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Interviews: Ask "The King of Kong" Billy Mitchell About Classic Video Games 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus (5) writes Billy Mitchell owns the Rickey's World Famous Restaurant chain, sells his own line of hot sauces, and was called, "probably the greatest arcade-video-game player of all time". He was the first to achieve a perfect score in Pac-Man, and held many record scores in other arcade games. He is probably most famous for the 2007 documentary,"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". The film follows a challenger on his quest to surpass Billy's high score in Donkey Kong, which Mitchell had set in 1982. Since the film was made, the Kong crown has been held by a number people including twice by Mitchell. Billy has agreed to put down the quarters and answer any questions you might have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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Interviews: Ask "The King of Kong" Billy Mitchell About Classic Video Games

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:57AM (#47246545)

    Do you play many modern computer games these days, such as the current (Xbox One / Playstation 4) or recent generation? How do you think they differ from decades ago with cabinet based titles you are so well known for playing?

  • Regret? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Catiline (186878) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:01AM (#47246581) Homepage Journal
    What (if anything) do you regret about your fame as a champion video game player?
  • A Lost Era (Score:5, Interesting)

    by niado (1650369) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:03AM (#47246593)
    Every arcade that I have been inside in the last 10 years or so has been filled with terrible ticket-churning games. The commoditization of gaming hardware seems to have permanently killed off the classic arcade. Do you think this is an accurate observation, and do you see any way that the arcade-game scene could be rejuvenated?
  • You were the bad guy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scottingham (2036128) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:14AM (#47246707)
    In the documentary, you were definitely made out to be the 'bad guy'. I'm sure reality was a bit more complicated than what the movie portrayed.

    Have you and the challenger kept in touch? Are things more amicable than they were back then?
  • Do You Regret... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:18AM (#47246737)

    Do you regret wasting your life on pointless video games?
    How many hours do you estimate you've put into DK and other games?

    I'm not even trolling. I really want to know.

  • How much time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turp182 (1020263) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:21AM (#47246765) Journal

    Can you estimate how many hours you have spent playing Donkey Kong? Is it still fun to play?

  • by Kagato (116051) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:40AM (#47246965)

    Most documentaries have a particular point of view and editing can really define how someone comes off. Most people would agree you did not come off particularly well in the documentary. Would you ever consider doing another documentary?

  • Donkey Kong Clones? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yorgo (595005) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:49AM (#47247033)

    What is your experience and opinion on the many Donkey Kong clones, like Congo Bongo, Crazy Kong, Konkey Kong, Monkey Kong, Donkey King, or even Popeye?

  • Re:A Lost Era (Score:5, Interesting)

    by psyclone (187154) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:55AM (#47247083)
    Even if there are arcade "museums" and other classic arcade venues to be found, do any of those have NEW games? There's a new 4-player pac man game (amidst many ticket-churning games) at a local arcade, which is fun, but it's an iteration on an old game.

    My Billy Mitchell question: Is there anything new out there in arcade games that play in a more or less classic style, but don't churn out tickets?
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:56AM (#47247089) Homepage

    How about answering the main charge directly: Why don't you play in public like all the other challengers?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:57AM (#47247097)

    The movie, "King of Kong" made it appear that your cozy relationship with the adjudicator introduced a bias and double standard that undermined the credibility of Walter Day's record keeping. Despite your unflattering portrayal in the movie Seth Gordon claims to have portrayed you as a more light-hearted character than you are in reality because if he showed the real you the movie would have been "darker". Has viewing the movie altered how you see yourself and your approach to life?

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:06PM (#47247179)
    I excelled at every video game I played at far above anyone else I've met. Every competition I've been in, I've done very well too. I ranked high in the Nintendo World Championships in what 89? I got #1 in ladder in Starcraft back in 99. I got first to 1500 wins in Warcraft3 and #1 in ladder in 1v1,2v2 and 3v3.

    So my question is: Have you ever wanted to design an ultimate skill based game?

    I'm also a programmer/designer. I got into game design in 87 when I played all the games that were out there and had ideas for my own. My main ideas as a kid was "Action/RPG", and MMORPGS. These were good ideas and as anyone can tell they're where we went as an industry. The problem is that MMORPGS have little reflex skill involved, and Action/RPG can be beat by just leveling your player up.

    So lately I've been wondering in how to make a video game similar to those 80s games in terms of relying on reflexes, yet still be fun for the modern player who likes to bathe in powerups(levels, skill trees and equipment). Do you have an idea you might want to share? We could work together to see it through. I'm just finishing a video game that is like Zelda and is going on Kongregate.com hopefully in the next few weeks. If you want to play the engine the game was built on, just be sure to login to save your progress. [shockwave.com]
  • Hot sauces? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:21PM (#47247317)
    Do you have a ghost pepper hot sauce? If not, do you know where I could get a good one?

    I've been eating so many nachos that it surprised me when I can barely even notice Habaneros give me any heat.

    The obvious step is to go up a notch, but I can't find any ghost pepper sauces at my local grocery store, and I'm hesitant to buy ghost peppers from out of the country on Ebay. Ebay is pretty bad when people screw up your order to begin with, but ingesting something you buy on Ebay steps it up to a new level of trust I don't think Ebay deserves.
  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:43PM (#47247497) Homepage Journal

    What's it like knowing that the only thing people will remember you for is that you're a dick?

    Do you want to remembered differently than your words and deeds in that documentary portrayed you, or, as in the words of Jack Sparrow, is it simply enough that "you have heard of me?"

  • In reverse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday June 16, 2014 @12:44PM (#47247505) Homepage Journal
    One might say that Donkey Kong is a Popeye clone. Nintendo was developing a video game adaptation of Popeye, which it retooled to use original characters when negotiation with King Features weren't going well. Had DK development gone according to plan, the Popeye we know would have been Popeye 2.

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