You really don’t get as much attention as Helen of Troy Billy.

When I first realized exactly what the movie King of King: A Fistful of Quarters was all about (a documentary about the Donkey Kong arcade game’s world record), I’ll say that I was thinking to myself: “Wow, this is going to be a LONG class”.  Despite my foolish pessimism, however, I soon realized that this was no ordinary documentary.  At least, in most documentaries I’ve seen there aren’t people who I end up actually hating by the end of the movie.  Not so in King of Kong.  How can anyone who has seen this movie not completely despise Billy Mitchell, self proclaimed video game hall of famer who to me seems like he never really matured past the age of seven.  At one point he even says: “Not even Helen of Troy had that much attention” when he hears how many people are in attendance to watch his video taped world record (see video at end).  A more important question may be how anyone would possibly want to be portrayed as a complete jerk in a movie, basically ensuring that anyone who watches the film will dislike you.

Unbeknownst to me, competitive old school video gaming is a cut-throat world filled with endless manipulation and backstabbing.  This is why I was incredibly happy to see someone like Steve Wiebe who plays by the rules (apparently), and isn’t a complete jerk to everyone around him.  The ending to the movie absolutely made my day as I got to see Billy Mitchell’s ego squashed by the high school science teacher who took the record for highest taped score of Donkey Kong.

Unfortunately, later in the week I looked online and found that Steve Wiebe is no longer the King of Kong.  The distinction is now held by Hank Chien…all I can say is I’m glad it’s not Billy Mitchell.




Billy Mitchell. The man, the myth, the legend. I have never been more inspired by a single person in a movie like I was by Billy in King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters. He is at the top of his game in all endeavors of his life. His refusal to settle for second place and his quest for perfection in everything he participates in is intoxicating.
It’s not every day that you get named the video game player of the CENTURY. Not only did Billy record the first perfect Pac-Man game ever but he was also named one of the top 10 most influential gamers of all-time by MTV. The man even has his own Topps trading card. Who cares if he only holds one current world record, one that he shares with five other players. The fact that he never backs down from a challenge makes him a true role model for all young people.
Billy didn’t just settle for the top spot in the video gaming arena, he also took his talents to the hot sauce game, producing the world famous “Rickey’s World Famous Sauces”. He also owns a very exclusive, invite-only restaurant creatively named “Rickey’s World Famous Restaurant,” only open to winners like him, which is exactly why Steve Wiebe was not welcome there in the documentary.
Billy does not take no for an answer, and he’s not afraid to cheat with fake video tapes to get what he wants. He also is a man of his word, practicing what he preaches by always setting his records in public arcades. Kids and adults alike look up to him, and he never lets them down. He even helps an elderly woman achieve her dream by sponsoring her trip to set a world record at Funspot.
He’s also at the pinnacle of fashion, wearing ties that radiate nothing but freedom and courage. His love for America is ever-present in his use of USA as his high-score initials. He loves his country more than anything. And have you seen his hair? Flawless. The man has beautiful locks, it’s as simple as that. And his wife? Actually I won’t go there.
Bottom line, Billy Mitchell is the man.



It’s Called Sportsmanship Buddy

True competition is not found on the football field or basketball court. You won’t find it in the MLB, NFL, or NBA. Instead, real competition is found in the arcades, or at least that’s what King of Kong: A FistFul of Quarters leads me to believe.  In fact, I can say that out of all sports related movies I have seen, I have never seen more competitive people portrayed than the arcade game players in that movie. 

I have always been a competitive person and therefore try and stay as far away from it as possible. I don’t let myself get caught up in the winning vs. losing of it anymore. However, when I was little and would lose a soccer game I was the girl who refused to shake the other team’s hands. However, after doing so, I would be quickly reprimanded. When it comes to competitive team sports, the idea of sportsmanship is so important to the appearance of the team that seeming overly competitive is inappropriate.   This is why while watching King of Kong, I was so baffled by Billy Mitchell’s blatant rudeness. For example, the way he chooses not to acknowledge Steve Wiebe but instead simply makes offensive comments he knows Steve will over hear. I couldn’t see a how a public figure like himself could allow himself to be seen in such a way. There is a difference between what one may think in their head and the way they act in public. There is a difference between what their innate competitive nature urges them to do and what their reasonable side knows is appropriate.  When you have a video camera on you, it’s probably in your best interest to seem polite and respectful of others rather than egotistical and unscrupulous. Maybe that’s something learned through team sports. Maybe that’s something that can only be understood once you have had the idea of sportsmanship repeatedly drilled into you.  When you know you and your team are going to be judged based on your words and actions to other teams, you think twice about them. Billy Mitchell apparently was never taught that lesson while Steve Wiebe who played organized sports for years had. I guess every movie needs a protagonist and an antagonist and Billy Mitchell did a fabulous job of making himself the one to hate.

