A middle-school science teacher and a hot sauce mogul vie for the Guinness World Record on the arcade classic, “Donkey Kong.” In 1982, LIFE Magazine assembled the world’s greatest gamers for a photo shoot that would become the center spread of their 1982 Year-In-Photos edition. Billy Mitchell, who would later be named the “Gamer of the Century,” was one of the invitees. Mitchell, the World Record holder on Centipede, had been tracking the score on Donkey Kong, and knew he could take that title as well. In front of the 20 best gamers in the world, Billy scored 874,300 points, a record many thought would never be broken. In 2003, 35 year old family man Steve Wiebe, after losing his job at Boeing, found solace in Donkey Kong. Steve stumbled upon Billy Mitchell’s record online, and set out to break it. He began perfecting his game every night after his wife and kids went to bed, and not only surpassed Billy’s record, but ended up with a thought-to-be-impossible 1,000,000 points. A tidal wave of media coverage followed, and Steve Wiebe quickly became a celebrity in his hometown of Seattle, WA. He also rediscovered his love for teaching, and regained the respect of all who once doubted him. Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, FL, Billy Mitchell hatched a plan to reclaim his fallen Donkey Kong record… In the months that followed, Steve and Billy engaged in a cross-country duel to see who could set the high score that would be included in the 2007 Guinness World Records’ book and become “The King of Kong.” Along the way, both men learned valuable lessons about what it means to be a father, a husband, and a true champion… discovering that you don’t always need to win to be a winner.
The King Of Kong
August 17, 2007