The saga of Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong high score continues to rumble along following accusations from score-verifier Jeremy Young that Mitchell - who was a key figure in the cult movie King of Kong - used MAME to record his record-breaking runs on the game, as opposed to original hardware, as Mitchell has claimed.
Mitchell was quick to respond to the claims, stating that he'd never played MAME and suggesting that the footage he had submitted had somehow been switched. Young has now responded to Mitchell's comments, pointing out the sheer implausibility of what he's claiming.
And the film footage that he has, that Jeremy has, shows MAME play. Now, I contend, that if he gets the original tape, or he gets the original room shot, he will see that what I say is true. I’m not disputing what he says. What I’m disputing is the fact that I want him to have the original tape.
According to Young, the only person who could have possibly switched the tapes is Dwayne Richard, a world-record holder in several games on Twin Galaxies:
Claiming the video footage in the evidence is not real does not make sense to me. In regards to video sources and their potential fabrication, I would label that so unlikely as to be impossible. The amount of foresight, patience, and technical knowledge required would be staggering.
Dwayne claims [the Mitchell tapes] were given to him directly by [disgraced competitive gamer Todd Rogers], by request of Billy Mitchell. Dwayne uploaded a copy of [the 1.047 million run] to YouTube a couple of years ago... All of this uploaded footage directly matches segments shown in both the theatrical release of King of Kong and a screener version that has circulated over the years.
In fact, Mitchell's entire defence rests on the idea that Richard swapped the tapes. Young explains why this is highly, highly unlikely:
By my reckoning, Dwayne would have to:
1) Know, for over a decade, this bug existed in MAME, and not tell anyone
2) Know every potential independent source that would, in the future, publish clips of Billy’s gameplay, know exactly what that footage would contain, and whether that footage would contain the MAME signature
3) Either: A) know that the press conference video is also MAME, or B) organize a conspiracy to swap the tapes being shown that day.
4) In the case of 3A…why wait this long?
5) In the case of 3B…he would have had only a few days to craft a full performance of TWO games (DK and DKJR) faithful enough to fool Billy himself AND convince someone to swap the tapes at the event.
6) Apart from 3A, he would need to craft at least 2 full-length (~2.5 hours) games to match the independent footage. These would have to match Billy’s original gameplay, pixel-for-pixel, frame-for-frame.
7) Wait, for years, for the right amount of general skepticism and technical knowledge to coalesce.
Mitchell will no doubt respond to these comments in due course, and you can sure this isn't the last we've heard of this saga. It's a sorry end for one of the most famous figures in the world of video game high score-chasing.