At first glance, King of Kong seems to be a basic history of videogaming, with a few really passionate players talking about how much they love these games. The film takes a drastic turn when the conflict about Roy Schildt and Steve Weibe versus Billy Mitchell begins. I was surprised to hear about the so-called “bad blood” between Schildt and Mitchell. I found myself unsure of which party I should trust. The film implied that perhaps Walter Day’s organization, which is closely related to Billy Mitchell, was not completely objective in the way it treated Steve Weibe. Most of my classmates agreed with the film on this point, but we also did not trust Roy Schildt. I think this confusion points to a greater problem in the video game industry: a lack of organizations that keep scores.
The documentary presented the video game community as a very small, informal group. There was a small central office where Walter Day and a few other members worked, but beyond this structure, there did not seem to be much of a central organization. I found it odd that a small business was the major authority for these video game scores. I would put greater trust in scores kept by the official game producers, such as Atari.
According to the film, these official systems were not in place, so Walter Day took the initiative to create Twin Galaxies. When I Google searched “Donkey Kong high scores”, the Twin Galaxies blog appeared. When I looked up “Donkey Kong,” I found Nintendo’s website. The website for Donkey Kong did not appear to have the official scores. So, at least according to Google, Twin Galaxies is legitimate and seems to be the only place to find these high scores. Their website looks very professional and the company seems to have grown.
Perhaps I was thrown off by the documentary’s treatment of Twin Galaxies, or perhaps it has changed over time. I definitely believe that old-school video games have become much more popular as the years have gone by. I was familiar with some of the older games, since my dad would often play Pac-man or Galaga online. I remember when some of the major stores began selling joysticks that you could plug into the TV and play a variety of old-school games. These devices added Pole Position, Frogger, and Mappy to my repertoire. I saw many of these games mentioned in King of Kong, and I wonder if the documentary inspired others to play the old games again.