It's fair to say that it's not been a great year for Billy Mitchell, the former "King of Kong". Earlier this year he was accused of cheating in order to claim his famous Donkey Kong high score, and last week Twin Galaxies responded and removed all of his submissions from its site. To make matters worse, Guinness World Records has also wiped Mitchell's scores - a sad state of affairs for a man who has been perhaps the famous face of the arcade high score community for decades.
Mitchell addressed the claims earlier this year, but has remained silent about recent events - until now. He has recorded at statement during his time at the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee, which has been partially transcribed below:
The fact of the matter is, now, there is a true professional due diligence being done to investigate things that happened as far as 35 years ago, in a professional manner, not in a shock-jock mentality designed to create hits.
We will show that everything that has been done, everything was done professionally, according to the rules, according to the scoreboard, the integrity that was set up. Not 2014 forward by the current regime, who wants to reach back 35 years.
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 its taken a considerable amount of time, witnesses, documents, everything, everything will be made available to you, nothing will be withheld.
What Billy's investigation will achieve remains to be seen; he has previously claimed that the tapes he submitted had been switched, although this theory has been branded as outlandish by some. We'll no doubt see if Mitchell's efforts to clear his name bear fruit in the coming months, but let us know what you think of this statement by posting a comment below.
I suspect everyone is making material for a new film. This plot is too crazy
I never had his hot sauce. Is it also emulated?
More like King of Wrong, innit.
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt but this whole thing stinks. Swapped tapes, I mean really?
Or you could just get your butt back in front of an arcade unit and reclaim your Kong title, undisputed.
Billy Mitchell is so villainous. He even sells hot sauce.
@QwertyQwerty You should go watch King of Kong. Ridiculously entertaining gaming documentary.
@HappyMaskedGuy Yeah I need to watch that. Crazy story.
yawn Nobody cares Billy
@HappyMaskedGuy It's about who did it first though. Pulling that now wouldn't matter. It would show he can do it, but wouldn't confirm if he was the one who did it first.
Not to mention that after 35 years reflexes falter. It's why professional StarCraft players usually retire mid-30s.
Absolutely this. Go to one of those events, and set a crazy score. It wouldn't necessarily need to be a new world record... just enough to show that he has the ability to gain the scores which he previously laid claim to. Otherwise... what kind of compelling evidence is he going to be able to provide now, for events which transpired decades ago?
Oh, those are really good points too, though, I see what you mean. I still think that he couldn't comprehensively prove anything now, though.
We're still following this.
@sleepinglion It’s an ongoing Nintendo related drama, so it merits reporting.
@sleepinglion I just imagined Dark Helmet using Ludicrous Speed to bypass the drama.
The plot thickens. . . .
He's performed a live record before. On 5/7/04 he performed a live record (at the time) of 933,900 at the Midwest Gaming Classic Convention where lots of people viewed and saw the validity. And I get this isn't the Olympics, but the guy is 52 and hasn't touched the game in 10 years. You expect him to come out with a world record in a week?
@impurekind The thick plottens. . .
Bet ye honey will be raging at him
I mean, I'd admit it's likely that he cheated for the world record. But I do think this screams of a bit of a witch hunt. Twin Galaxies no longer has his tapes that he submitted. They are using a YouTube video that claims to be of his original runs. Their argument is they must be legit because the runs are of the exact pointage total that is in our database for his records and to fake that would take a lot of time. However, how is it known that the tapes weren't tampered with and a mame scene added inbetween the levels since they are using about 0.5% of the tape to claim it cheated? Unlikely, but to me losing control of the tape leaves enough reasonable doubt that I might remove the records in question because we no longer can authenticate them, and not claim that Billy was the biggest cheat in the world.
I also see no reason to remove his confirmed live scores. What is the concern there? And I also think the removal reads of an extreme bias. I had a Math degree and they go into a lot of reasoning that it's likely that he cheated because his run was statistically improbable. But statistically improbable isn't impossible and doesn't prove anything. They should stick to the facts. If it's Mame it's cheating period. They don't need to frame up this grand case that at the end is just circumstanstial evidence that he is either cheating or lucky. My guess is if you played the game over a thousand times you might come up with a few lucky runs too.
I keep reading this doods name as Mitch Mitchell
Just tell yourself..."It's just a game."
Unless you're confronted by a white faced puppet with red swirls drawn on his cheeks and laughs at you.
@Godlike_Virus “Hello, Mr. Virus. I’d like to play a game with you... Donkey Kong. ... Oh. I seem to be short. Got a quarter?”
