Donkey Kong High-Scorer Undergoes Legal Dispute

Billy Mitchell, who once held the Guinness World Record for Donkey Kong scores, is waging a legal battle to get them back after accusations of fraud.
donkey kong high score

Donkey Kong was quite the game back in the day and trying to obtain a high score was like trying to reach Mt. Everest. But now it looks those efforts are being called into question.

Billy Mitchell, an arcade gamer, had ruled the scores on Donkey Kong for many years. In 2018, Guinness World Records and the Twin Galaxies leaderboards disqualified his records.

The decision was argued based on postings in forums that Mitchell had used an emulator to record his scores and not a standard arcade system. When this was discovered, not only were his Donkey Kong scores erased but also his Pac-Man and Donkey Kong Jr. ones as well.

Donkey Kong King Strikes Back

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In response to this, Mitchell decided to file a defamation suit against Twin Galaxies. In his complaint, he says that the decision to erase his accomplishments were part of a conspiracy and was nothing but clickbait for the company.

In 2007, a documentary was filmed on his progress in the game and the footage from it was the start of the blowup that led to this debacle. A user in the forum saw some graphics from the video of Mitchell’s gameplay and realized they looked to be on a “MAME” emulation software,which speeds up the game more than the arcade version.


This posting gained 2.4 million views and had a vote of 198-13 in the public opinion of the evidence. This revelation was what led to Twin Galaxies erasing his scores and Guinness following in their footsteps.

Mitchell’s legal team claimed the records were viewed by hundreds. They also claim that no testimonies were taken from key eyewitness, such as a Nintendo senior engineer. An attorney for Twin Galaxies spoke to the website Gizmodo over the phone and argued that the scoring company was using their right to freedom of speech by making the forum public.

The attorney also mentions that if the ruling had been in Mitchell’s favor, it would have done a disservice to the gaming public. Billy Mitchell is also suing Guinness for erasing his score, so make sure you keep score (in a legal fashion) with The Illuminerdi for updates as well as more gaming news and features.


Jon Gatewood

Jon Gatewood

A proud member and writer for The Illuminerdi. If not writing here, then watching shows like Power Rangers, Law & Order, Real Time With Bill Maher, or I am traveling about this country.