How I felt watching The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters…
As a non-gaming woman in her mid twenties, the extent of my gaming knowledge amounts to Crash Bandicoot and Guitar Hero between 2006-2009. I remember coming home from middle school and destroying my brother in 2 player mode on Crash and killing expert mode of Love is a Battlefield and feeling like Pat Benatar.
So, given how inexperienced I am with the intricacies of the gaming world, I must admit that I was incredibly skeptical as I waited for the 2007 gaming documentary, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, to download from Amazon. On a seemingly insignificant Monday evening, I situated myself on the couch with my little sister and my girlfriend (fellow non-gamers) expecting a snooze fest, but we were sorely mistaken!
The next 79 minutes of our lives were filled with so many feels… Shock! Happiness! Sadness! Disgust! Confusion! Anger!
Every feel culminating into pure entertainment.
In a nutshell, Billy Mitchell, the reigning champion of Donkey Kong, meets his match in Steve Wiebe, a middle school science teacher who wipes butts in the face of distress.
Steve submits a video of him surpassing Mitchell’s world record. The weasels of Twin Galaxy abuse their trivial power in the gaming world and undermine Wiebe’s talent by considering his video unacceptable for ranking.
But good ultimately prevails, and Wiebe proves his superiority live and in person at the Fun Center in Iowa; beating Mitchell’s score for a 2nd time!
Mitchell then submits a heavily (and obviously) edited video showing him surpass the million mark, and Twin Galaxies abuse their trivial power (yet again) to place Mitchell back on top of the Donkey Kong high school chart.
I could’ve stopped the documentary at this point (and would recommend one does); what more proof does one need to prove that Bill and the Twin Galaxies crew are snakes?! Wiebe beat Mitchell – not once – but twice?!
Sadly, the documentary loses its momentum…the remainder of the film deals with the 2007 Guinness World Record gaming competition where, one would assume the final public face off between Mitchell and Wiebe would eventually go down…
But, just like Brian Kuh’s love life (#SorryNotSorry), the audience was let down.
The documentary ends with Wiebe showing up to the competition and Mitchell slithering away from an unadulterated face off, resulting in Mitchell holding his high score until 2010, when Wiebe finally claims what was rightfully his!
Life lesson from my first experience viewing a gaming documentary:
Regardless of the simulations and artificial reality these gamers play in, real emotions transcend virtual lines. The highs and lows witnessed during the documentary were genuine and affected 3 viewers who shared very little relatable experiences with Billy and Steve.
So, bravo to Seth Gordon, who constructed an authentic, albeit niche, adventure through the trenches of genuine human emotion that can be related to by all.