twin Galaxies (@TwinGalaxies) April 12, 2018

There a few reasons why Mitchell's scores have come into question. All of his records were completed without a Twin Galaxies rep watching and were done on emulators rather than actual boards.Games run on emulators act differently than games run on arcade boards, so Twin Galaxies has banned all use of MAME, an emulation software. Now that it's been proven without a doubt that Mitchell must have cheated, his scores have been eliminated.

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a documentary chronicling the fight between Mitchell and competitor Steve Wiebe, ended with Mitchell keeping his high score record. Due to this change, Wiebe has now been rewarded for his hard work, earning the first million-point record on a Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.

In the documentary, Mitchell comes off as an outright villain, laughing maniacally and pulling high scores out of nowhere just to keep his decades-old record. He comes off as petty and selfish, which could be one of the reasons the internet has been so happy to celebrate his failure.

Billy Mitchell may have been stripped of his gaming records, but at least he’s picked up a new sponsor! pic.twitter.com/jhqBv5PKQt

— TheRetroEarth (@TheRetroEarth) April 12, 2018

Saw all this today...

- Billy Mitchell scores disqualified
- New God of War is a masterpiece
- Radical Heights off to a good start
- the Today Show story about how Fornite is this cultural phenomenon.

I think today is officially VIDEO GAME DAY.

— Ed Boon (@noobde) April 12, 2018

I interviewed Mitchell in June 2016. I was a lowly beat reporter who had never had the chance to talk to a "celebrity." King of Kong was one of my favorite documentaries, but I had long suspected Mitchell's portrayal as a maniacal overlord just didn't fit. Over our hour-long conversation, he explained the editors of the film twisted his sarcasm into malicious intent. It's likely one of the reasons he sued Regular Show for parodying him.

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The King of Kong has lost his throne Twitter

A captivating storyteller, Mitchell told me of a time in the mid 1980's when he, Twin Galaxies creator Walter Day, and a few other "pro gamers" toured the country in a bus full of arcade cabinets. Gaming was still niche in those days, and he showed small-town Americans being good at games is an actual skill. (As a young esports-obsessed writer, it was exactly what I wanted to hear.)

While on the trip, the group stopped at a bar with a Pac-Man machine inside. Mitchell, underage at the time, started playing until the bouncer noticed.

"He wanted me out and I said 'after this game I'll leave'" Mitchell recalled. He played that one game until the bar closed, with the bouncer fuming in the corner the whole time. I have no idea how much of this story is genuine, but it's stuck with me.

Mitchell doesn't deserve the Donkey Kong record and cheated his way to the top, there's little doubt about that. That still doesn't change his impact on the world of gaming and his title as one of the first "esports pros" ever to break into the spotlight.