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The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Billy Mitchell Saga 3: Judgment Day

After years of legal conflict, an old rival returns to put the final nail in the coffin for the former Pac-Man and Donkey Kong world record holder.
composited images / CC BY 2.0

It’s July 4th, 2004. Steve Wiebe has just become the first known human to score over 1,000,000 points on the classic arcade game, Donkey Kong. However, Wiebe’s score was rejected over a discrepancy behind the specific machine he used to achieve the feat. Eleven months later, on the same day that he had achieved a world record live at Funspot, his rival, and long-time Donkey Kong champion, submitted a score of 1,047,200. That man’s name was Billy Mitchell.

The anecdote above describes the unfortunate story of Steve Wiebe, which was documented in a 2007 film titled, The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters. Despite proving himself to be a top-level Donkey Kong competitor time and again, Wiebe was always pushed away into the shadows by the much more marketable Mitchell. But ever since allegations against the validity of Mitchell’s high scores arose, Wiebe’s story only became more tragic–he had been sidelined for the sake of promoting fraudulent achievements.

But now, over 18 years later, Wiebe has returned in the battle against Mitchell.

Before analyzing Wiebe’s return to the Donkey Kong scene, the events leading up to such a return must be analyzed. Ever since 2019, the legal battle between Billy Mitchell and the new leadership of Twin Galaxies–the scorekeeping organization who originally recognized Mitchell’s alleged accomplishments–has raged on. But in recent years, the evidence against him has been slowly accumulating. Ever since Mitchell lost a major lawsuit to one of his former allies, David Race, it only seems like his saga will inevitably end in his defeat.

On July 23, 2023, the first major unloading of evidence came from an update from ersatz_cats, who had been actively challenging Mitchell’s claims even before the disputes surrounding Mitchell’s scores became a legal issue. The update unpacks a lot of the new information that had been revealed at that point, the most prevalent of which was concerning Mitchell’s claim of being awarded the “Video Game Player of the Century Award” at the Tokyo Game Show in 1999.

“[T]his little plaque was always presented as though it were Billy’s much-ballyhooed ‘Player of the Century’ award, which in reality was merely a printed certificate he received from his friend and business partner Walter Day the month prior to his Japan trip,” ersatz_cats reported.

However, ersatz_cats revealed images of Mitchell being in possession of two plaques of the award. 

“If I may connect the dots, the reason there are now two plaques is because Billy has testified that the plaque is his ‘Player of the Century’ award from Namco. And yet, we’ve seen the known plaque and the text on it, and we know that is not the case. Thus, in order to continue maintaining the lie, Billy has had to produce two nearly identical plaques, one of which has the same text as the original, and one which has added text, which in this photo we cannot read,” ersatz_cats reported.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, ersatz_cats was able to very easily prove the plaques to be fraudulent.

Even with this low resolution photograph, it’s easy to spot that these new plaques are total forgeries. The Pac-Man logo, while similar to the one used on the original, is not identical. Things to look for are how thick his eye-wink is, how much space there is between his chin and his mouth, and a new little divot in his thumb,” ersatz_cats explained.

Another major thorn in Mitchell’s side has been YouTuber Karl Jobst, who has been an avid opponent of Mitchell ever since the battle began. Jobst has been making videos to publicize the evidence against Mitchell ever since 2020, but three months after Mitchell’s loss against Race, Jobst increased the amount of videos tenfold.

In the first of his recent string of videos, Jobst exposes Mitchell about the discrepancies in his story about one of his high scores, commonly referred to as the Mortgage Brokers score as the game was played at the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers (FAMB) Convention (which was the same score where Mitchell was supposedly caught using a modified joystick).

During his deposition on January 9, 2023, Mitchell claimed that a local Gamestop manager had not only put the PC board into the arcade machine for his world record but also set up the recording equipment.

