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
The project originally began as a documentary about competitive gaming in general - it wasn't until the film was well into production that the crew discovered the events surrounding Wiebe and Mitchell, and decided to re-focus the film entirely on this rivalry. This largely accounts for the amount of coverage the film gives to minor players, such as the elderly Q-Bert champion. By the time production ended, over 300 hours of video had been shot. See more »
When Billy Mitchell is describing an analogy of top WWI fighter aces, he claims the top French ace shot down 24 enemy planes. In reality the top French pilot (René Fonck) shot down 75 enemy planes, He also claims the Red Baron shot down 87 enemy planes, when he only had 80 confirmed kills. See more »
When I have to watch that pile of eight tapes over there for Dwayne Richards' two-day Nibbler performance, that's 48 straight hours of paying attention and making sure he's doing everything correctly.
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Though this geeky arcade fighting flick may remain an acquired taste, The King of Kong feels like one of the more entertaining documentaries to emerge in years. Even though you would think the chief demographic of forty year old virgins and basement-ridden, antisocial, hardcore, old-school gamers would flip the bill, Kong immediately offers so much more on so many different levels of psychological and sociological intrigue that anyone not self-conscious enough to feel embarrassed for investing an emotional stake into a Donkey Kong showdown, (highlighting a bittersweet anti-climax) will find themselves deep inside a world they never thought imaginable.
The mock-epic tone, which so many supporting characters delightfully contribute to, feels seized by director Seth Gordon and infused into his charming take on good-vs-evil, letting this potentially inspiring metaphor stretch it's wings into a blossomed, well-rounded quirk-fest far more fun then it's rigorous gaming pedigree would suggest.
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