There’s been no shortage of recent cheating controversies when it comes to speedrunning and high score chasing. One of the most well-known examples of this involves former Donkey Kong world record-holder Billy Mitchell. Featured prominently in the 2007 documentary, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Mitchell lost his status as record-holder early last year, when evidence surfaced that indicated his runs were played on an emulator instead of actual hardware. Mitchell has denied any claims of wrongdoing and is now threatening legal action against Guinness World Records and scoreboard administrator Twin Galaxies unless they retract “defamatory statements made against him” and restore his now-removed high scores.
A falling star
In February 2018, Donkey Kong Forum (DKF) moderator Jeremy “Xelnia” Young started a thread detailing evidence that some of Mitchell’s high scores (including the one shown on the tape in King of Kong) were not performed on original Donkey Kong hardware and thus should be invalidated. The details are a bit heavy on the technical side, but in short, Young found visual proof regarding the way the game loads stages which indicates Mitchell’s deception. This discovery caused Young to pull one of Mitchell’s scores from the DKF scoreboard. A few months later, Twin Galaxies followed by pulling all of Mitchell’s scores from their boards (including his perfect Pac-Man score) and banning him from submitting new ones.
Billy Mitchell’s threat
Mitchell, on the other hand, has firmly denied ever cheating and is now threatening to resort to legal action against Guinness World Records and Twin Galaxies if they don’t rectify their actions within two weeks. In a letter to both organizations, Mitchell’s counsel demands that they “retract their claims against Billy Mitchell, and immediately restore his achievements and good name.” Mitchell is also wanting the organizations to issue press releases to this effect, as they both publicly issued statements against him.
Accompanying this letter is a 156-page packet of evidence, supposedly supporting Mitchell’s position. I’ve not even begun to read through all of this just yet, but based off the table of contents, this packet includes a bunch of witness statements and technical evidence proving Mitchell’s runs are legitimate.
Honestly, I’m not surprised Billy Mitchell is resorting to such tactics. Previously, he sued Cartoon Network over a parodic portrayal of him on Regular Show. Unfortunately for Mitchell, he lost this case.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth breakdown of this situation, YouTuber Apollo Legend has a nice video on it. If you want to do the digging yourself, however, all the evidence is available online and is linked to above. I’m personally interested to see what developments come out of this, since I imagine neither Guinness World Records nor Twin Galaxies will recant their prior statements.