As anyone who reads my website updates knows, I am a huge Donkey Kong fan. I’m also a fan of the recent movie “The King of Kong: a Fistful of Quarters”. The movie, presented as a documentary but not truly “accurate”, made a fun rivalry between Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe. The movie quickly became a cult classic, renewing interest in classic arcade gaming and competitive gaming. Even though there have been several classic games that have recently had long-standing world records toppled, such as Joust a few months ago, Donkey Kong is still the king. When Donkey Kong has its record beaten, it makes national news. Interest in the movie also spawned many new competitors beyond Steve and Billy. One such competitor, Hank Chien, surpassed both Billy and Steve and took the World Record last year. The record has passed between all three since then, and is currently held by Hank.
It was only a matter of time before someone was going to be able to put together the ultimate Donkey Kong tournament. Richie “Knucklez” Vavrence, owner of Richie Knucklez Arcade Games in Flemington, NJ held such a tournament this past weekend. Richie is a fantastic promoter and has created some great classic arcade events. This latest event, called “The Kong Off”, lined up 11 of the greatest Donkey Kong players in the world to play for the highest score over a two-day period.
The event was well attended by fans, and in the end Hank Chien passed Steve Wiebe and Eric Howard to claim the Kong Off crown and a $1000 grand prize. I was not able to attend the event but I did check in from time-to-time via the live webcam broadcast of the competition and through various Tweets and blog sites. I’ll post some great links to the end of this post if anyone is interested in reading more about the event.
Donkey Kong cabinets all lined up ready for the tournament. What a great sight! Just like in the 80’s when Donkey Kong was the hottest game in the arcades. Thanks to Eric Howard for the picture!
Great atmosphere with all the fans packed in to watch these guys play. This picture was taken directly from Richie’s Justin.tv broadcast video. It was great to watch during the event! Thanks Richie!
Watching this event has really made me want to make another run at my Donkey Kong high score. I spent several months working on my score and last year finally beat 300,000 points. That was good then but not nearly competitive after seeing all of these other people scoring three times that. I’ve never been close to seeing a Kill Screen (Level 22), so it’s time to try again. I’m going to start playing this game on a regular basis, with the goal of reaching the Kill Screen. I worked on my Joust skills with the goal of reaching 1,000,000 points and recently achieved that milestone. Now time for the true test. Very few people have successfully reached the Kill Screen. I want to be on that list!
I started playing again seriously last night. I only hit 139,400 points, but I guess that’s a start. I’m going to log my scores and levels reached over the next few months and see if I can come close to that Kill Screen. There are several things that I know I do not do well, such as retreating between springs on the later elevator levels. I’ll continue to work on these skills and hopefully get much better. Wish me luck!
Here are some links you might like:
- The Kong Off Official Site
- Richie Knucklez Arcade Games – The home of The Kong Off and Flashback Fridays. Be sure to check out the live Justin.tv streaming!
- Aurcade.com – The Kong Off Tournament Results Page
- The Kong Off Recap by Patrick Scott Patterson (Arcade Game Examiner)
- Rhode Island Donkey Kong contender scores at The Kong-Off (profile of Eric Howard at the Kong Off) by Patrick Scott Patterson (Arcade Game Examiner)