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Judge David Johnson • Location: Goffstown, NH
• Member since: October 2003
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Review: The King of Kong (A Fistful of Quarters)
December 3rd, 2007 11:44AM

Who knew that a decades-old arcade coin-op could provoke such a firestorm of emotion and competition in grown men?! Why, me! That's who! As a hopeless--and hapless--fan of video games and having grown up in the inferno of fierce rivalry spawned by such games as Street Fighter II and NBA Jam, I totally relate to the ruthless, dog-eat-dog environment of competitive video game play.

The hombres in Seth Gordon's fantastic documentary, however, are out for more than bragging rights--what video game legend and hot sauce slinger Billy Mitchell and Washington-based junior high teacher Steve Wiebe seek is immortality.

Mitchell is clearly set up as the bad guy (a point he contends of course) and Wiebe the upstart challenger. The challenge? The all-time highest score on Donkey Kong, The stakes? Geek adoration.

There are so many bizarre moments in this film, from the attempted psych-outs by Billy's faithful when Steve goes for the record to the live-score-versus-taped-score debate to the trespassing on Steve's property to analyze the arcade board in his garage (!).

Just zany, yet, the film succeeds not only because of this compelling surrealistic drama, but the fact there are actual emotions involved in all of this. Sure it's "only" Donkey Kong, but that doesn't mean its hurts any less to lose.

Video game fans will eat this up but nobody should miss this King.


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