Donkey Kong is serious business, and soon it might be downright litigious. That’s if disgraced former champion Billy Mitchell tries legal means to get his gaming records reinstated. Mitchell, who is infamous for his depiction in the 2007 documentary The King Of Kong, had his world records abruptly taken from him in 2018.
In The King Of Kong, Mitchell and rival Steve Wiebe battled it out for Donkey Kong supremacy. Mitchell eventually won, though through some detective work online it was revealed that Mitchell, essentially, cheated. Mitchell has been banned from competition and his records and null, which Wiebe called “surreal” last year.
Mitchell responded to the ban and planned to fight it, and now it seems that he’s serious. According to a Wired report, Mitchell is threatening “legal recourse” against Guinness World Records and Twin Galaxies, which keeps records for the game, if they don’t give him his records back and retract “defamatory statements” about how he obtained them.
Last April, in response to a dispute raised by Donkey Kong Forum’s Jeremy Young, Twin Galaxies determined that a number of Donkey Kong score tapes submitted by Mitchell were not achieved on an “unmodified original DK arcade PCB [printed circuit board] as per the competitive rules.” The scoreboard management thus decided to remove all of Mitchell’s scores from its listings, including Mitchell’s heavily publicized record for the first perfect Pac-Man score. Guinness, which partners with Twin Galaxies to adjudicate videogame-based records, followed suit.
At the time, Mitchell said he planned to provide witnesses and documents that would “show that everything was done professionally, according to the rules.” He has now attempted to do just that, sending Twin Galaxies a 156-page document dump outlining his disputes through a collection of screenshots, witness statements, and “technical evidence.”
The main reason Mitchell’s records were banned is simple: many of them were not set on a traditional arcade machine, using a MAME emulator rather than an arcade circuit board, thus making his achievements invalid. Mitchell clearly intends to show that’s not the case with his 156-page document, which you can view here.
It’s also a good time to remind everyone that a character almost certainly based on Mitchell was a villain in the Cartoon Network gem Regular Show. Garrett Bobby Ferguson Jr. is a spitting image of Billy Mitchell. If he, you know, were a floating head with arms coming out of it.
It seems unlikely that Mitchell’s records will come back to him within the next two weeks, so prepare for a legal battle over a video game from the 1980s.