Donkey Kong high score competition
Players have competed for the world high score for the video game Donkey Kong since its release in 1981. The competition has become more prominent since being covered in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong.
On November 7, 1982, Billy Mitchell set the first widely recognized Donkey Kong world record by scoring 874,300 points. That record stood for approximately 18 years until August 17, 2000, when it was surpassed by Tim Sczerby's score of 879,200. The competition received popular attention through the 2007 documentary The King of Kong. The film focused on the rivalry between Mitchell and teacher and former Boeing engineer Steve Wiebe.
Wiebe began to compete with Hank Chien, a plastic surgeon from New York. In March 2010, Chien surpassed Wiebe's record score. Wiebe achieved a new record score on August 30, 2010. But Chien, who became known as Dr. Kong, reclaimed the world record and ultimately held the title for four years. Chien would go on to improve his record score four more times. Chien has since withdrawn from competitive play. In September 2014, Robbie Lakeman overtook Chien for the highest score.[a] Lakeman had practiced for two and a half years and was spurred by a bet that he could earn a score within the game's top twenty. He would often stream his attempts live on Twitch, a streaming service, though his initial world record game was performed offline. At the time, a higher record had been set by Dean Saglio, but on an emulated version of the game rather than a physical arcade cabinet.[b] Lakeman later overtook his own record in December 2014 and again in June 2015.
In September 2015, Wes Copeland bested Lakeman for the high score. Lakeman, however, was able to reclaim the record within six hours. Copeland retook the record in January 2016. Shortly after, Lakeman announced his withdrawal from competitive play, though he would regain the record again in December 2017, and increase it again in February 2018.
American rapper Eminem has reported his own score (465,800) within the top 30 worldwide, though with increasing competition this score would now sit outside the top 100. The original high score was 872,000.
In 2018, Twin Galaxies, which officiates high-score designations, vacated Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong high-scores and banned his future participation after stating that three of his Donkey Kong million-point high scores had not been made on original, unmodified circuitboards. A frame-by-frame analysis of Mitchell's games suggested his game rendering as if played in emulation. However, in 2020 Guinness World Records reversed their decision and reinstated Billy Mitchell's previous world records, based on new evidence including eyewitness reports and expert testimonials.
|November 7, 1982||874,300||Billy Mitchell|||
|August 17, 2000||879,200||Tim Sczerby||  |
|June 3, 2005||985,600||Steve Wiebe|
|August 3, 2006||1,049,100||Steve Wiebe|
|February 26, 2010||1,061,700||Hank Chien|
|August 30, 2010||1,064,500||Steve Wiebe|||
|December 27, 2010||1,068,000||Hank Chien|
|February 27, 2011||1,090,400||Hank Chien|
|May 18, 2012||1,110,100||Hank Chien|
|July 25, 2012||1,127,700||Hank Chien|
|November 5, 2012||1,138,600||Hank Chien|
|September 5, 2014||1,141,800||Robbie Lakeman|
|December 1, 2014||1,144,800||Robbie Lakeman|
|June 24, 2015||1,158,400||Robbie Lakeman|
|September 17, 2015||1,170,500||Wes Copeland|
|September 18, 2015||1,172,100||Robbie Lakeman|
|October 21, 2015||1,177,200||Robbie Lakeman|
|January 4, 2016||1,190,000||Wes Copeland|
|April 11, 2016||1,190,200||Robbie Lakeman|
|April 19, 2016||1,195,100||Wes Copeland|
|May 5, 2016||1,218,000||Wes Copeland|||
|December 22, 2017||1,230,100||Robbie Lakeman|
|February 2, 2018||1,247,700||Robbie Lakeman|||
|March 17, 2019||1,249,500||John McCurdy|| |
|May 25, 2019||1,259,000||John McCurdy|||
|June 15, 2020||1,260,700||Robbie Lakeman|||
Kong Off is an annual competitive tournament, to date held from 2013 to 2019. Jeff Willms won a small cash prize at the 2013 Kong Off 3 tournament, which was held in Denver between 22 competitors. Willms, a professional Software Engineer, had previously won the Kong Off 2. The July 2015 Kong Off 4 was held in Pittsburgh. Three further Kong Offs have been held in Australia.
- Harmon, Josh (September 30, 2019). "The Split-Screen Man". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Day, Walter (1998). Official Video Game & Pinball Book Of World Records. Sunstar. ISBN 978-1887472258.
- Aaronson, Trevor (June 19, 2003). "Arcade King". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Dante D'Orazio (September 6, 2014). "Gamer claims 'Donkey Kong' world record, ending plastic surgeon's four-year reign". The Verge. Vox Media.
- Brian Ashcraft. "The King Of Kong Once Again The King Of Kong". Kotaku. Gawker Media.
- Watson, Adam (September 23, 2010). "Steve Wiebe reclaims spot as king of Donkey Kong". ESPN. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- "'Donkey Kong' scoring record falls once again". Yahoo Games. June 29, 2015. Archived from the original on February 1, 2016.
- "Donkey Kong: the game that refuses to be beaten". Telegraph.co.uk. September 11, 2014.
- Good, Owen S. (September 19, 2015). "All-time Donkey Kong world record beaten twice in less than a day". Polygon. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- Good, Owen S. (January 9, 2016). "New Donkey Kong world record set, and there's not much room left for another". Polygon. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- "Eminem's Donkey Kong Ambitions | Donkey Blog: News, Theory, and Meditations From The World of Competitive Donkey Kong". donkeykongblog.blogspot.com. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- Good, Owen S. (April 12, 2018). "King of Kong's Billy Mitchell's high scores wiped out by Twin Galaxies". Polygon. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- "A statement from Guinness World Records: Billy Mitchell". Guinness World Records. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
- "The Donkey Kong World Record: The Real History, From 1982 to Today | Donkey Blog: News, Theory, and Meditations From The World of Competitive Donkey Kong". donkeykongblog.blogspot.com. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- "World's best Donkey Kong players duke it out at Kong Off 3". Ars Technica.