Twin Galaxies announced today that Billy Mitchell, best known for his role in the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, has been stripped of his Donkey Kong and other video game high scores. He has also been banned from submitting scores to the world’s largest tracker of video game world records following a decision that he cheated.
The action is a result of a claim by Twin Galaxies member Jeremey Young filed in February 2018. The claim concluded that not only can an original Donkey Kong arcade hardware not produce the board transition images shown in the recordings of Mitchell’s high score performances, but that these transitions were actually generated through the use of emulation software called MAME.
In a statement on their message board, Twin Galaxies posted the following statement:
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.
We have notified Guinness World Records of our decision.
They then lay out their specific findings:
- The taped Donkey Kong score performances of 1,047,200 (the King of Kong “tape”), 1,050,200 (the Mortgage Brokers score) that were historically used by Twin Galaxies to substantiate those scores and place them in the database were not produced by the direct feed output of an original unmodified Donkey Kong Arcade PCB.
- The 1,062,800 (the Boomers score) Donkey Kong performance does not have enough of a body of direct evidence for Twin Galaxies to feel comfortable to make a definitive determination on at this time.
- The 1047 and 1050 score performance videos we have in our possession (and are basing our determinations on) are in fact the performances that were used by previous Twin Galaxies administration as justification for those scores to be entered into the database and for Twin Galaxies to attribute those specific accomplishments to Billy Mitchell. We have several different and unique sources of these performances and access to private historical Twin Galaxies referee e-mail distribution records showing where these sources acquired their copies and what the purpose was.
- Of significant note is that it is very straightforward for anyone to check the authenticity of the 1047 performance source tape by just cross-referencing the digital capture video of the performance that has been posted in this dispute thread with the very public King of Kong movie gameplay footage along with its DVD extras.
- While we know for certain that an unmodified original DK arcade PCB did not output the display seen in the videotaped score performances, we cannot definitively conclude that what is on the tapes is MAME.
- To definitively conclude that MAME was used, Twin Galaxies would need to comprehensively rule out the possibility of all other methods that could produce what is seen on the tapes. This would mean testing all other emulators other than MAME across all other platforms to eliminate the possibility that a different emu was used. It would also mean testing visual effects software and anything else we can think of to be definitively certain. This kind of testing is beyond the scope of the dispute case needs.
They also point out that “throughout every step of this investigation, Billy Mitchell had the opportunity to answer questions and contribute to the public dispute thread. However, he was under no obligation to participate in this dispute thread and as such he chose not to do so.”
The message concludes by saying that Twin Galaxies can no longer recognize Billy Mitchell as the first million point Donkey Kong record holder. That honor now belongs to Steve Wiebe.
You can read the statement in its entirety here.