Thursday, June 12, 2008
The King of Kong: Steve Wiebe
Steve Wiebe was the star of last year’s hit documentary film “The King of Kong.” In the movie Wiebe challenges the long standing Donkey Kong high score record held by Billy Mitchell. He finds himself up against Billy’s friends, Twin Galaxies (who maintains and regulates arcade game high scores), and some dubious videoed high scores from his competition, but throughout the movie he perseveres and fights on. His humble and humorous attitude really comes through in the film. And the somewhat epic battle that pits Billy against Steve makes the movie enjoyable to almost anyone, you don't have to be a classic game geek like me to enjoy it. It was a big hit at the Seattle International Film Festival, then played theaters, and is now available to buy or rent on DVD.
Being a classic arcade game collector, someone that has their own Donkey Kong game in their basement, Wiebe is a bit of a hero to me. So I was more than stoked when we were able to get him to come talk at the Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show last weekend at the Seattle Center (I helped with the planning, hence the plugs for it on the blog). Wiebe was even more funny and humble in person. He seemed unable to talk shit about Billy "Hot Sauce and Mullet" Mitchell or Twin Galaxies, even though they fucked him over a bunch in the move and the crowd was on his side and practically begged him to during the Q&A session. He regaled us with the back story of his fight for the high score, his history playing Donkey Kong (it's been an obsession for him since high school), things that we didn’t see in the movie, and what’s happened since the movie was released. Wiebe even played Donkey Kong on a projection screen and showed the crowd tips and hints. Great and gracious guy, he hung out afterwards to sign autographs (he signed the marquee to my DK machine), pose for photos, and do an interview with The Stranger. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you've got to check it out. Hollywood has bought the rights and will do a fictional version... I only hope it won't be horrible.