Donkey Kong was released in 1981 and designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, a legend in his field who still works for Nintendo. It was never my game, but not for lack of trying. My parents used to drop me and my brother off at the arcade when we were little and arm us each with a roll of quarters. It seemed like hours before they returned, unless you lost your quarters quickly, which I would when I played Donkey Kong, because it was so freakin’ hard, then it seemed like an eternity, scored with music of the modern age–pinging and dinging and bleeping noises that were maddening if you weren’t jockeying the joy stick. I turned to Pac-Man, and later Ms. Pac-Man, to help lick my Kong wounds. (Which may explain why I once wrote a Pac-Man family history from the perspective of “Grandma Pac,” why I declared myself the President, Founder and Inventor of the Pac-Man Hall of Fame, and why I own a stand-up arcade version of Ms. Pac-Man today.)
Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell, stars of the doc “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,” which opens today, do not have my problem and are both world-class Donkey Kong players. My friend Josh first wrote about Billy Mitchell, who is also the only person to have played a perfect Pac-Man game, four years ago for the LA Weekly. Josh also worked on the film, which looks amazing.
Go see it this weekend!
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