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Billy Mitchell Dethroned As Donkey Kong King...for Now

C. Stiles
Mitchell and his wife at home in 2007.
The video game champion framed as the dark-headed villain in the epic battle for Donkey Kong supremacy has been dethroned again. At least temporarily.

Billy Mitchell, the veteran videogamer and owner of Rickey's Restaurants in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines (and a brand of hot sauce of the same name) featured in the 2007 documentary King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters, just retook the title a few weeks ago at Boomer's in Dania Beach.

But after he'd bested the previous high score by only 1,100 points, with several lives left, Mitchell -- ever the showman -- abruptly stopped, letting his last few men die off. His new high score: a whopping 1,062,800 points.

This week, Twin Galaxies, the international authority on video game records, announced that Steve Wiebe, the saintly schoolteacher portrayed as the hero in the film, topped Mitchell's most recently recorded high score by only 1,700 points. (It's not clear if Wiebe had any lives left at the time.)

Wiebe recorded his record-setting game on August 30 and sent it in for verification.

We spoke about the record with Mitchell just two weeks ago, before Wiebe's new record was announced. Mitchell, who spends most of his time at his restaurants and coaching his son's youth football team, set the records for both Donkey Kong and Donkey Jr. that weekend. He had official referees on-site for the both scores. He said he made the attempt because his son asked him to.

On setting the record so low, Mitchell was coy: "Some people won't mention how fast it was and how many lives I had left when I stopped," he said. "Others will say I'm being cocky or that I'm always the bad guy. I say I'm just doing my thing. I can't be anybody but Bill Mitchell."

If you think this battle is over, think again. This is video of Mitchell immediately after setting the record in July.

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Michael J. Mooney

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