“It was a guy who Walter [Day] contacted. He was a manager of Gamestop. He came over, [and] received the board that had been sent there. He put it inside the machine, and that camcorder was used by a lady, Shiela, to videotape him putting it in,” Mitchell claimed.

However, later on in the video, Jobst revealed that the manager Mitchell referred to had said otherwise in his own deposition. The lawyer for Twin Galaxies put the questions in no uncertain terms, and the manager’s response was clear cut.

“Did you set up any A/V equipment in connection with your installation of the PCB at the Mortgage Brokers Convention?” Twin Galaxies’s lawyer asked.

“Not at all,” the manager responded.

This was only the beginning of a series of falsehoods that were about to be exposed by Jobst. His following videos would discuss the forged plaques previously discussed by ersatz_cats, how Mitchell was baited into lying about the modified joystick he was exposed for using at the FAMB Convention, and how Mitchell publicly spread misinformation, accusing Jobst of exploiting the situation for profits. 

Additionally, Mitchell is starting to lose even more supporters, the most prominent of whom is vanburen20, who was previously an avid defender of Mitchell and opponent of Jobst. However, on August 29, 2023, vanburen20 announced his reasons for changing perspectives.

“I have caught Billy lying to me in the past month a few times…Billy Mitchell claims he doesn’t watch anything he’s in. But then he’ll call me and start talking about Karl’s videos or a video that I’ll make in response to his…it’s such a weird thing to lie about; it’s so petty; it’s so strange…the more and more I started taking an inventory on everything he has told me over the past four years, things are really looking not good.” vanburen20 explained.

All of these developments came to a head when the biggest of all said developments emerged. Wiebe returned to provide crucial evidence against Mitchell. As usual, Jobst was the one to report this to the mainstream.

“Throughout the entire lawsuit, Billy Mitchell has tried to pedal this insane conspiracy theory that the tapes that show his cheated gameplay were somehow edited to frame him and weren’t the original tapes,” Jobst stated, “Billy claims that you can’t use the tape as evidence because we don’t know where they came from.”

However, in August of 2023, Wiebe came forward with a tape of Mitchell’s gameplay that came long before any tampering ever could have occurred.

“I was given [a copy of Mitchell’s gameplay]. It was later on after Funspot, before the documentary [The King of Kong] came out,” Wiebe stated, “[I] had it stored in this box with all my other Donkey Kong tapes. I just put it in there and forgot all about it…I was looking through it when I was asked if I had any tapes from his play, I was like ‘I don’t believe so,’ but I went through and looked at all my old tapes and I happened to see it in there…[It was sitting] in a box in my closet for fifteen years.”

After examining Wiebe’s tape, it was determined that it was the exact same as all the other tapes–of that particular score performance–that had been investigated, meaning it would still have been considered a cheated performance. If what Wiebe claims is true, Mitchell’s chances of winning his lawsuit, even considering how slim they are now, would be drastically reduced.

The claims and evidence against Mitchell are only continuing to stack up, with Jobst’s most recent video making the most damning claims yet. However, Mitchell still isn’t showing any signs of backing down, and all of his opponents–Jobst, ersatz_cats, Twin Galaxies, Wiebe, and many others–are out for blood.

The date for the trial is set for January 26, 2o24. Five years have passed since the initial suspicions were raised, and four years have passed since this legal war began. Now, it appears that this saga is finally approaching its final notes; Billy Mitchell’s judgment day has arrived. 

(Note: This article was updated on October 31st, 2023, due to a delay in the trial date after the date of publication.)

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About the Contributor
Sunny Li, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sunny is a Senior at NASH who is writing for the Uproar for the second and final year. As one of three Editors-in-Chief, Sunny hopes to inspire the rest of the Uproar's staff to go outside the box with wacky, yet well-constructed works. Outside of writing for the Uproar, Sunny enjoys aiding, guiding, and competing for the Speech and Debate team as one of two event leaders for Interpretation.

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  • R

    RheaOct 30, 2023 at 8:08 pm

    What happened in court on Friday and Monday?