‘Donkey Kong’ legend Billy Mitchell has high scores wiped from record books
Twin Galaxies, a retro-gaming record organization that tracks scores in many classic arcade games, announced on April 12 that it was removing Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kongscores from its leaderboards, as well as all scores he had achieved in other games.
The decision comes after the validity of several of his Donkey Kong scores were called into question, with skeptics asserting the footage captured for the records was impossible without the use of the software emulation program MAME. This is due to the way the software produces board transitions compared to the original hardware, and Twin Galaxies asserts the tape Mitchell used for the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters was not recorded with original arcade hardware. The organization stopped short of saying MAME was used, as testing to determine this would be “beyond the scope” of what was needed for the investigation.
“From a Twin Galaxies viewpoint, the only important thing to know is whether or not the score performances are from an unmodified original Donkey Kong arcade [printed circuit board] as per the competitive rules,” Twin Galaxies said in its official statement. “We now believe that they are not from an original unmodified Donkey Kong PCB, and so our investigation of the tape content ends with that conclusion and assertion.”
As part of Twin Galaxies’ decision, the organization will now recognize Steve Wiebe as the first player to achieve a score above 1 million in Donkey Kong. Wiebe was Mitchell’s challenger featured in The King of Kong. Neither player held the current world record for the game — that honor is held by Robbie Lakeman, who achieved a score of 1,247,700 earlier this year.
This is the second high-profile controversy Twin Galaxies has dealt with in 2018. Back in January, the organization banned Todd Rogers after it was discovered he had falsified his own record for the game Dragster. As a result, Guinness World Records removed Rogers from its own database.