If I just saw Billy Mitchell in public, like say at my local shopping mall and I didn’t know who he was, I’d think he was a massive douchebag. The hair, the garish American flag tie and pocket square. He’s one weird unit.
Looks like a try-hard Yankified Nick Cave.
I think getting all of his scores removed is a bit of an overreaction... just the ones that are in doubt would be fair.
Whether or not he's being honest about his scores is debatable... the evidence is against him, but I don't see why he'd argue his innocence in this sort of situation... he could quite easily just say a mistake was made with the submissions and would face next to no repercussions... the investigations would be dropped, and he's still proven himself to be one of the best players in the world.
If he is guilty, then arguing his innocence could just be more damaging for him... it's pushing for further investigation, and if they do prove that he did intentionally cheat, then that opens up all of his other scores for further investigation... which could potentially cause him to lose everything.
Christ. At least Lance Armstrong came out and admitted it when he was caught.
Well, just look at the video. The loading screen is exactly the same as mame.
Yap, i guess he is a cheater.
@RunninBlue "Looks like a try-hard Yankified Nick Cave."
Yup. Right on the nose, with that one.
Well get on there and get your score back, oh wait.. you're a fraud.. nevermind
There's a whole lot that I want to reference so please apologies if I don't properly reply to each person.
Billy is claiming that his tapes were switched, honestly Twin Galaxies is currently saying they do have the original tapes and multiple layers of inside emails between Admins as well as exactly where each one of them got their copies of these tapes. Effectively he is trying to claim foul by a company that has supported him for the last 35 years of his narcissism. Twin Galaxies is desperate to not fall either, but that doesn't mean they are not making the right action now.
@HappyMaskedGuy the funny thing is that he actually can't just sit down and get a new record. He is now unequivocally banned from submitting any new score moving forward. If I am correct he also had his achievement score in Pac-Man erased.
@cleveland124 when a person is accused of cheating, they're normally is a very in-depth process to determine the manner by which the cheating occur. This is that long report that Twin Galaxies just made stating that while they can't prove it was MAME, they can prove that it is not an original arcade cabinet. If this was just one or two instances in games that were not highly contested they probably would just delete those scores. In such a case right now with one of the highest contended honors in video game records, they need to make more drastic punishment. Due to the amount of cheating already been confirmed, this situation justifies having all of his records wiped: even games he did live and games he did in other areas. That sounds harsh, but that is the matter that one is punished if they do substantial amount of cheating. Billy has been found to be cheating in multiple situations for his betterment to directly impede others progress.
Listening to one of my friends online, I heard the absolute best description for Billy Mitchell. Billy dress and acts like a Disney villain. He has to have the perfect dark look, he has to be the unapproachable end boss in every story. And finally, he has been found to be a villain and is being properly punished. This is the point where the Disney villain has lost and finds it unbelievable that they lost. He is a panicking old man stammering in the corner and drastically try and grip onto the power he had, the last that power turning to sand and draining away from him and he has Nothing.
Your comment gives me an idea. Just get out the VHS of King of Kong 2, then we can fast forward and see the final verdict.
The problem with the Twin Galaxies report is all that information is inconclusive. Like they say 1 level he had a run where the barrel points were in the 92nd percentile. So if I have a 100 sided dice and you roll a 93, that is greater than the expected rolls 92 times out of 100. So does you rolling a 93 on a 100 sided dice prove you cheated? Absolutely not and it doesn't show how he cheated either. The only thing that shows cheating is the Donkey Kong level screen inbetween each level. That's what their report should show and only that. The rest is simply an attempt to drag Billy down. The problem with the punishment in my opinion is that Twin Galaxies approved all of these scores and many others with very poor evidence that they were true. So in my opinion if you void all these scores whether valid or not, you might as well wipe out the last 30 years of Twin Galaxy records because they quite honestly didn't perform enough validation during that time. It's great they are trying to "clean up their act" with new management but to pretend like only the records in their database that are challenged are false is ingenuine.
I also think the Villain thing is overplayed. Billy Mitchell has been shown on tape bringing games to the elderly. He gives to charity. Many people have met him and said he's been really nice to him. He may have cheated and done the wrong thing, but I think it's too black and white to call him a Villain.
