The history of competitive Donkey Kong is a deep, dark, and littered with the corpses of virtual Italian plumbers. It's been the subject of documentaries like The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters and given rise to numerous Donkey Kong fan theories. The race for the highest score is pretty cutthroat, and considering intense competition often gives rise to toxic gaming communities, there's a fair amount of deceit and betrayal to be found among DK players. The most well-respected personalities in competitive Donkey Kong have been known to exhibit some shady behavior, to which the gaming community is no stranger (when it comes to televised gaming).
King of Kong barely scratches the surface when it comes to the true story behind one of gaming's oldest and fiercest competitions. With all the in-fighting, cheating, and celebrity status, the battle to reach the highest score possible on Donkey Kong is far from over.
The advent of live streaming has opened up the Donkey Kong world competition to a whole new generation of gamers. One of them is Robbie Lakeman, who achieved what press have called a near-perfect game on the arcade cabinet. He streamed three hours and 49 minutes of footage on Twitch, where he achieved a 1,247,700 point score - besting his previous record of 1,230,100. It's been suggested there's not much more room for another high score, though the random aspects of any Donkey Kong game mean anything is possible.
Twin Galaxies, a highly respected arbiter of gaming high scores, recently stripped Billy Mitchell of his records for multiple games, including Donkey Kong. Mitchell was once recognized as the first person to ever reach one million points in Donkey Kong, and set the first official high score for the game.
The decision to strip his records came down when it was revealed he used an emulator to achieve at least four of his scores. An emulator allows users to change the way the game runs in ways not intended by developers, most notably including saving and reloading at a moments notice to achieve the best score possible.
Billy Mitchell was once famously recognized as the first person to achieve over one million points in Donkey Kong. It was even part of the startling conclusion to the 2007 documentary, King of Kong. Since the movie's production, however, Mitchell has had all of his scores stripped, officially transferring the record over to Steve Wiebe. Wiebe was Mitchell's rival in the cult documentary, and the film itself was integral to the arbitration over Mitchell's scores.
Eminem has been famous for almost as long as Donkey Kong has. He's certainly the right age to have spent time in arcades as a kid, mashing high scores as the barrel-dodging Jumpman. In fact, it's reported he has a fixation with classic arcade games, as his studio is filled with a number of machines, including Frogger, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong.
After watching the documentary King of Kong, he made it his mission to break the world record. In 2010 he tweeted a picture of his 465,800 point high score, putting him close to the top 30 rankings at the time.