Guinness World Records recently announced that, as of June 10, its records management team has unanimously decided to reinstate Billy Mitchell’s previously removed high scores and achievements for Donkey Kong and Pac-Man.
“In this case, a re-examination of the records in question and the emergence of key eyewitness and expert testimonials led to a reversal of earlier disqualifications and the reinstating of Mr. Mitchell’s original records,” Guinness’ statement reads. “The records archive has been updated accordingly to reflect this.”
Mitchell’s entire history of video game records were previously removed from the Guinness archives in April 2018 after concerns were raised about their legitimacy by Twin Galaxies, the organisation from which Guinness sources its gaming achievements. Twin Galaxies ruled earlier that month that the breadth of Mitchell’s high scores were illegitimate and banned him from submitting new records after evidence surfaced that Mitchell might have used the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) to achieve several Donkey Kong and Pac-Man scores rather than an actual arcade cabinet, as he had previously claimed.
The reinstated Donkey Kong achievements include Mitchell’s original 874,300-point game from 1982, a 1,062,800-point game from 2010, and Mitchell’s status as the first person to reach the kill screen and score 1 million points in the classic arcade game.
“I wanted to clear my name and resume my role as one of the key personalities and promoters of competitive eSports,” said Mitchell, in a quote appearing on Nintendo Life. “It took more than two years and an abundance of indisputable facts, eyewitnesses, and expert testimony to prove all of my records were legitimate.”
Mitchell has long been a divisive figure in the gaming community, which was only compounded by his turn as the antagonist of in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. That film portrayed Mitchell as the cocky, hot-sauce magnate rival to everyman protagonist Steve Wiebe as they battled for the high score in Donkey Kong. Mitchell and several people who know him criticised his portrayal in the documentary, accusing the filmmakers of editing the footage to make him look worse.
This news comes just two weeks after Wiebe announced his return to competitive Donkey Kong play. Maybe it’s something in the hot sauce, but the Donkey Kong high-score scene shows no signs of slowing down.