Steve Wiebe: My Idol

By: Evan Schrager

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters was a very interesting portrayal of the world of video games. It made competitive gaming look as important as competitive events such as the NBA and NFL. To me, it was quite amusing and entertaining to watch.

Steve Wiebe is the protagonist of the movie in my opinion. I think he is portrayed as the “family man” and is the more likeable of the two main characters. Steve was always “second-best” with everything he pursued in his lifetime. Between baseball, the drums, and Donkey Kong, Steve Wiebe could never grasp that number one title. His failure to achieve victory in competitive contests makes him the protagonist-he was always chasing that elusive designation as a “champion”.

So he decided to take up video games (an interesting choice, isn’t it?). After failing at more acceptable things in life, video games seemed like a practical idea to keep Steve occupied. He has a definite knack for excelling at what ever he puts his mind to. Throughout the movie, Steve’s struggle is portrayed in a frustrating and compelling manner. Many times, I found myself rooting for him.

Billy Mitchell was a very interesting character. The movie made him seem like somewhat of a villain. He embarrassingly stated so in an interview about the movie. As the viewer, you might feel bad for Billy Mitchell after hearing this interview- the movie really did make him look like a rude, arrogant, scumbag. However, he is not the protagonist. He was simply the obstacle that Steve Wiebe had to overcome scorewise (in the video game) as well as mentally.

Steve Wiebe absolutely undertook a quest to finally be the best at something for once. He achieved success on his quest and seemed to have learned a lot from it (Lots of EXP Points!). From the “phony board” to the live world record, he took a rough mental beating. I don’t think I would have lasted as long as Steve did in terms of determination and taking all the crap he took. He’s got a heart.

A parallel I noticed between the Wiebe-Mitchell rivalry is the rivalry between Gandalf and Sarumon in The Lord of the Rings. Although the wizard rivalry had much more of a good vs. evil theme, one was portrayed as the villain and one as the “good guy”. Billy Mitchell’s desire to be on top can be connected to Sarumon’s need for survival and safety. Sarumon joins the Dark Lord for the sole reason of being powerful and safe from their evil. Gandalf just wants peace and happiness to thrive in Middle Earth, and commits all his power to that cause. Steve Wiebe, while very intent on winning the title of Donkey Kong Champ, really served as a good parent and husband in the end, despite the lack of “butt-wiping”.

Steve “Weeb” is an overall awesome guy. I hope to share a beer (When I am 21, of course) with him one day like “Blogmaster” Hall.

Steve, Our Everyman

By: Max Mam

When I first sat down to watch The King of Kong, I was expecting to endure an hour and a half or so of a boring documentary about some arcade player looking to make a name for himself. I had no idea, however, that throughout the course of the film I would grow to become emotionally attached to Steve’s struggle to attain the world record on Donkey Kong.

Steve Wiebe is the protagonist of The King of Kong. But more than that, he is the only character I felt any emotional link during the entire film. I, along with many other viewers, felt his triumph when he scored his first 1 million+ point game in his garage, his anguish when his record was denied, and his joy when he finally bested Billy Mitchell in the record books.

So why do we all root for Steve Wiebe and make him the hero of our story? Well perhaps part of it is the slant that the movie director applied to the film in order to increase the entertainment value. Even so, I think it is the fact that all of us know what it is like to be the underdog, to want something so much that we work tirelessly to get it. Steve Wiebe is our everyman. His victories are our victories and his failures are ours as well. We feel his painful shortcomings in our lives every time we fail at something and we can easily understand his desire for success.

So why isn’t Billy Mitchell our protagonist? I mean, he certainly is extraordinary and is the current world record holder of the Donkey Kong high score. He even has his own hot sauce! Again, the director certainly biased the film towards Steve, yet even beyond that I feel it is because Billy is so good that many of us can’t truly relate to him. How many of us hold multiple world records for arcade games and how many times have we been hailed as the best arcade game player of our era? He is simply out of our league. We can never truly relate to Billy Mitchell and that is why we all want Steve as our protagonist.