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'King of Kong' star Billy Mitchell lawyers up, prepares to fight cheating accusations in court

To say King of Kong star Billy Mitchell's reputation has gone down the tubes would be an understatement. Pretty much everyone considers the former Donkey Kong record holder a cheater these days; heck, we even have an entire feature called The Untold Truth of Gaming's Biggest Cheater that focuses on, you guessed it, Billy Mitchell.

Mr. Mitchell, however, has apparently decided he is no longer going to take this lying down. Two days ago, he tweeted, "Big moves today. More information to follow soon." And today, we finally learned what that news was.

It appears Mitchell now has lawyers, and he's demanding both Twin Galaxies (the governing body of arcade high scores) and Guinness World Records retract their previous statements about him. Not only that, it seems he's also put together a rather large document — an Evidence Package — that is both hideously and hilariously designed, yet also compelling in terms of Mitchell trying to prove his innocence.

Before we get to that, though, let's take a closer look at what Mitchell was accused of in the first place.

Billy Mitchell — who is now in his fifties — has been playing arcade games since he was a teenager. He's very good at them. So good, in fact, that he played in a competition when he was 17 and managed to set a Donkey Kong record that lasted for 25 years.

Enter the documentary King of Kong. That film follows a fellow arcade game player named Steve Wiebe as he attempts to top Billy Mitchell as the highest-scoring Donkey Kong player. Wiebe eventually lands himself a legitimate, recognized high score toward the end of the documentary: 1,047,200 points. But Mitchell once again passes that score later on, and here is where things get interesting.

A message board moderator named Jeremy Young closely studied a score tape submitted by Billy Mitchell, which showed Mitchell achieving a Donkey Kong score of 1,062,800. And on that tape, Young saw what appeared to be the telltale signs of emulation; that is, Young believed Mitchell had not earned his score on a genuine Donkey Kong arcade cabinet, but instead had used an emulated version of the game. Twin Galaxies investigated Young's claims and ultimately agreed with him, which meant the organization now viewed Billy Mitchell as a cheater. And because Mitchell had supposedly cheated once, it put all of his records into question.

Twin Galaxies stripped Mitchell of all his records and banned him from future competition. And that caused Guinness World Records — which relies on Twin Galaxies data — to also cut ties with Mitchell.

That should provide you with enough backstory to understand what Mitchell is threatening legal action over and why.

As far as the "Evidence Package" is concerned, if you can look past the image of Mitchell being flanked by around nine or so women, there is an entire section devoted to his controversial 1,062,800 score. That section includes testimony from six individuals who claim to have either handled the Donkey Kong machine themselves or witnessed Mitchell's performance on it, and swear both to be legitimate. And that makes this whole thing really interesting. Suppose Mitchell and these people are telling the truth; would Twin Galaxies have to walk back its decision to strip Mitchell of his legacy? Could Mitchell potentially sue for damages of some kind? That's likely what he's hoping to discover by taking legal action, if the matter makes it that far.

Twin Galaxies and Guinness World Records, according to the letter from Mitchell's lawyers, have 14 days to read the letter, review Mitchell's evidence, and issue a retraction before Mitchell and his team "resort to legal recourse." That's just two weeks until we get some kind of word on where Mitchell's Donkey Kong history stands, so get the popcorn ready.

We have to be honest: we thought this issue had been put to bed back when Twin Galaxies disqualified all of Billy Mitchell's records in April 2018. Now that Mitchell is back on the scene, though, we're eager to see how the situation plays out. Will Twin Galaxies and Guinness retract their claims and essentially give Mitchell his records back? Will we see litigation over Donkey Kong arcade scores? We may find out in just two weeks' time.