Arcade Game Record-Holder Is Stripped of His Scores

Group that sanctions records scrubs Billy Mitchell's marks after investigation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2018 9:25 AM CDT
   (Getty/FelixRenaud)

(Newser) – It's high drama in the obscure but passionate world of old-school arcade games. The organization that oversees records has stripped a top gamer of his high scores in Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, reports Polygon. The group, Twin Galaxies of Iowa, concluded after a lengthy investigation that Billy Mitchell did not play on an original arcade machine as required but instead used a software "emulator." The more damning implication is that Mitchell—previously credited with being the first to score a perfect game on Pac-Man and the first to crack 1 million points on Donkey Kong—faked his games. He adamantly denies it and promised in a video statement to prove his scores are valid. Still, Guinness World Records acted in accordance with Twin Galaxies and wiped Mitchell's records from its books, per the Washington Post.

More casual fans of the niche hobby might recognize Mitchell's name from the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Fans of that film viewed the Twin Galaxies decision "as well-deserved vindication for Steve Wiebe, the lovable underdog score-chaser who saw his heroic attempts to make Donkey Kong history repeatedly (and suspiciously) thwarted by overtly villainous Mitchell in the film," writes Sam Barsanti at the AV Club. Indeed, Wiebe is now recognized as the first to hit 1 million on Donkey Kong. After an official challenge lodged by another gamer, Twin Galaxies studied the videotape of Mitchell's 2010 record-breaking Donkey Kong game and concluded that it was not played on an original console, as he claimed. The group not only scrubbed all of Mitchell's scores from its records, it forbid him from submitting new ones. (A retro game is suddenly back in vogue.)

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