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.