Of all the video game documentaries out there, this one has probably become the most famous. It creates an underdog story of Steve Wiebe– the man who wants to prove he holds the record for the highest Donkey Kong score ever, versus Billy Mitchell – the reigning champion of Pac-Man and a contender for the very same score.
Mitchell is part of the video game establishment – one of the elites, one of the crowd. He’s been a part of that world where video game champions reign for a very long time. Wiebe on the other hand is an outsider, driven by a singular passion for Donkey Kong.
Where as in another doc – Chasing Ghosts, we saw some of the intrigue and in-fighting that happens within the world of video game champions, it’s brought into sharp focus here. Steve Wiebe is in some ways, ostracized in the community, there is a genuine desire it seems for Mitchell to clinch the championship – a desire that is juxtaposed against the skepticism of Weibe’s own skill. It’s hard to say how much of this rivalry was true and how much was the result of judicious editing – the point of a documentary is to craft a story using interviews and documented footage. In many interviews it seems to me that the rivalry is been overstated, but there is definitely a sort of exclusionary feel from what we see with Weibe. We also see how certain game champions are frowned upon and look at with suspicion All in all the filmmakers have managed to create a riveting story here and one that will absolutely take you beyond just nostalgia. It’s a film that actually makesyou fall in love with video games all over again.