Sunday, September 02, 2007

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Tonight The Hubs and I went to the Lagoon to see The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It's a documentary about two guys who try to beat each other for the Donkey Kong high score world record. One guy is the reigning champ from 1982, and the other guy is just your average joe who feels he can beat the odds.

I pretty much loved this movie from the very beginning. I'm not a gamer and I've never really been into video games, but I think I was able to relate to the story. The main premise, of course, is two men battling to hold the title of World Champ. But then you have the underlying premise of Good versus Evil and the fight to see which will prevail. I think that's why I loved the movie and the story it told.

The two main characters are as polar opposite as you can get. Billy Mitchell is a restaurant tycoon and hot sauce maker living in Hollywood, Florida. He holds the World Champ title for the most points scored in Donkey Kong. He earned that title in 1982 and no one was able to beat it. Notice that he still has the same mullet haircut from 1982.

Steve Weiebe is a guy with a wife, two kids, and a bit of OCD living in Seattle, WA. The reason he got into Donkey Kong was because he'd just lost his job and he was looking to kill some time. Before he knew it he had become really good at racking up points and felt he could beat Mitchell's World Record.

Without giving away the movie (although it's already history, and if you're a rabid gamer you already know the story) I can tell you that these two become rivals. It's a total battle of Good vs Evil and Right vs Wrong. But there are twists and turns and other unsavory characters that get in the way of things. One of our favorite characters is Roy Shildt, who calls himself Mr Awesome. His claim to fame is that he holds the World Record for Missile Command AND he was in Playgirl Magazine in 1988. HA! He's out of control. You can see him here. Warning: NSFW.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, you really have to. It's not so much about video games as it is about the people who live them. You can't imagine how many nerds converge in arcades STILL in the 21st century. You'll laugh til you cry and you'll leave the theater smiling. I'm sure of it.

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