The Rogering Continues: Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong Score Under Investigation

UPDATE: The day after I published this article evidence of splicing video images obtained from using an emulator have been discovered in Billy Mitchell’s 2010 Big Bang video performance discussed in this story. Mitchell’s scores have been permanently removed From The Donkey Kong Forum, the  preeminent source for tracking world record and high scores on Donkey Kong.  Twin Galaxies dispute with Mitchell’s score remains active. National Story here.

The classic community was rocked this week with the reports that world-famous competitor Todd Rogers, known for his once-believed “legendary record” of 5.51 on  Dragster for the Atari 2600, was banned from Twin Galaxies for cheating and his gaming records removed. Guinness Book of World records followed suit by stripping him of his Dragster world record.

But what got lost in the shuffle of a online battle that raged for six months, was that Billy Mitchell, star of The King of Kong: Fist Full of Quarters and the man who holds the 1999 world record for a perfect game on Pac-Man, was also under fire for allegedly submitting a none too perfect 2010 submission on Donkey Kong that had been  adjudicated by none other than Todd Rogers himself and his then girlfriend, Morning Dove, who were both Twin Galaxies referees at the time. Ouch.

todd billy copy

Details are still emerging, but the premise of the dispute on Billy Mitchell’s record is fascinating and the evidence against its legitimacy compelling in that the story contains the kind of weirdness one has come to expect from Twin Galaxies scoreboard shenanigans:

On July 31, 2010, Billy Mitchell, tech support Robert Childs and Twin Galaxies referees, Todd Rogers and Morning Dove assembled at Boomers Arcade near Mitchell’s Florida home. His intention was to set two world records in one day  -one on Donkey Kong and another on Donkey Kong Junior.

In submitted footage that was shot after Mitchell claimed he had achieved the Donkey Kong  world record,  Mitchell’s tech, Robert Childs, is observed explaining that he’s about to switch-out the Donkey Kong board for a Donkey Kong Junior board. But this never happens. Instead Childs is observed removing what is clearly a Donkey Kong Junior board and then replacing what appears to be the very same Donkey Kong Junior board back into the machine.

So how did Mitchell play Donkey Kong that day? Is this switcheroo part of a conspiracy to defraud the viewer? Did he even play an actual arcade game? Something tells me, no.

What went on here is anyone’s guess, but an interesting thing to note is that 6 days later Billy Mitchell was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame at The Big Bang gaming event in Iowa. At the event, stacked up on tables was a special edition of Video Game Collector magazine with Mitchell on the cover and a photo of him standing between Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior with the words “New World Records” festooned above his head, although the two records had not been adjudicated yet. (Then there’s THIS to consider, too)

Six days is a rather rapid turn-around on an order to print an entire magazine. Most companies insist on at least two weeks notice. Is it possible, as many have surmised, that the magazine was already printed well ahead of time, before Mitchell had obtained the records? If so, that is concerning.


Also, I’m not about to accuse Mitchell of cheating without proper evidence, but the video footage that The Big Bang played of his alleged world record achievements was not done on an arcade. I know this for a fact just by looking at it and I’m blown away that no one caught it at the event. Group think is powerful stuff.

However one attendee, Roy Schildt, notable Missile Command Champion and rival of Mitchell’s from The King of Kong, was unimpressed. Mitchell, after a rather rehearsed speech concerning the noble art of obtaining a score live, in front of a crowd as opposed to taped submissions, is approached by Schildt who challenges Mitchell’s statement:

Mitchell: “I like the fact that I did it at Boomers. I think when you don’t do it in a public arena, when you don’t do it in a crowd, when you don’t do it in front of scores of people, I think you rob the public of what it is they deserve.”

Roy “Mr. Awesome” Schildt:  “You don’t mind if I ask a question? If you were going to do this in public, why didn’t you make an announcement before you had even done it? Why didn’t you make a public announcement about the time and location when you were going to do it? (Mitchell ignores the question) Well, there’s the answer. I guess when you have enough money you can create whatever you want.”

I’m sure more information will become available soon.

Related Links: 

Twin Galaxies Dispute on Billy Mitchell:

Engadget: The King of Kong Could Be Stripped of His High Score 

CinemaBlend: King of Kong’s Billy Mitchell Accused of Using Emulator To Set Donkey Kong Records

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