Donkey Kong scandal
‘Player of the century’ has records removed
Once dubbed the “video game player of the century ” and shot to international notoriety by a cult classic documentary, Billy Mitchell’s rein in the arcade is now in question.
The man who once held world records in such classic arcade games as Donkey Kong and Pac-Man has been stripped of his high scores after a scandal that’s upended the world of oldschool video gaming.
Last week, Twin Galaxies, the organization that referees classic arcade scores, announced it had determined some of Mitchell’s records were not attained on actual arcade machines but by using the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) or software that replicates the games — a violation of Twin Galaxies’s rules.
“The rules for submitting scores for the original arcade Donkey Kong competitive leaderboards requires the use of original arcade hardware only,” the organization said.
“The use of MAME or any other emulation software for submission to these leaderboards is strictly forbidden.”
Mitchell has promised to prove his scores are valid.
But last Friday, Guinness World Records acted in accordance with Twin Galaxies’s ruling by scrubbing Mitchell’s records with the organization, the gaming site Kotaku reports.
“The Guinness World Records titles relating to Mr. Mitchell’s highest scores on Donkey Kong have all been disqualified due to Twin Galaxies being our source of verification for these achievements,” a Guinness representative told the website.
“We also recognize records for first perfect score on Pac-Man and highest score on Pac-Man. Twin Galaxies was the original source of verification for these record titles and in line with their decision to remove all of Mr. Mitchell’s records from their system, we have disqualified Mr. Mitchell as the holder of these two records.”
In February, Twin Galaxies fielded a complaint by another gamer challenging three of Mitchell’s scores and questioning whether Mitchell actually earned the marks on an arcade machine. An investigation was launched into the video footage taken of each of the high-scoring games.
“We now believe that they are not from an original unmodified” Donkey Kong machine, Twin Galaxies said.
Mitchell is one the highest-profile gamers in the world due to his list of records. In 1999, he was the first gamer to notch a perfect score on Pac-Man. He also was featured in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.