Walter Day, head of Twin Galaxies, has posted a series of objections to the film King of Kong. Key among them is that Steve Wiebe held the official Donkey Kong World Record for three years, including most of the period covered in the film. According to Day:
Essentially, on June 30, 2003, Steve Wiebe scored 947,200 points on Donkey Kong. His score was submitted to Twin Galaxies and accepted with honors.
If this is true, then Wiebe’s dramatically overturned high scores would have in fact reverted back to his own world record, a central premise of the film would totally false, and much of the alleged drama in the film would be a manipulative hoax. Documentary filmmaker Jason Scott strongly agreed with this assertion: “I just want the message clear: I hate that movie.”
But when Walter Day says that Twin Galaxies “essentially” accepted Steve Wiebe’s score as a World Record, it would seem that what he actually means is “they absolutely did not accept them as a World Record.”
Robert Mruczek, the referee of Twin Galaxies, told Steve Wiebe in a post on Nov 10, 2004 that his 947,200 score had been “reclassified” and none of his other videotaped scores would be accepted as records.
And in a FunSpot forum thread in 2003 (with Walter Day himself chiming in) Mruczek also said that Wiebe’s score was “split” from the world record for “purity’s sake.” He also says that Billy Mitchell — the guy who’s record was at stake — was one of the people who made this decision for Twin Galaxies.
This thread discussing the disqualification of Wiebe’s score from July 2003 looks like the same thread which was shown in King of Kong. It becomes the basis of Wiebe’s frustration with Twin Galaxies and the initial premise of the film.
So are all of these posts fake? Or is Walter Day flat out lying about Weibe’s 943 day world record?
Right now it looks like a group of people who take their verification process very very seriously gave one set of facts in 2003 — Wiebe’s score was not the official world record. Then a few years later when a documentary quotes them and distributes their assertions internationally, they ignore their prior verification process and publicly attack the documentary.
Who held what score in what year on exactly which chipset is surely among the most minor fragments of history. The more critical issue at stake is how history gets documented. If this entertaining and widely admired film is based on a lie, it should be clearly noted so that fact-based documentarians do not use it as a model.
But if Twin Galaxies is now attacking the film on a false premise, it would suggest that they are sycophantically willing to shift facts and their own rules to match the context. Which is, coincidentally, kind of how they were portrayed in the film which they are now attacking.
Investigations into this matter are active and ongoing…
So much for the investigation…
why not another update:
Arcade-related controversy in a documentary, people get a face punching. But Wikipedia-related controversy in a documentary…
Update to End All Updates:
Donkey Kong Timeline at Superbunker. A futile attempt to compile the definitive historical chronology of a single video game score through the maze of conflicting accounts.