This brilliant documentary purports to be about the elusive high score on the classic arcade game, Donkey Kong, but is in fact a classic tale of Good vs. Evil, Weak vs. Powerful, and Trimmed vs. Mullet. Billy Mitchell is widely recognized as one of the greatest classic video game players of all time as he recorded the high scores on games such as Centipede, Donkey Kong Jr. and the notoriously difficult Donkey Kong, a record which stood for nearly twenty years. Steve Wiebe is a normal dude who got laid off from his job at Boeing and with his extra time decided he’d like to beat that record.
But beating it wasn’t the problem.
Through a series of unfortunate and questionable events Wiebe’s broken record was taken away from him. Who would have thought an arcade game record holder had the power to influence judges, not operate by the rules and be such a weasel? We then follow Wiebe on his quest to beat the record and Mitchell in his quest to retain it. It made me happy, it made me sad, it enraged me.
One of the great themes of The Lord of the Flies is how the kids slowly get so wrapped up in their little world that they lose the bigger and more important perspective of the fact that they are stuck on an island in need of rescue. Similarly in this movie I was engrossed in the little world of arcade game culture/politics and I felt the weight of this clash for the Donkey Kong record. It’s IMPORTANT!!!