Friday, 4 July 2008

The King of Kong

Assuming you might not have seen the film, I'm going to have to start by saying that "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters", directed by Seth Gordon, is an absolutely brilliant documentary. Essentially, it's a classic David & Goliath challenge, whereby Goliath is known as the "greatest arcade-video-game player of all time", aka Billy Mitchell. The cameras watch as science teacher Steve Weibe comes straight out of no-where to challenge Billy's Donkey Kong record...which has stood towers above anyone for 25 years.

Billy Mitchell modestly enjoys the first ever Perfect Pac-Man score

Yep, I too thought he was just some guy from Albert Square, but having now seen 'The King of Kong', I know Billy Mitchell to be a true star. Whilst there's Ricky Gervais in 'The Office', Bill Murray in 'Kingpin' etc (Both of them total legends), the fact that Billy is real makes him so much better. He's such a great character to sit back and watch. I wouldn't want to say the words myself but meghan-ign, from, sums him up as "the perfect villein. He's vein, hypocritical, arrogant, and hilariously out-of-touch. It's pretty hard to make up lines like "everything I say is controversial--it's like the abortion issue" and "Helen of Troy didn't get this much attention.""

He's also well known for his popular food chain "Rickey's World Famous Restaurant" (There's a lot more to him than video games), the brand sell a whole range of hot sauces, but that's beside the point. Though there is a brilliant scene where Billy explains how tough the sauce industry is, and proceeds to go into the stores himself to re-locate his products in front of the competitors – Dignity remains at an all time high.

Walter back in the Day

The brilliant thing about this movie is that Billy is far from the only star. Amongst many others, veteran referee (/video game folk musician) Walter Day is also a real gem. Like everyone else, he got into the computer game industry for the obvious reason, "I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, "Hi, I see that you're good at Centipede.""

The documentary is full of people whose total genius you could never begin to script, plus there's a great soundtrack (The DVD menu is something else), and, strangely enough, one of the most gripping storylines I've seen in a while.

If you're in doubt, feel free to ask us anything about the flick.