I also think, where are we today if Twin Galaxies just doesn't accept the tapes? Then much ado about nothing right? I mean the narrative I'm gathering is Twin Galaxies didn't really have any validation process for their old rules and there may have been an internal conspiracy to keep Billy Mitchell in the top spot. Now we are going to hold Billy MItchell completely accountable for the actions of this supposed verification company? That's just bogus. Twin Galaxies sucks at least at much as Billy Mitchell here and in my opinion worse. Since I'm sure they void invalid videos all the time and those people don't get banned and all future scores banned. But no, they accepted Billy's so now he's the bad guy.
No, you're quite correct. My initial comment was not entirely sensible, and he has done such a thing in the past, as you note. It's a shame that he has sometimes conducted himself in a manner which leads people to view him with suspicion. Everything which has been said here, then, leads me to suspect that this mud will stick, and there is nothing that he can do to totally vindicate himself.
I mean, WHO has hair like that at 52 years of age?
Anyway, I'm sad the drama has to come to this level. Obviously some heavy hitting evidence has been put forth if both Twin Galaxies and Guiness remove his records. If he can really redeem himself, it'll be historical.
The problem is that Twin Galaxies actually did have a verification system. Multiple people trying to defeat Billy's score had their runs invalidated for stupid reasons. 1 reasons was for using an emulator, which this rule that Billy has hung himself with, was directly caused by him trying to prevent people from using emulators to beat his score. Another rule was that the "Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong jr." cabinet was invalid for Donkey Kong arcade scores. If it's the exact same game made by the exact same publisher why would it be a concern? Billy was given special permission to avoid verification processes. That does not make Twin Galaxies look good, but efforts to correct mistakes need to be taken as they are.
There is also his level of influence over the company and the level by which he would continue to progress cheating that has to be taken into account. Claiming that this was an internal motivation to keep him at the top needs to also be addressed that he was part of the internal mechanics of the company. He funded most of the company. And no matter how you want to look at it, multiple levels of Suspicion on multiple different videos means all his videos need to be suspect. If multiple layers of cheating were found on anybody's videos I would expect the same penalty. In this case, complete void of all records. Leopards don't change their spots depending on what day of the week it is or what year it is. With proof that there was cheating done by this person, with further suspicions on other videos, with the high level of manipulation he has used, there is no other recourse.
When caught in a lie, a narcissist just lies again, but bigger
So sad to hear of her HIV diagnosis
@Yorumi No. Billy Mitchell’s disputed score was set about 10-12 years ago, I believe.
@riChchestM Who’s HIV diagnosis?
An incoherent rant.
It's not just Billy though. The Todd Roger's thing was terrible. Many others from that era have been under question. And while Billy may have become involved in giving to Twin Galaxies, he didn't make the company. I mean Twin Galaxies was formed when he was 16. They made him, not the other way around. Twin Galaxies still uses Walter Day in their imaging, which he would have heavily been involved in this cover up stuff and keeping Billy #1. In your opinion the punishment fits the crime. But to me it looks like overcompensation to cover Twin Galaxies faults. To me there is absolutely no valid reason to strike his live scores or ban him from future competition. People just like to judge Billy because it's 2018 and he has a mullet.
It hasn't even been the top score for quite some time....IIRC it's not even top 10. They're literally going back in time to witch hunt to knock down a record that at one time was a winning record. I suppose they do such reversals for Olympics and such, but it seems really odd for what was mostly a social amateur gathering for DK. Do I think this guy cheated? Sure. But it seems odd that they're doing this much, this late, while it's not even a currently meaningful record. Finding the truth is important, but it's all too much too late to not suspect that the purpose behind it is something other than the truth as well. It also makes me question the rest of the scores they have....if they're so sure this not-in-the-top-ten score is too good to be legit, what makes them so sure the other scores are genuine?
Who. Freaking. Cares.
I wonder what his son, Alpha Omega Sin has to say about it...
Every time I see the title of yet another article regarding this tiny, irrelevant matter on Nintendo Life, I wonder:
Why do people care so much about this?
This is baffling me so much that I actually commented on this for the first time.
But still: Why does anyone care?!
King of Kong is awesome... He is such a douche
@riChchestM I’m confused- was that an attempt at humour?
Because if it was, then waw- you are so tone deaf mate.
I'd like to give Billy Mitchell the benefit of the doubt considering that I would think that anyone going to this length to have the top score in Donkey Kong would be demented.
From what I understand, using MAME would allow him a minuscule edge in being able to line up the perfect game. He would still need to be able to 'pilot' the game towards this goal. Creating a low-fi recording of this and doing something like replaying levels from a save point — or doctoring the game first before playing would still require an absolute amazing amount of skill.
