I’m in competition with myself and I’m losing. – Roger Waters


picturehouse dendy cinemas

what do you get when you combine the 1980s, video arcades, the guinness book of world records, human drama, sabotage, corruption, power, cheating, trash-talking, genius, ego, and insanity?

why, you get ‘the king of kong: a fistful of quarters’ of course. one of my all-time favorite documentaries. this eccentric film, released in 2007, features ‘self-proclaimed legend’ in the world of video arcade games, billy mitchell, florida hot sauce magnate and the holder of the ‘donkey kong champion of the world high scoring’ record for 25 years, and the first perfect game scorer in the history of pac-man, as he is challenged by quiet and brilliant unemployed aerospace engineer/now science teacher from washington,  steve wiebe, who has never won a thing in his life.

in this film, their long distance rivalry and ultimate challenge is played out right before our eyes and under the careful watch of walter day, creator of twin galaxies, and online gaming website gatekeeper. what follows is a classic tale of good vs. evil, davy and goliath, sheer will and karma, and the suspense never stops right up until the very last second.

watching this, i spent 79 fascinating minutes glued to the screen, laughing, crying, cheering and yelling, right along with it. and most of all,  i love that it was categorized under ‘sports’ in the documentary world.

film quotes:

Walter Day: This rivalry is among the greatest: the Yankees and Red Sox… Hekyll and Jekyll.

“I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, “Hi, I see that you’re good at Centipede.”

Jillian Wiebe (Steve’s wife) : Work is for people who can’t play video games.

image credit: picturehouse/dendy cinema

27 responses »

  1. This is such a great documentary. I like when the Burger Time player chooses sides in the player battle. Not mockworthy, because I am kind of jealous I can’t do this, just fascinating.


  2. It seems to me we can never lose when we compete with ourselves. But not winning is different from losing. After all… I’m a pretty amazing guy (being Chris Brown, and all) so how do you beat that? But we all are. As soon as you beat yourself… YOU WIN!!! As soon as you lose to yourself, yourself WINS!! This is earth shattering!

    I must check out that movie. It sound awesome.


  3. This was a great review for a movie I would not have chosen but now must find soon! My youngest daughter and I liked a different kind of love story, cried like babies watching, “Labor Day.” Not for kids but a great one, we were so happy that it all works out, but it takes its good old time telling the story… I liked the suspense of it all! Smiles, Robin


    • oh, i think you’d love it robin. you’ll be rooting for the underdog and justice to be served, i’m sure of that. thanks for the labor day recommendation, i’ll request it from the library )


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