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In the early 1980s, legendary Billy Mitchell set a Donkey Kong record that stood for almost 25 years. This documentary follows the assault on the record by Steve Wiebe, an earnest teacher from Washington who took up the game while unemployed. The top scores are monitored by a cadre of players and fans associated with Walter Day, an Iowan who runs Funspot, an annual tournament. Wiebe breaks Mitchell's record in public at Funspot, and Mitchell promptly mails a controversial video tape of himself setting a new record. So Wiebe travels to Florida hoping Mitchell will face him for the 2007 Guinness World Records. Will the mind-game-playing Mitchell engage; who will end up holding the record? Written by
King of Kong (or Billy vs. Steve, basically), is an excellent film about a rivalry that says a lot about competition in our culture. The movie portrays Billy, the Donkey Kong Champion, doing everything in his power to keep his record and to deny Steve Wiebe (wee-Bee) the title of world record holder in Donkey Kong. Steve is an outsider in this culture where Billy is an icon, and at first there are people within the video game community who do not want him to succeed. It becomes kind of a struggle between good and evil, as the powers that be try to hold down those not in power. Suddenly, Steve is the guy you're rooting for, if only just to beat that smart-ass Billy. It is a journey that takes you through the darker and seedier side of the video game revolution of the '80s. If it seems silly to be writing about such weighty issues of good and evil when a movie is about a video game, watch the movie: it really does the job of making you care about what happens to these odd, fascinating people.
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