By and large, the great achievements of early arcade gamers from the 80’s remained known only to the faithful few until 2007, with the release of the feature length documentary film, King of Kong. At first, the film seemed peculiar: a niche subculture of competitors striving for the highest scores on some of the earliest video games. Even more peculiar, the competitors were serious about claiming the highest scores on these classic arcade games. Seemingly, none more than surpassing Billy Mitchell’s one and only ever verified Donkey Kong ‘Kill Screen’ score of 874,300 points set on the 13th August, 1982. Mitchell’s score was deemed, by some, as unbeatable. This wasn’t to be the case.
On the August 17th of 2000, Micthell’s score was tumbled by Tim Sczerby with a score of 879,200 points. Sczerby’s victory paved the way for what could be described as the Donkey Kong Epoch. Soon Sczerby’s world record would be beaten and trade hands by an elite few: Steve Weibe, Hank Chein, Robbie Lakeman, Wes Copland, and, as of today, John McCurdy. And equally impressive is the eighty individual competitors who also surpassed Mitchell’s 874,330 points in the hope of claiming the world record.
The real point is the King of Kong clearly made a deep impres- sion on video game arcade enthusiasts who were children or teenagers of the 80s. Having watched the King of Kong, many of those viewers found their way to the Twin Galaxies leaderboards with the hope of besting world records on titles they were better than average on in their youth. Soon, the treasured video game world records of ‘antiquity’ were being taken. Many classic titles – Asteroids, Dig Dug, Galaxian, Track & Field, etc., were being given a much closer inspection. It didn’t take long before many of the long-standing world records were being broken, with very few exceptions. One of those few is exceptionally rare and exceptionally different: Ice Cold Beer.
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