After watching King of Kong , I will never question video games as a completive sport again. Like they said at the beginning of the movie, people often think of gamers just sitting alone playing the game. To me, playing an arcade game was about competing against yourself and seeing how far you could get. Maybe that’s because I never stood a chance of actually succeeding and reaching a high score. Now, I understand video games players to be some of the most competitive people I have ever witnessed, and I will never question the competition again.


Giving America a Bad Name

Wow.  That was all I could say after just riding one of the most intense emotional rollercoasters that I have ever been on.  The emotions evoked by King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters were both unexpected and captivating, as I was on the edge of my seat the entire movie, whenever I wasn’t falling out of it from laughing at the ridiculousness of some of the people in the documentary.

Aside from all of the absurd people and events that took place in the documentary, there is actually much that can be learned from Steve Wiebe’s journey to the top.  Video games provided him with an outlet for his frustration that really allowed him to leave all his personal struggles at the door when he entered the arcade, or in his case, his garage.  After losing his job Wiebe dedicated himself to becoming the best of the best, deciding to stop nowhere short of first place.  Had Wiebe not had this safe haven from his personal life then there is no telling where he would be now.  The game gave him something to work towards that could make him believe in himself again, and he was able to dedicate himself to a new job and become a science teacher beloved by all his students.

While video games brought out perseverance and hard work in Steve they actually brought out many negative characteristics in Billy Mitchell and his groupies.  The competitive nature of professional gaming led Billy to become an egotistical monster, who was one of the most frustrating people that I have ever encountered.  I have rarely someone to lose so badly before, and I found myself passionately rooting against him the entire movie.  His only redeeming quality was his love for America, coupled with his great collection of patriotic neckties.  However, in the end I came to the conclusion that Billy actually gave the USA a bad name, as his cowardice and arrogance are not values that should be admired in a true American.  His reluctance to compete against Steve in a live competition should have instantly decreased his credibly among the entire gaming community, however the corrupt nature of Twin Galaxies and his followers let Billy’s fear of losing slip by without criticism.

Video games helped Steve Wiebe finally succeed and come out on top in something, which he had never been able to do before.  They also helped him get his life back on track and made him a few new friends along the way.  They also brought out the worst in Billy, as his huge ego eventually overtook him and caused him to run from challenges and possibly even cheat.  I am still unconvinced of the credibility of Billy’s high-score tape that skipped from score to score and had a fuzzy line on the left-side of the screen quite frequently.  It was also an outrage that his taped score was counted and Steve’s was not, and they never even went to check to see if Billy’s machine was tampered with or not.  All in all this documentary was truly enthralling, and I was thrilled to see the underdog come out on top.

-George de Roziere

Kinetix’s Theory of Relativity Part One

It once mattered who the toughest kid on the block was; it mattered which mother could bake the best cookies and which hunter was best in his clan. It mattered because we humans are a species of relativity, I am only strong if I am stronger than him and only rich if I can afford more than almost everyone else. But, in this day in age, with new technologies that facilitate globalization and 6 billion competitors it is hard to be the “est” of anything and being good is rarely ever enough. And that is what all of us are, competitors- competing for success in a world where everyone is comparing themselves to everyone else.


All of us, every single one of us, starts our lives believing we are the center of the universe. Over time however, we realize that we are just not that special and that while we are unique, there are thousands of others just as “good” as we are. Well, at least some us experience this awakening.


Because everyone strives to be the best, we idolize and envy those who are, believing that they must have it all, and lead the lives we normal folk can only dream of. This adoration and respect of the public, inflates the heads of the winners, preventing them from the day of reckoning all of us need, making them nearly unbearable to be around. For if the mediated world is telling you you are the best, wouldn’t you be a fool to disagree with them?


To me, “King of Kong” is one of the clearest examples of the exaltation of those who have separated themselves from the pack and established themselves as best of… anything. In the film, Billy Mitchell, the world’s first gaming celebrity,  was surrounded by the best gamers in the world who all just wanted to be him, and while he was screwed up in the head in the first place, I think this screwed him up even more. It was he who (apparently) got all the pretty girls, made the money and even had a nemesis. While he is an exceptional athlete of sorts, and deserves to be proud of his accomplishments and success, it was that everyone wished they were him, that gave him the power. In reality, another sixty thousand points in Donkey Kong does not make either one of them better or worse than the other, but Steve Wiebe needed this for himself, he needed the applause of the world and to be recognized as excellent, and his need being so great is what empowers people like Billy Mitchell, the winners.


What I am taking out of this film (besides incredible entertainment) is that in order to empower ourselves we need to stop striving to be others. Looking closely at what I said, I did not say stop striving to be the best because we should always strive to be the best, just not relative to others, but relative to ourselves.


