The Story of Billy Mitchell
A Story of Why You Shouldn't Deceive
The King of Kong: Billy Mitchell! He’s a great video game player and even has some world records. Unfortunately over the past few years, he’s also built up a reputation as a cheater!
He's certainly had an interesting "career" in video games. The Massachusetts native who grew up in Florida started out in the arcades playing pinball at a young age. In the early 1980s, video games were increasingly popular.
An arcade known as Twin Galaxies also had what has become what people consider an "official" registry of top scores of popular arcade titles. The arcade no longer exists, but Twin Galaxies still keeps top scores. Early on, Billy Mitchell achieved top scores in Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong Jr, and Burger Time. And he was the fifth person ever to score over 10 million points in Centipede.
Life Magazine even did a story about Billy Mitchell. Billy Mitchell had set a Donkey Kong world record score of 874,300 in 1982, a record which stood for over 18 years. He was the Twin Galaxies Player of the Year in 1984.
So why is he considered a cheater now? Antonio Guerra and I (Joey Cagle) discuss this in our most recent podcast episode.
Billy Mitchell had come back some years later when Steve Wiebe had attempted to beat Mitchell's Donkey Kong record. An entire movie was even made about it, known as King of Kong. Interestingly, the film portrayed Mitchell as a villain. But this is before he even had his reputation of a cheater.
In 2017, a newer high score that Billy Mitchell had set was now in question. It appeared that he had used a Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr cabinet that was not the official cabinet for Twin Galaxies. And then in 2018, evidence suggested that some of Mitchell's newer high scores were achieved using an emulator. Twin Galaxies requires the games be played on the original hardware in order to have an official high score.
Twin Galaxies eventually determined Billy Mitchell was, in fact, using an emulator and therefore cheating. As a result, Twin Galaxies disqualified all of Mitchell's scores and prohibited him from submitting scores in the future. His records were also removed from the Guiness World Book of Records.
In 2020, Mitchell's records were reinstated into the Guiness World Book of Records, but Twin Galaxies will still no longer accept his submissions. He even live streamed achieving the scores on original hardware. But because of his past deception, it just doens't matter. Twin Galaxies won't recognize him.
The moral of this story is be honest. Don't deceive people. I don't understand why Billy Mitchell felt the need to use an emulator. He didn't need to. He's a very good video game player, and I recognize him for his skills. Yes, he should have those high scores recognized since he has done it on official hardware now, but his deception has consequences, and now he has to live with not being officially recognized by Twin Galaxies for what appears to be the rest of his life.
When you deceive, once you're caught, your actions will have consequences. So don't put yourself in a position where you're deceiving others. Be honest, and don't cheat to pursue your goal. You'll be far more respected in the long run.