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Deal ends dispute over Donkey Kong's one-time king record

Deal ends dispute over Donkey Kong's one-time king record

In the 1980s, it seemed as if everyone was playing the arcade game Donkey Kong with spare quarters, climbing ramps and climbing stairs while avoiding barrels thrown by a giant ape.

For most players, video games provided a few minutes of excitement before inevitable defeat. But a handful of top players had the uncanny ability to rescue Pauline, the damsel in distress, again and again, earning them high scores not only in their arcade but all over the world.

A long-running disagreement over a disputed world record set by arcade gamer Billy Mitchell has now been reached.

While the arcade boom of the 1980s faded, some gamers persisted in the pursuit of high scores, often playing on their own machines in basements and garages, long after most gamers had moved on to personal computers and home consoles.

Those who weren't immersed in that world first got a chance to hear about Mr. Mitchell in the critically acclaimed 2007 documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.” It tells the story of Steve Wiebe and his quest to be recognized as the first person to reach one million points in the game, breaking the record set years earlier by Mr. Mitchell.

Mr. Mitchell wore a black hat in that film, in which he was portrayed in a New York Times review as “a pretentious, cunning swine.”

He successfully challenged Wiebe's high score and set a new score himself, but that accomplishment remained unexplained in the film. The tussle over records did not end there and Mr Mitchell eventually claimed an even higher score from 2007 to 2010. But Twin Galaxies, which tracks and records video game achievements, invalidated Mr Mitchell's score in 2018 after an investigation.

Under the group's rules, record-setters must play their games using the original circuit board from a Donkey Kong machine. The Twin Galaxies investigation found that a modified machine was used in two of Mr. Mitchell's record-setting scores.

Mr Mitchell swore at the time that the fight was far from over and filed a defamation suit. That lawsuit was finally settled last week.

Mr Mitchell said, “I am relieved and satisfied to have reached this resolution after almost six years of ordeal and look forward to pursuing my unfinished work elsewhere.” said on social media, Referring to his record he said that “restore again,

Nevertheless, Twin Galaxies said that Mr. Mitchell's score will not be added back on the main leaderboard that tracks running records and was still banned from Twin Galaxies competition. Rather, it said they would be posted on a “historical database”. It also said it would “remove from online display” a thread on the site discussing the controversy and “all related statements and articles”.

Twin Galaxies says this historical database is “copied verbatim from the system acquired during its acquisition of Twin Galaxies in 2014. It is an unmodified, legacy snapshot preserving performance and achievements prior to current TG ownership and modern decision protocols. serves as.”

said this historical database “Remains stable and sealed. No new submissions or changes can be made.”

David Tashrudian, Twin Galaxies lawyer, told technology news site Ars Technica“There were going to be tremendous amounts of costs involved, and both sides were facing a lot of uncertainty going forward at trial, and they wanted to settle the case on their terms without putting it to a jury.”

Mr. Mitchell's restored scores include some scores between 1,040,000 and 1,060,000. But time passes and players get better.

This vigorous, long-running and sometimes bitter dispute was over points that had long been settled. The current record, reported by Twin Galaxies, belongs to Robbie Lakeman. It is 1,272,800.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2024/01/18/multimedia/18xp-donkeykong/18xp-donkeykong-facebookJumbo.jpg

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