Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong Scores Reinstated On Archival Leaderboard

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After a legal battle spanning five years, arcade gamer Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong scores have returned to Twin Galaxies, but only on the archival leaderboards.

Twin Galaxies, the authoritative body that verifies video game achievements and curators of the video game database that supplies gaming records to Guinness World Records, settled with Mitchell in a defamation lawsuit that’s been ongoing since 2019.

Twin Galaxies Adjudication investigated accusations that Billy Mitchell used modified hardware to achieve high scores for Donkey Kong. The investigations started in 2018 and led to the removal of Billy Michell’s Donkey Kong scores along with his records for various other arcade classics. Mitchell also received a ban from submitting scores on the Twin Galaxies leaderboards.

image credit: twin galaxies

According to Twin Galaxies, irregularities were present in Billy Mitchell’s scores. Twin Galaxies concluded that Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong scores were achieved on the MAME emulator and not on original hardware.

High score attempts registered with Twin Galaxies must use original, unmodified hardware. Mitchell levelled Similar accusations towards another competitive Donkey Kong player, Steve Wiebe, in the film King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters.

A Doctor’s Note

image credit: billy mitchell/namco

Chief among concerns of Twin Galaxies community members were apparent visual anomalies in Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong score submissions.

Dr. Michael Zyda, who served as an expert witness on the case, concluded that “the gameplay on the subject tapes could in fact depict play on original unmodified Donkey Kong arcade hardware if the hardware involved was malfunctioning likely due to degradation of components”.

Dr. Zyda holds a plethora of qualifications relating to computer science including a Bachelor of Arts in Computer and Information Science from the University of California, San Diego, a Masters of Science in Computer and Information Science from the University of Massachusetts and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Washington School of Engineering.

A note with Dr. Zyda’s opinion on the matter arrived on the 7th November 2023, but he didn’t provide a conclusive reason behind the apparent anomalies. Dr. Zyda stated finding a definitive answer to the quandries “seems unlikely”.

Twin Galaxies accepted the evidence presented by Dr. Zyda and ultimately settled the case with Mitchell.

Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong Scores Return

Image credit: billy mitchell

Following the settlement of the case, Twin Galaxies issued a statement regarding Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong scores.

Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong scores have returned to the historical version of the site that catalogues gaming achievements up to 2014, when the site changed ownership.

Posting a statement on Twitter, Billy Mitchell notes that he is “relieved and satisfied to reach this resolution after an almost six year ordeal and look forward to pursuing my unfinished business elsewhere”.

Twin Galaxies, founded by Walter Day in 1981, featured heavily in the aforementioned film, King of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters. The film saw teacher Steve Wiebe attempting to dethrone Billy Mitchell as the undisputed champion of Donkey Kong, one of the greatest 2D platform games of all time.

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