Billy Mitchell, a video game enthusiast known for holding world-record scores in PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, and other classic gaming titles, has had the entirety of his scores on the Twin Galaxies leaderboards revoked after a lengthy investigation by the website.
A prolific player of classic titles, Billy Mitchell had been setting records on the Twin Galaxies leaderboards for decades. He began his career in score-busting in the early 1980s, engaging in back-and-forth battles with other locals at the now-defunct physical Twin Galaxies arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa. Successive years had seen this pattern of beating scores and being surpassed continue, ultimately resulting in being featured in the Guinness Book of World Records numerous times such as for the first perfect score on PAC-MAN.
Unfortunately, a keen-eyed member of the Twin Galaxies leaderboards community named Jeremey “Xelnia” Young had noticed some quirks with some of Billy Mitchell’s playthroughs. Specifically, the “board transition images” that were observed in the high-score runs were said to be impossible on unmodified, original hardware (which is a requirement for score certification in this particular case). This suggested that an emulator may have been used which would have invalidated the scores.
Footage from The King of Kong documentary which featured Mr. Mitchell was among the evidence used to revoke his scores.
Rather than attempt to prove which emulator was used, Twin Galaxies decided to simply discover for certain that the board transition images were not possible with unmodified hardware. Their investigation (as well as that of two other independent third parties) proved this to be the case, and as a result, all of Billy Mitchell’s scores on Twin Galaxies have been revoked. The leaderboard organization has reached out to the Guinness Book of World Records to notify them of their decision.
Billy Mitchell had been afforded the opportunity to dispute the investigation and supply additional evidence to support his original scores as being authentic but he ultimately declined to do so. As a result of the decision by Twin Galaxies, the first official record holder for a million-point game of Donkey Kong falls to Steve Wiebe. You can read the entirety of their findings by heading over to their website to see the full-length report.
This is not the first time a record-holder on the leaderboard had been overturned following a later investigation; Todd Rogers’ Dragster record of 5.51 seconds had been revoked following the discovery that such a time was simply not possible with the game’s code, resulting in the subsequent permanent ban of Mr. Rodgers from participating in the leaderboards.
What do you think of Billy Mitchell’s records being removed from Twin Galaxies? Do you think the leaderboard organization did their due diligence? Do you think they took too long to act? Let us know in the comments below!