Ah, Billy Mitchell. You may not have heard of him but if have there’s a fair chance you won’t have had much sympathy with him in recent years.
For those of you that haven’t a clue who Mitchell is, he is/was/is again the World Record high score holder for classic arcade games Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. Billy himself will tell you (gladly) he was responsible for the birth of esports, having taken part in the first competitive gaming tournaments ever, back in the 80s.
Such was his fame in the arcade world he traveled the world, was on the front cover of an iconic issue of Life Magazine and even went on to star in his own movie – The King of Kong – A Fistful of Quarters which is a great watch and a true insight into Mitchell’s character and the arcade high score world.
Anyway in 2018 accusations emerged that Mitchell’s records for Donkey Kong, along with his perfect Pac-Man score from 1999 might not be all they seemed.
In 2018 arcade high score record-keeping source Twin Galaxies removed all of Mitchell’s records citing evidence that they had not been achieved on an original arcade machine, rather had been gained on an emulated version of Donkey Kong running on MAME – meaning cheating in any number of ways would have been possible.
All submitted high scores to Twin Galaxies must be submitted on original, unmodified arcade machines. Big fail.
As the official source of video game records to the Guinness Book of World Records, this meant that Mitchell’s scores were wiped from there too and one thing was for sure, his ego was not going to stand for that!
True to form Billy launched legal action against Twin Galaxies and Guinness World Records, and today Guinness has backpedaled and reinstated all the original records, citing not enough evidence to hold up the original invalidation of the scores.
Twin Galaxies however is still refusing to budge and is continue not to acknowledge either record.
However you look at it Mitchell is still without a doubt the most famous arcade gamer of all time, and if you haven’t seen King of Kong I highly suggest watching it during the lockdown.
So Billy is back on the top of the tree. You can see the Guinness statement here alongside an interview with Billy Mitchell himself, where he is definitely not smug much. It’s a great story that just keeps on giving.