Last week I saw the excellent documentary The King of Kong and heartily recommended it to everyone who’s even moderately interested in videogames. You don’t even have to have ever played the titular game, Nintendo’s Donkey Kong arcade cabinet, to enjoy the film (I haven’t). Now, The Onion’s A.V. Club has an excellent interview with Billy Mitchell, the Donkey Kong champion portrayed as a cheater, coward, and all-around jerk in the documentary (as a foil to the hero of the story, Steve Wiebe).
Well I knew something about the characterization and framing of Billy Mitchell seemed off. The documentary isn’t close to impartial, though I suspect that’s only to make it even more entertaining. And now in this interview Billy Mitchell has fired back, confirming a lot of the initial suspicions I had about the film. Is Billy Mitchell quirky? Hell yes. But is he a bad man? No, I don’t think so. He still holds the Donkey Kong world record, and to my mind, he deserves it.