Billy Mitchell stripped of Donkey Kong world record

Billy Mitchell, who once held multiple gaming records, has now been stripped of those accolades. The news comes after an exhaustive review of his scores following a dispute that was filed against his original arcade Donkey Kong score performance of 1,047,200.

Twin Galaxies, known for tracking video game world records, announced today that it has removed Mitchell's scores from its website and also alerted the Guinness World Records of its decision. The decision to remove the scores was made after months of investigations. The original dispute was filed in February, based on:

"the technical basis of a demonstrated impossibility of original unmodified Donkey Kong arcade hardware to produce specific board transition images shown in the videotaped recordings of those adjudicated performances."

The dispute claimed that:

"not only can original Donkey Kong arcade hardware not produce the board transition images shown in the recordings, but that these transitions were actually generated through the use of MAME (emulation software.)"

In order to submit valid scores to the original arcade Donkey Kong competitive leaderboards, it requires those submitting scores to use original arcade hardware. This means that players cannot use emulators or any other software to play the game. Along with Twin Galaxies findings, third parties were also consulted in this matter. You can view the detailed findings below:

  • The taped Donkey Kong score performances of 1,047,200 (the King of Kong "tape"), 1,050,200 (the Mortgage Brokers score) that were historically used by Twin Galaxies to substantiate those scores and place them in the database were not produced by the direct feed output of an original unmodified Donkey Kong Arcade PCB.
  • The 1,062,800 (the Boomers score) Donkey Kong performance does not have enough of a body of direct evidence for Twin Galaxies to feel comfortable to make a definitive determination on at this time.
  • The 1047 and 1050 score performance videos we have in our possession (and are basing our determinations on) are in fact the performances that were used by previous Twin Galaxies administration as justification for those scores to be entered into the database and for Twin Galaxies to attribute those specific accomplishments to Billy Mitchell. We have several different and unique sources of these performances and access to private historical Twin Galaxies referee e-mail distribution records showing where these sources acquired their copies and what the purpose was.
  • Of significant note is that it is very straightforward for anyone to check the authenticity of the 1047 performance source tape by just cross-referencing the digital capture video of the performance that has been posted in this dispute thread with the very public "King of Kong" movie gameplay footage along with its DVD extras.
  • While we know for certain that an unmodified original DK arcade PCB did not output the display seen in the videotaped score performances, we cannot definitively conclude that what is on the tapes is MAME.
  • To definitively conclude that MAME was used, Twin Galaxies would need to comprehensively rule out the possibility of all other methods that could produce what is seen on the tapes. This would mean testing all other emulators other than MAME across all other platforms to eliminate the possibility that a different emu was used. It would also mean testing visual effects software and anything else we can think of to be definitively certain. This kind of testing is beyond the scope of the dispute case needs.

Twin Galaxies did give Mitchell opportunities to answer questions during the dispute, but he did not choose to do so. As of today, Billy Mitchell will no longer be the first person to reach one million points in Donkey Kong, that accolade will now go to Steve Wiebe.

Source: Twin Galaxies 1, 2 via Engadget

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