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'Kong' doc reveals gaming obsessions

January 24, 2008

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Out of the Box: King of KongAchievement points? Unlockables? Not so in the eighties. Then, it was all about high scores and levels attained but just like today, some people just take things waaaay too seriously.

'The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters', available on DVD January 29th, is a documentary by filmmaker Seth Gordon, which chronicles the intense rivalry between video game icon Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe, an adversary who came out of nowhere to challenge Mitchell for his Donkey Kong world record.

Mitchell, portrayed as more of a rock star than a professional gamer, isn't going silently into the night though. No way. No how. Steve Wiebe is the quiet family man has come up short often in life so the game of Donkey Kong represents so much more to him than coloured pixels and sprites on a screen.

Out of the Box: King of KongWith more twists and turns than a John Le Carré spy novel, the bitter cat and mouse game between the two players grows more heated as the film unspools. Conspiracy theories abound over taped gameplay submitted as record breaking evidence, the sometimes controversial decisions of Twin Galaxies - the volunteer organization that approves video game world records - and the Donkey Kong machine Steve Wiebe used in his garage to challenge Mitchell's records at the start before he decided to do so live and in person.

As in real life, things are not always black and white. There are many areas of grey in 'The King of Kong'. People and situations shift back and forth. That is what makes the story so real and so true to life.

‘The King of Kong’ is not about blips and bleeps or pixels and percentages. It is about pride, passion and the good and bad that happens when a hobby becomes an obsession.

Out of the Box: King of KongThe King of Kong (2007)
DVD: New Line Home Entertainment (2007)
Director: Seth Gordon.
Cast: Billy Mitchell, Walter Day and Steve Wiebe.

Rating: 8 / 10

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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see