Billy Mitchell’s high scores in Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and other game have been completely wiped from the record books following a dispute lodged with record-keepers Twin Galaxies.
Mitchell is perhaps best known for claiming to be the first player ever to hit the million-point mark in Donkey Kong, as portrayed in the documentary King of Kong. However, following claims from Twin Galaxies member Jeremey Young that Mitchell falsified his high scores by achieving them on an emulator instead of on an original arcade version of Donkey Kong, Twin Galaxies reviewed the evidence and ruled that Mitchell had, in fact, lied about how he achieved his high scores.
The most damning piece of evidence against Mitchell came in the form of a frame-by-frame analysis of a Donkey Kong board transition as captured in a videotaped recording of Mitchell supposedly achieving the high score on the original arcade version.
“Jeremy’s assertion concluded that not only can original Donkey Kong arcade hardware not produce the board transition images shown in the recordings, but that these transitions were actually generated through the use of MAME (emulation software),” Twin Galaxies wrote in a statement. Because the “rules for submitting scores for the original arcade Donkey Kong competitive leaderboards requires the use of original arcade hardware only[, t]he use of MAME or any other emulation software for submission to these leaderboards is strictly forbidden.”
Following these findings, Mitchell has been banned from Twin Galaxies, which has contacted Guinness World Records in an attempt to get Mitchell’s records wiped from those books as well.
On a happier note, the other star of King of Kong, underdog Steve Wiebe, has now been officially recognized by Twin Galaxies the first player to hit the million-point mark in Donkey Kong.
This Billy Mitchell controversy is not the first time that Twin Galaxies’ record-keeping has been called into question. YouTuber Apollo Legend published a compelling video essay in January 2018 asserting that Twin Galaxies was upholding bogus records held by Todd “Mr. Activision” Rogers, who allegedly fabricated records for various Atari 2600 games and claimed to have achieved scores that are literally impossible to achieve.
To its credit, it sounds like Twin Galaxies is making an effort to clean up its record books. In its statement on Mitchell, Twin Galaxies states that its “methodic approach [to investigating Mitchell’s scores] has allowed many things to surface, not only related to this specific score, but other scores as well as some previously never-before-discussed video game related history.”