- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Billy Mitchell, a competitive video game player previously regarded as the first person to score over million points in “Donkey Kong,” has publicly responded after his records were scrubbed by professional scorekeepers over allegations of impropriety.

Mr. Mitchell, 52, defended his high scores in a video statement uploaded to YouTube over the weekend after Twin Galaxies, an Iowa-based organization that serves as scorekeeper for professional video gamers, recently disqualified his past records and banned him from participating in future competitions as a result of an investigation into his historic “Donkey Kong” performances.

“We will show that everything that has been done, everything was done professionally,” Mr. Mitchell said in a video posted by Old School Gamer Magazine. “Everything will be transparent. Everything will be available. I wish I had it in my hands right now, I wish I could hand it to you. But it’s taken a considerable amount of time. Witnesses, documents, everything will be made available to you. Nothing will be withheld. You absolutely have my commitment to that.”

“We’ve been at this since 1982, and it’s not gonna stop now,” Mr. Mitchell said Sunday.

Mr. Mitchell’s competitive video gaming career started a year after the release of 1981’s “Donkey Kong” when he set the iconic game’s first officially recognized high score — 874,300 points — at the age of 17, and his attempts to maintain that record in adulthood were covered in a 2007 documentary, “The King of Kong,” as well as a complaint initiated with Twin Galaxies against him earlier this year that spurred the scorekeeper’s recent decision.

Twin Galaxies member Jeremey Young filed a dispute in February alleging Mr. Mitchell achieved several of his high games using emulation software known as MAME rather than original arcade hardware required by the scorekeeper, including three performances in which he score more than a million points on “Donkey Kong.”

“Based on the complete body of evidence presented in this official dispute thread, Twin Galaxies administrative staff has unanimously decided to remove all of Billy Mitchell‘s’ scores as well as ban him from participating in our competitive leaderboards,” Twin Galaxies announced last week.

Twin Galaxies subsequently notified Guinness World Records, and on Monday the latter announced it had agreed to nullify Mr. Mitchell’s past achievements.

“The Guinness World Records titles relating to Mr. Mitchell’s highest scores on ‘Donkey Kong’ have all been disqualified due to Twin Galaxies being our source of verification for these achievements,” a spokesperson told Variety. “We also recognize records for first perfect score on ‘Pac-Man’ and Highest score on ‘Pac-Man,’” the spokesperson added.

Mr. Mitchell did not immediately return to a request from Variety seeking comment on Guinness’ announcement Monday. In his video statement, Mr. Mitchell said that the disputed scores were achieved in accordance with the original rules and “integrity” established by Twin Galaxies at the time, “– not 2014-forward by the current regime, who wants to reach back 35 years.”

Twin Galaxies underwent new management in 2014 and adopted stricter rules, Ars Technica reported Tuesday.


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