The King of Kong

New York Premiere

USA | 79 MINUTES | English |



Before Sony Playstations, Ninetendo Wiis and Microsoft Xboxes, diehard video gamers went to the arcade, where games like Space Invaders, Q*bert, Joust and Centipede ruled the day. But no classic arcade game was considered more difficult to master than the one that launched a character who would grace movies, television and future games for decades to come: Donkey Kong. In 1982, Walter Day-the owner of the Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa-became the "official" record-keeper for video game high scores, and Life magazine asked him to bring together the world's greatest players for a photo spread. Among this group was Billy Mitchell, the world record holder on Centipede and soon-to-be king of Donkey Kong. Mitchell's score was considered unbeatable, and went unchallenged for a while. Mitchell grew up, and became a Florida hot-sauce mogul, but all along the way, he remained protective of his status as the grand champion of Donkey Kong. Like many social circles, Twin Galaxies is a clique not terribly friendly to outsiders, and Mitchell has always been their big man on campus. Seth Gordon's hilariously entertaining documentary focuses on the first real challenge to Mitchell's record, when the 35-year-old Steve Wiebe, former high school jock and musician, now seemingly perpetual runner-up, decides to bide his time, during yet another job layoff, trying to master Donkey Kong. The ensuing conflict between the mild-mannered Wiebe and the aggressive Mitchell (aided by his Twin Galaxies minions who treat the entire endeavor with the utmost seriousness) make a fun film that must be seen to be believed. A Picturehouse Release.