In the 2007 movie The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, arcade gamer Billy Mitchell portrayed the antagonist to hero Steve Wiebe, who continually pursued Mitchell’s high score in Donkey Kong. In real life, Mitchell became the first person to reach stage 22, which is impossible to complete. He has since broken a million points in the game as well as reach Pac-Man‘s maximum possible score of 3,333,360. Unfortunately, those achievements have officially been stricken by Twin Galaxies, the organization managing gaming high scores, and Billy Mitchell is now barred from submissions, legitimate or otherwise.
The scores were judged invalid after an investigation into Billy Mitchell’s use of a MAME (multiple arcade machine emulator) instead of an actual arcade cabinet. which violates Twin Galaxies’s standards. Following the judgment, the Guiness World Records also wiped away Mitchell’s place on their pedestal. Guiness cooperates closely with Twin Galaxies in determining their records, so the double whammy isn’t really a surprise.
Moviegoers who saw 2015’s Pixels might be chuckling/busting a lung at this news, since the antagonist in that movie (SPOILER ALERT, by the way) also became world famous for beating the main character at Donkey Kong. Then it was later revealed that he outright cheated, making the hero of the film “the world’s best Donkey Kong player.” Add Pixel to the list of movies that predicted real life in the future. (END SPOILER) Coincidentally, Steve Wiebe now holds the official record for being the first man to score a million points in Donkey Kong.
There’s a valuable lesson to be learned from this Billy Mitchell scandal. And that lesson is: video game records make everyone go utterly nuts. But seriously, there’s an almost satisfying kind of karma born from reality playing out as it did in fiction, a completeness to the circle. It’s rare that things fall so neatly into place, but when they do, they’re worth the wait.