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,
http://www.examiner.com/arcade-game-in-dallas/donkey-kong-world-champion-beats-own-score 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