Billy Mitchell long held the high-score record for the arcade classic Donkey Kong, but his reputation suffered after his best times were shown to have been made using emulators rather than arcade hardware. Now he's threatening to sue one of the top scorekeeping websites, which struck his scores from the record, and the publishers of The Guinness Book of Records, which cites it as a source.
Owen S. Good:
This week, lawyers for Mitchell sent a letter to Twin Galaxies and Guinness World Records demanding that both "retract their claims against Billy Mitchell" and restore the scores to their world record leaderboards, where Mitchell had been a fixture since the early 1980s. Attorneys made the same demand of Guinness World Records, which uses Twin Galaxies as its source for the video game high score records it recognizes.
At issue is the April 12, 2018 finding by Twin Galaxies, after a three-month investigation and deliberative process, that the gameplay in two million-point scores Mitchell claimed for Donkey Kong were not produced by original, unmodified arcade hardware. The implication in that finding is that Mitchell used an emulator running the game to produce the scores, and emulators allow different control schemes, display setups, and even the means to cheat or manipulate a score or performance.
Here's the letter. An excerpt:
its investigation did not provide Billy Mitchell fair opportunity to
provide evidence to prove his innocence. Throughout the investigation, Twin Galaxies had a
double standard. Specific evidence against Mitchell was accepted, while evidence of equal
stature was rejected. Further, Twin Galaxies selected a biased third party investigator with close ties to Donkey Kong Forum, another group defaming Billy Mitchell. This investigator was
openly inflammatory throughout the investigation, and expressed his support of score removal on
the very first day of the dispute; there was nothing unbiased about him. This, along with other
examples, displays a substantial level of constitutional malice.
This letter demands that both Twin Galaxies and Guinness World Records retract their
claims against Billy Mitchell, and immediately restore his achievements and good name.
Attached to this letter via link is the full evidence package, which proves that the claims of Twin
Galaxies and Guinness World Records are false.4 This evidence includes witness affidavits,
historical documentation, scientific evidence, gameplay analysis, expert witnesses, and Walter
Day's letter with sworn affidavit. Due to the overwhelming evidence, neither Twin Galaxies nor
Guinness World Records can possibly
Constitutional Malice is my new chip-punk band name.