Not everyone will hear our names on CNN, or solidify our heroism in history with statues. However, all of us have the ability to change the world. By being the best son, brother, friend, wife boyfriend, boss or employee we really can make a difference. If the owner of a factory decides to spend an extra 1000 dollars to install an air-conditioning in his factory, all of his 300 workers will not dread coming to work as much everyday, and thus be in lighter spirits when they come home to hardworking wives and children.  That is being the best boss you can be and not having to be the best one there is.


All in all, while we all cheer for Steve Wiebe, it is sad that he needs this to feel good about himself, especially when he has a job and family to worry about at home. To play a game only to remind oneself how good you are, defeats the purpose of entertainment and is a sad byproduct of our competitive world. The world’s best gamers and Olympic athletes spend their lives trying to get to the next level or shave a few milliseconds off their time. While we are all happy in the end because the kind Steve Wiebe has defeated the obnoxious Billy Mitchell, this article, illustrates how unhealthy and futile this complex is. All I can think of now is a teary eyed Wiebe in his dark garage trying to reclaim the top of the hill while his wife sleeps alone upstairs. An ending thought to be continued another week- is it then worth it to quit the game? To never compare ourselves to anyone else?


See you next week,

The best, , the strongest, the fastest and the prettiest-



“Best does not have to mean better than the rest” – Kinetix

Wiebe vs. Mitchell; Hekyll vs. Jekyll


King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters was one of the more, how should I say, interesting documentaries I have ever seen. It was an insight into a world that, quite frankly, I did not know existed. The classic-game sport, if I may call it that, is filled with corruption, agendas, and unethical practices. This came as a real surprise to me. I never considered that there could be any dispute over a game-record. But, like everything else, if there is a way to do something legitimately, there are a thousand ways to do it illegitimately.

Throughout the entire movie, it was clear that Twin Galaxies and its associates were Billy Mitchell supporters, and not the unbiased score keepers that they wanted to be seen as. Billy Mitchell was their meal ticket and therefore they wanted to protect his scores. Twin Galaxies gained off the fame of Billy Mitchell. This was evident when Steve Wiebe first beat Billy Mitchell’s high score and submitted his video evidence of it. But because Roy Shildt was involved with Steve Wiebe and even bought him a new Donkey Kong board, Wiebe’s score was attacked and delegitimized because of the history between Mitchell and Shildt.

Another example of the agenda and corruption of Twin Galaxies is that Mitchell, for all his talk, never competed live against Wiebe. He then, after all the controversy over Wiebe’s video submission, submitted a tape of him beating Wiebe’s record. And even before the tape was verified as a legitimate entry, Walter Day, supposed video game referee, declared that the in video score was accepted and entered it into Twin Galaxies. This was minutes after Day talked to Mitchell on the phone and told him the video had discrepancies and the master copy would have to be watched to verify the legitimacy of the score.

I couldn’t stand watching Wiebe get continually walked on throughout the documentary. This sport is so underpopulated that it is almost like a small community. Therefore they must self regulate because, well, no one else really cares. This left a lot of room for some shady practices.

However, through all this, the movie was great. The people in the high score gaming community are hilarious to watch, and are passionate about their sport. Billy Mitchell is a character in his own right, even if I despise him. And because in the final minute of the movie, after all seemed lost for Steve Wiebe, I found out he beat Mitchell’s high score and this time it was unequivocally accepted. Good had conquered evil, and all was right once more.



One Game to Rule Them All

Over my many years of experience with console gaming, I’ve noticed a trend in the way I play most games.  Below is a brief summary of what happens when a game that I have been waiting for for months is finally released:

1. I put aside all other things that I should be doing so that I can go out and buy the game when it is released.

2. I forget about every other game that I’ve ever purchased for a month or two while I focus exclusively on whatever game I’ve just bought.

3. After about a month I begin to tire of the so called “new game”, and begin the search all over again for the next addicting title.  Meanwhile, the game that I was so obsessed with fades into oblivion.

I thought that this trend would continue forever until I was introduced to what I now consider to be the greatest game franchise ever produced: Assassin’s Creed.  For those of you reading this post, if you have never played Assassin’s Creed, I pity you.  It will change your life.  I know most of you will understand where I’m coming from when I say that the plot lines of most adventure games on the market are anything but compelling. Not so with Assassin’s Creed.  It is nearly impossible to not get emotionally invested in the plot, because the game is just that realistic.  There’s nothing more satisfying than running through a near perfect reconstruction of renaissance-era Florence avenging the death of your family by locating and assassinating the man who had them hanged.  Interested yet? You should be, but in case you aren’t, I will leave you with this.  A glimpse of what the new Assassin’s Creed (coming in November) will look like, and perhaps the most badass game trailer ever released: