Tuesday, August 28, 2007

25m - How High Can You Get?

Donkey KongI had the good fortune last night of catching the movie "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". Not to be confused with that OTHER monkey movie that everybody adores, The King of Kong is a documentary detailing one man's quest to become the world champion of Donkey Kong. I know that from the tidbit of plot information I just provided, you must rightly assume that this is a niche movie for geeks and gamers. However, you could not be further from the truth.

King of Kong tells the story of Steve Wiebe, an all-American chap who just never seems to get a break in life. Facing somewhat of a life crisis, he finds himself looking for something to fulfill his life, to give it purpose. He ends up perusing the score registry at Twin Galaxies and decides that he is going to try and beat the Donkey Kong world record.

The lurid underbelly of competitive gaming is shown to the viewer in exquisite detail. Everybody knows everybody and Steve is very much the outsider. Not only this, but the man whose score he has to displace is Billy Mitchell, a renowned gamer who holds high scores in several games.

The drama that unfolds is truly a David and Goliath scenario. Steve, humble and seemingly decent is pitted against Billy, who comes off as an arrogant prick. Will Steve fulfill his dream and become the Donkey Kong world champion? Will the forces of nature yet again conspire against him? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

The film is currently only in limited release, but I highly recommend it to any and all. Incidentally, interest in classic video games, while a plus, is certainly not a necessity for enjoyment of this movie.

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