The King of Kong (http://www.billyvssteve.com/) is an awesome documentary about a guy from Redmond’s (Steve Wiebe) struggle to achieve the world record high score in Donkey Kong. It may sound like a silly movie, but it has spun up a storm of intrigue about Donkey Kong cheats, hacked Donkey Kong processors, and the governing board of video game competition’s (Twin Galaxies) apparent bias towards long-time Donkey Kong champion and gaming ambassador Billy Mitchell—against outsider gamer Steve Wiebe and their refusal to accept his high scores and provide a level playing field. It is a classic tale of an underdog trying to get to the top, despite the efforts of the powers that be. (Think Karate Kid with middle-aged guys playing video games, minus Mr. Miyage.)
After seeing the movie I some searching to find out what happened after the movie, and came across the below picture of the original Donkey Kong artwork that went on the side of the side of the arcade machine. I thought that captured the essence of the King of Kong perfectly, and asked Seattle cartoonist Kyle Bolton to draw me the picture at the top of the page.
Steve Weibe plays the role of Mario, trying to make it to the top, where Billy Mitchell is. The Twin Galaxies referees are Donkey Kong throwing barrels down on Steve, trying to block his every move—and protecting Billy Mitchell who can’t or won’t protect himself. (Are you reading Billy?)
Coincidentally, the head of Twin Galaxies, Walter Day, portrayed by the Donkey Kong referee in the cartoon above, is a friend of my family and I remember him as a nice guy. In the movie they go to his home in Fairfield, IA which is where I grew up and where my parents live.
I’ve heard they are considering making a sequel to the documentary or even a remaking it a live action movie with professional actors. (I vote for Bill Pullman playing Steve Weibe and Tom Cruise for Billy Mitchell.)
If you haven’t seen King of Kong already, check it out!