A scandal has rocked the very niche (but very intense) world of competitive arcade gaming today, as hot sauce magnate Billy Mitchell—the big-haired, smiling “heel” of Seth Gordon’s 2007 documentary hit The King Of Kong—has had several of his records on the Nintendo classic Donkey Kong called into question. As reported by VentureBeat, the decision comes after an unsurprisingly in-depth analysis of the videos Mitchell used to secure some of his most recent high scores, and which were reportedly determined to have been played not on an original Donkey Kong cabinet, as he claimed, but on the computer emulation program MAME.
The discovery has sparked rumors that Twin Galaxies, the self-appointed record hall for big numbers in old games, would be stripping away all of Mitchell’s scores that couldn’t be confirmed to have been played in public. The organization issued a statement today, stating that the evidence against Mitchell—which first showed up on the Donkey Kong Forum, which has already scrubbed his records—is still under review, and that it has yet to reach a decision at this time.
On the one hand, this is less seismic than it might initially seem, given that neither Mitchell, nor fellow documentary subject Steve Wiebe, hold the Donkey Kong world record any more. (As of today, Mitchell is at 12th place in the Twin Galaxies rankings, and Wiebe at 11th; Robbie Lakeman currently holds the actual top spot.) On the other hand, The King Of Kong drew much of its drama from Mitchell’s image as a glad-handing corner-cutter, so it’s hard not to feel a vicarious, decades-old thrill at the idea that the film’s “villain” might finally face his digital comeuppance.