King of Kong Billy Mitchell has once again been accused of cheating. Allegedly, new evidence further suggests that he did not use original hardware to perform some of his record-breaking Donkey Kong runs.
According to speedrunning YouTuber Karl Jobst, newly found photographs show that Mitchell used a eight-way joystick, rather than the original machine’s four-way, on at least one of the disputed records. An eight-way joystick would enable players to perform feats impossible for players using original hardware. If Mitchell did use this machine, he would have had an advantage against other potential record holders.
In 2018, arcade high scores website Twin Galaxies and the Guinness Book of World Records removed three of Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong scores after the record holder was accused of cheating. Allegedly, the tape recordings of the three scores prove that Mitchell was using an emulator, rather than an original arcade machine. Twin Galaxies do record and rank high scores from emulator play, albeit in a separate category.
Mitchell claimed that the tapes were faked and appealed to witnesses present when he achieved the records. In 2020, Guinness reinstated both of Mitchell’s records, though Twin Galaxies disagreed with the ruling. The State of California’s second court gave Mitchell permission to sue Twin Galaxies for defamation in 2021. The lawsuit is ongoing.
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