Donkey Kong record holder Billy Mitchell holds a few big score records for the original arcade game: 1,047,200 (the King of Kong "tape"), 1,050,200 (the Mortgage Brokers score), and 1,062,800 (the Boomers score). However, back in August, Twin Galaxies member Jeremy Young (@xelnia) filed a dispute claim against the validity of these performances.
Young argued that the original Donkey Kong arcade hardware can't produce the board transition images shown in the recordings and that the transitions were actually generated through the use of an emulation software called MAME, which is strictly forbidden when submitting scores to the competitive leaderboards. The official dispute thread contains Young's evidence and is open to public scrutiny and review.
After many months of research, testing, and debate, Twin Galaxies' administration has accepted Young's dispute and Mitchell's scores have been removed from its leaderboards. Mitchell has also been banned from participating in Twin Galaxies' competitive leaderboards - a unanimous decision. Twin Galaxies has also informed Guinness World Records of its decision.
According to the official statement from Twin Galaxies, at least two different third parties also conducted their own research and came to the exact same conclusions. One of these third parties was Carlos Pinerio, whom Mitchell asked to help examine the dispute case claims on his behalf.
During the evidence gathering period of the dispute, various experts, hobbyists, and casual observers also participated and contributed to the investigation. Below are Twin Galaxies' specific findings:
- The taped Donkey Kong score performances of 1,047,200 and 1,050,200 that were historically used by Twin Galaxies to substantiate those scores and place them in the database were not produced by the direct feed output of an original unmodified Donkey Kong Arcade PCB.
- The 1,062,800 performance doesn't have enough of a body of direct evidence for Twin Galaxies to make a definitive determination at this time.
- The 1,047,200 and 1,050,200 score performance videos are, in fact ,the performances that were used by previous Twin Galaxies administration as justification for those scores to be entered into the database and for Twin Galaxies to attribute those specific accomplishments to Billy Mitchell. Twin Galaxies has several different sources of these performances and access to private historical Twin Galaxies referee e-mail distribution records showing where these sources acquired their copies and what the purpose was.
- It is very straightforward for anyone to check the authenticity of the 1,047,200 performance source tape by just cross-referencing the digital capture video of the performance that has been posted in this dispute thread with the very public "King of Kong" movie gameplay footage along with its DVD extras.
- It is certain that an unmodified original DK arcade PCB (printed circuit board) did not output the display seen in the videotaped score performances, but it isn't clear so far if what is on the tapes is MAME.
- To definitively conclude that MAME was used, Twin Galaxies would need to comprehensively rule out the possibility of all other methods that could produce what is seen on the tapes. This kind of extensive testing is beyond the scope of the dispute case needs.
For Twin Galaxies, the most important takeaway from all this research was that the score performances were not from an original unmodified Donkey Kong Arcade PCB.
Throughout the entire investigation, Mitchell was given the chance to answer questions and contribute to the public dispute thread, but was under no obligation to participate and he chose not to.
In its statement, Twin Galaxies emphasizes it is evaluating score performances, not people, and that "we care very much about our scoreboard integrity and will continue to improve it step-by-step, no matter how painful or public it might occasionally be."
Twin Galaxies will now recognize Steve Wiebe as the official first million point Donkey Kong record holder.
Source: Twin Galaxies