The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
The most entertaining documentary I have ever seen is this little seen gem about Donkey Kong and the fight to own the world record on the classic arcade game.
Billy Mitchell is the arcade video game player of the 80’s and the owner of the world record of Donkey Kong at 874,300. Billy in the present runs a restaurant and hot sauce company that has allowed him to have financial success while remaining an avid video game enthusiast and is well respected in the competitive gaming community. Billy Mitchell has a personality and a way of speech that is almost indescribable. Extremely confident and cocky the man will stop at nothing to defend his records and name at the top of these scores, which he believes are untouchable.
Enter Steve Wiebe (WEE-BEE), a down on his luck nice guy that needs something to prove. Just laid off, adding to an endless string of coming up short in his life, he discovers the record for Donkey Kong online and tells himself, “I can beat that!” Steve begins his quest and we get to observe the effect it has on both himself and his family over the course of a few years.
To say more would be a disservice to the viewer and the film as the story is gripping and filled with unbelievable twists and characters that must be seen to believe. Just know you will encounter frauds, lap dogs to video game celebrities, the founder and head referee (who watches days of tapes to review video game records) of Twin Galaxies, the officially recognized keepers of video games records, and I guy named “Mr. Awesome”.
The film moves quickly and is almost always compelling. Some might be a bit turned off at the beginning due to the very general focus on competitive video gaming, but stick with it as the real story doesn’t kick in till you meet the hero Wiebe. The twists and turns in the story are all over the place and the conniving that takes place over a score in Donkey Kong is baffling.
There is an underground society and passion for this world like you wouldn’t believe and Wiebe’s outsider looking in angle is a perfect way to experience this story as 99% of us are just like him; not having any idea what we are about to get into. A bad guy like Billy Mitchell hasn’t been seen on screen in a while and likable hero like Steve Wiebe is even better because he is real.
This film is for anyone and not just fans of video games. It tells a very real and human story of someone just trying to be the best at something and you will root for Wiebe through and through till the very end. I can’t implore you enough to run out and find this movie as it is one of 07’s best and a great story and documentary to be seen by all.