In other words, the way I see it is that if Billy Mitchell did cheat, he's still the #2 Donkey Kong player by a tiny margin and would have been driven to cheat to such a ridiculous length by an obsession of reaching an unachievable goal.
I think that it would be nice if no matter what the outcome is, that Billy be honored as the gamer that he is. If he cheated, then any responsible news outlet should be sure to have an understanding of what advantages 'cheating' provided and what the likely outcome would have been without doing it.
I believe that if he did cheat, the difference here may have been enough to differentiate him between 1st and 2nd — but that's it. If he cheated, was it wrong? Yes, lying is always wrong unless the person you are lying to is using truth as a weapon and it is irresponsible to disclose to them. In this case, it's the public and fans and it would have been very wrong to lie, but given forgiveness, Billy likely inspired many other competitors to achieve incredible scores in order to compete with a miniscule lead that he achieved through forgery and trickery.
There's still a story here that would be notable. If he cheated, then it's a great story about Donkey Kong leading to a mental disorder that is rooted in competitive gaming at the highest level. Still an amazing gamer.
BTW, probably a long shot, but do MAME-based cabinets exist wherein the cabinet has been 'refurbished' using MAME? It would be interesting if they could actually find the supposed cabinet that he used (do they have it?)
I know it's tough when you realize that other people can have different interests and like different things. The great thing is, you don't have to click and comment on every article. You can actually pick and choose what you read and respond to. What's also awesome is you can contact the mods directly if you are unhappy with their articles. That way your precious comments don't go unnoticed in these boring articles.
There must be a lot of people who care, because they even made a documentary film about it, called King of Kong.
You could show a video of Billy admitting "I cheated on my Donkey Kong scores and bribed my way into Twin Galaxies," and he'd still try and say it's fake.
The greatest film villain since the original incarnation of Darth Vader.
1) can't see how anyone knows for sure - so most of this is speculation.
2) the point is who was first so I don't see how him setting a score now will help.
3) a lot of the judgments above are based on the guy's appearance - can't see how that's relevant.
@GammaPhonic Not really. He remained in complete denial mode until he "half-owned up" to it in an Oprah interview.
The kid in that photo must be either heartbroken or steadfast in their support of Billy. Kids have to be careful picking role models these days.
If I read everything correct in the past few weeks (which might be wrong - I'm no English native speaker) Twin Galaxies have no proof Billy cheated they just have a suspicion. In Germany (that's where I come from) everybodys innocent until the guilt is proofed. I don't see this in this case. The tapes are lost - this alone makes it impossible to proof him guilty.
It's a witch hunt.
The longer the discussion holds on the more I'm on Billy's side.
@Bunkerneath besides you and me.
@cleveland124 But you're completely missing the point! I'd like to understand why people find this stuff interesting.
I also never complained about these articles being posted. I even mentioned that I usuall just ignore them. But this specific topic keeps coming up and I was wondering why.
Am I missing something? Some random guy played a game 35 years ago - a game that has no relevance nowadays - and set a record.
35 years later someone had too much time on their hands and found out that the guy cheated.
If not before, at that point the story should be over. That was a few months ago.
But no, this topic still pops up regularly. What is relevant about it? Does changing the record holder have any effect on you? Do you still play that old game regularly? Does it affect other games you play?
@Asaki: People decide to make movies about uninteresting stuff all the time, that's not really an indicator for anything.
This is a video game soap opera right now and I cannot wait to see ending.
Sad this is happening right now.
@wratih9 Thanks, I think this is the answer I was looking for.
So people aren't following this because they're genuinely interested in the matter but just for entertainment?
You called it irrelevant. Which implies that your question is not genuine and you've already made up your mind on the subject. But lucky for you Google exists. So if you want to know it's at your fingertips.
@cleveland124 I already got my answer (see the posts above), so the only relevance seems to be entertainment.
That's certainly not the only reason. But if that makes you happy good for you.
Unlike with some stories, this is hard to tell where the lie is. He could be a liar who cheated, or the people accusing him could have lied about him cheating. Since both groups stand to gain from lying, it is much harder to tell the truth. Though I would say that this guy has more to gain from lying than his accusers.
I have loved video games almost all my life but so many people, companies ,etc involved in this that I have to wonder "who cares?" about.
Can't see what your last comment would have anything to do with the article.
@shani try watching the documentary it's a good watch, even if you don't care for the game, it help you understand why so many want to see Billy Mitchell go down! LolCan't wait to see what he comes up with.
His face says all, cheater.
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