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King Of Kong Billy Mitchell's Top Donkey Kong Records Removed For Misleading Hardware Use

by Imran Khan on Feb 02, 2018 at 03:41 PM

The Donkey Kong high-score scene is famous enough to have a documentary about it, starring high-score veteran and hot sauce maven Billy Mitchell. Mitchell's scores are being called into question for using different hardware than originally thought.

The post explaining the removal goes into long technical detail with gifs that explain the difference between hardware, but essentially it has been alleged that Mitchell is using an emulator called MAME while playing Donkey Kong versus actual hardware, creating an uneven playing field on some of his highest scores.

"In summary, these GIFs show that each of the Donkey Kong world record direct feed recordings presented by Billy Mitchell and verified by TG were generated in MAME and not by original Donkey Kong hardware," wrote dispute settler Jeremy Young on TwinGalaxies, the site that tracks and verifies high scores. "These scores are: 1,047,200 (the King of Kong "tape"), 1,050,200 (the Mortgage Brokers score), and 1,062,800 (the Boomers score). In order to demonstrate this, it's necessary to understand how DK images are generated by MAME versus an original PCB."

Young, who uses the screenname Xelnia, goes on to explain how it is possible to tell the difference between an emulated game and hardware. "A simple analogy would be this: Real DK hardware generates the image in the same way you would open or close vertical window blinds...from side to side. Older versions of MAME (pre-0.122) generate the image in the same way you would put together a puzzle...piece by piece."

As such, Young has made the decision to remove the above-mentioned scores above a million, dropping Billy Mitchell from the top 20 to 48, to his last publicly validated score.

One interesting note is that the scores being removed were personally verified by infamous Dragster record-holder, Todd Rogers. Earlier this very week, Rogers' world records for Dragster were disqualified due to the numbers being determined impossible and fraudulent. Rogers denies any wrongdoing.

Billy Mitchell could not be reached for comment.

We had the opportunity to speak with Mitchell last year, along with the founder of TwinGalaxies Walter Day. You can check out the GI Show where we talked to them here below.


Our Take
It is worth reading Young's breakdown of how the arcade and emulated versions differ, as it's actually quite fascinating. For some reason, high-scores of retro games are rife with drama.