Billy Mitchell, the former King of Kong, has been dethroned after his scores were scrubbed from Twin Galaxies’ leaderboards in the wake of a dispute asserting that the high score record holder in games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong Jr., used an emulator and not the original arcade cabinets, which is strictly against the rules.
Mitchell first became famous for achieving a perfect score in Pac-Man in the 80s, before rising to prominence in the 2007 documentary, King of Kong, which focused on the rivalry between Mitchell and everyone’s favourite underdog Steve Wiebe. The dispute arose when forum poster Jeremy “Xelnia” Young claimed that Mitchell had used MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) and not an original arcade machine as the regulations for submitting a high score state.
“Real DK hardware generates the image in the same way you would open or close vertical window blinds…from side to side,” wrote Young. “Older versions of MAME (pre-0.122) generate the image in the same way you would put together a puzzle…piece by piece.”
Young also cites the rotation of the screen as further proof, writing, “Another MAME behavior that is worth pointing out is rotation. Although we see DK in the correct orientation when we play on a real cab, the video is actually generated on its side, with the top of the screen being on the right-hand side. MAME also emulates this incorrectly…Billy’s 1.047M and 1.05M games show the incorrect rotation. The 1.062M recording, however, appears to be the correct orientation. Since MAME versions haven’t changed the rotation, it’s likely this discrepancy was noticed at some point and corrected for future recordings (simple as using the -ror command).”
After investigating the claims, Twin Galaxies released a statement saying that, “We now believe that [Mitchell’s submissions] are not from an original unmodified DK arcade PCB, and so our investigation of the tape content ends with that conclusion and assertion.”
You can read the finer details here, but the long and short of it is that all of Mitchell’s high scores have been removed from Twin Galaxies’ records. And there’s good news for those of you who watched King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters and rooted for Steve Wiebe.
“With this ruling Twin Galaxies can no longer recognize Billy Mitchell as the 1st million point Donkey Kong record holder,” the statement concluded. “According to our findings, Steve Wiebe would be the official 1st million point record holder.”
Billy Mitchell has been banned from future submissions.