Billy Mitchell
Image: Billy Mitchell

A few years ago, scorekeeping organisation Twin Galaxies stripped Billy Mitchell of his scores following accusations of cheating. It has now been revealed that those scores have been reinstated by Guinness World Records, which means Mitchell is once again officially recognised as the first person to register a 1 million point game on Donkey Kong.

Guinness World Records has issued a statement, saying:

In the light of compelling new evidence received by Guinness World Records, the Records Management Team has decided to reverse decisions made in April 2018 in regards to videogame high scores achieved by Billy Mitchell between 1982 and 2010.

Guinness World Records is always open to accepting new evidence for historical achievements, and to reviewing new and existing evidence for disputed titles. In this case, a re-examination of the records in question and the emergence of key eyewitness testimonials led to a reversal of earlier disqualifications and the reinstating of Mr Mitchell’s original records. The records archive has been updated accordingly to reflect this.

The saga began back in April 2018, when Twin Galaxies announced it would be launching an investigation into Mitchell's submitted scores after it was claimed that evidence existed which suggested he had used an emulator for two of his scores. All of his scores were expunged from the Twin Galaxies database, and Guinness World Records later removed Mitchell's scores as it relied on Twin Galaxies for verification. Mitchell has contested this with legal action, which is still pending.

During these events, Mitchell has benefitted from the support of original Twin Galaxies founder Walter Day – who has performed an exhaustive review of Mitchell's submissions – as well as industry veteran Todd Tuckey and current Donkey Kong high score holder Robbie Lakeman.

The reinstated records appear below:

  • July 3, 1999 - First Perfect Score on Pac-Man – 3,333,360 Points
  • November 7, 1982 – Highest score on Donkey Kong – 874,300 Points
  • June 4, 2005 – Highest score on Donkey Kong – 1,047,200 Points
  • July 14, 2007 – Highest score on Donkey Kong – 1,050,200 Points
  • July 31, 2010 – Highest score on Donkey Kong – 1,062,800 Points

Mitchell had this to say about the news:

I wanted to clear my name and resume my role as one of the key personalities and promoters of competitive eSports. It took more than two years and an abundance of indisputable facts, eyewitnesses, and expert testimony to prove all of my records were legitimate.

I want to thank two industry giants, Walter Day and Robbie Lakeman, for their continued support and for providing valuable testimony to Guinness World Records as to the validity and legitimacy of my world titles and firsts.

In his own statement, Todd Tuckey added:

What Twin Galaxies (new owners) asserts about Billy Mitchell’s score is simply not possible. There has never and will never be an emulation board that plugs into a Donkey Kong machine. It is simply impossible for anything but legitimate hardware to have been inside Billy Mitchell’s machine.

Lakeman – who has personally acted as an expert witness in the case – said:

After reviewing Billy’s gameplay, and reproducing similar games myself, I can honestly say that this is legitimate gameplay. I do not see a reason why Billy would need to even use MAME, or save states to film both games with this style of play.