Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell

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Updated Oct 26, 2018 at 04:20PM EDT by C_Mill24.

Added Apr 12, 2018 at 03:40PM EDT by Matt.

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Billy Mitchell is an American video game player known for his success setting records on classic arcade games, such as Donkey Kong and Pac-Man as well as his starring role in the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. However, many of his high scores were stripped In 2018, following an investigation that found him guilty of cheating.


In 1982, Mitchell became the first person to reach the kill screen on Donkey Kong. Two years later, he was named to Twin Galaxies' Video Game Players of the Year.

In 1999, he named the "Video Game Player of the Century" on the Namco stage of the 1999 Tokyo Game Show.[1]

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

On January 22nd, 2007, the documentary film The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters premiered. The film, which focuses on the world of competitive gaming, features Bill Mitchell prominently as he attempts to defend his Donkey Kong high score against Steve Wiebe.

When challenged to a public competition by Wiebe, Mitchell declines and loses the high score. However, Mitchell later sent in a videotape of himself beating Wiebe's score.


Since The King of Kong, Mitchell has largely been seen as a villain in the video game world.[2] Seth Gordon, director of the film, said of Mitchell:

"There’s a lot of stuff we couldn’t include that Billy did just because of inter-state telephone rules. We only could use stuff where we had a camera pointing at Billy. All I’m saying is, the stuff he did to keep tabs on Steve and control him, was far greater than we could actually show. He is a true puppet master – and really rules this whole group of guys. He tells them where to walk, where to be, what to do, what to say… it’s unbelievable. Billy is such a good gamer that when he’s finished beating the games, he moves on to play games with people and we [even] became part of that."

Mitchell disagreed with his portrayal in the film. He said,[3] "They paint Steve as the family man and I guess they paint me as a son of a gun."


Cheating Violations

On February 17th, 2018, YouTuber Apollo Legend uploaded a video accusing Billy Mitchell of cheating. The video goes through the evidence that the video uses in the film should not constitute as a valid high score. The video (shown below) received more than 1.6 million views in two months. When posted to the /r/video subreddit [5] by Redditor Amadeusz, the video received more than 23,000 points (89% upvoted) and 1,800 comments in three months.

On April 12th, following an investigation by Twin Galaxies, Billy Mitchell was officially stripped of his high scores in Donkey Kong and other video games and banned from submitting high scores. The investigation discovered that the tapes that Mitchell submitted, including the one used in the film The King of Kong, were not performed on a legitimate Donkey Kong system but an emulator.[4]

That day, Twin Galaxies tweeted, [7] "Twin Galaxies Adjudication has determined that the dispute against Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong scores has been accepted. All of his records and scores have been removed from Twin Galaxies. #BillyMitchell #WorldRecords." The post (shown below) received more than 760 retweets and 1,400 likes in 24 hours.

Twin Galaxies @TwinGalaxies Twin Galaxies Adjudication has determined that the dispute against Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong scores has been accepted. All of his records and scores have been removed from Twin Galaxies. #BillyMitchell #World Records 40 Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong and All Other Records Removed After many months of researching, Twin Galaxies administration has determined the dispute made by Jeremy Young (@xelnia) to be accepted. Alongside this, all of Billy

The decision comes after a dispute by Jeremy Young that stated "that not only can original Donkey Kong arcade hardware not produce the board transition images shown in the recordings, but that these transitions were actually generated through the use of MAME (emulation software.)" The use of an emulator violates Twin Galaxy rules that high scores must be achieved on original hardware only.

That day, Redditor[6] Flurdeh posted about the decision in the /r/Games subreddit. Within 12 hours, the post received more than 5,200 points (97% upvoted) and 420 comments. Additionally, Twitter[8] published a moments page about the controversy and the reaction to it.

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