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Billy Mitchell
Famous Scores
Pac-Man 3,333,360
Donkey Kong 1,050,200
Burgertime 7,881,050
Billy L. Mitchell, born July 16, 1965, in Holyoke, Massachusettsmarker, is a video game player, best known for recording high scores in classics from the Golden Age of Arcade Games. He has been described as the "greatest arcade-video-game player of all time". His achievements include the first perfect score in Pac-Man. He owns the "Rickey's World Famous Restaurant" chain, based in Hollywood, Floridamarker. He uses the same brand to sell a line of hot sauces, "Rickey's World Famous Sauces".

Biography

Mitchell grew up in South Floridamarker and began playing games at age sixteen. Already a dominant pinball player, he was at first uninterested in video games appearing in the early 80s until he noticed that "everyone was standing around the Donkey Kong machine and wanted attention".

Mitchell attended the Chaminade Catholic High Schoolmarker in 1983 and soon began work as a manager in the kitchen of his parents' restaurant, "Rickey's World Famous Restaurant". Mitchell assumed ownership of the Rickey's chain in the mid-1980s, continuing to own and manage it as of 2009. In the mid 90s, Mitchell had a short stint as a video game tester at Crystal Dynamics, in Menlo Park, California.

Mitchell is known for his mullet haircut and wearing neckties betokening American patriotism during game competitions. The ties stem from his 1999 race to become the first person to achieve a perfect game of Pac-Man. One of his competitors, Rick Fothergill, wore a Canadian flag cape and called himself "Captain Canada". Mitchell began wearing his patriotic ties in response.

Mitchell currently lives in Hollywood, Florida with his wife Evelyn and their two children. Evelyn has another daughter who is currently attending Florida State Universitymarker.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters documentary

The 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters tells the story of newcomer Steve Wiebe's attempt to surpass Billy Mitchell's high score at the game Donkey Kong, which Mitchell had set in 1982.

Mitchell is never shown playing the game in the film, though he states the importance of playing in public, saying, "To me, most important is to travel to a sanctioned location, like Funspotmarker that makes it official; if tomorrow Tiger Woods golfs a 59, big deal. If he does it at Augustamarker, that's where it counts." However, throughout the film Wiebe traveled to various locations such as Funspot and even Mitchell's home town to play him publicly, and each time Mitchell refused. More controversy arose when at Funspot, Wiebe set the Donkey Kong live score record and was given official recognition, something he did not receive for sending in a tape in which he scored the first million point game on record. Shortly thereafter, a tape submitted by Mitchell in which he scored over a million points was accepted, and Wiebe lost his record. In Mitchell's hometown later on, Wiebe waited for four days to play Mitchell, who showed up one day and refused to play against Wiebe. In the film, Wiebe says hello to Mitchell as Wiebe's playing, Mitchell doesn't respond. As he's walking away from Wiebe, Mitchell says, "There's certain people I don't want to spend too much time with." Mitchell offered no explanation for what could only be objectively seen as boorish behavior towards Wiebe but did later explain that at the time of filming, he had not played video games for "more than a year", and that the filmmakers had not given him enough advance warning to train for a public record-breaking attempt. Despite all of this, Wiebe had proven himself and Twin Galaxies made an official apology for his mistreatment, and also told him that in future any tapes submitted by him would be welcome.

At the film's conclusion, Wiebe beats Mitchell's score to gain a new Donkey Kong record on tape to claim both the live and taped records.

On July 26, 2007, in celebration of the film's release and the 25th anniversary of Mitchell's first record-setting performance, Mitchell again played in public and retook the Donkey Kong record with a score of 1,050,200.

Notable scores



Honors

On January 14, 1984, he was selected as one of the 1983 "Video Game Players of the Year" by Twin Galaxies and the U.S. National Video Game Team.

On September 17, 1999, he was proclaimed the "Video Game Player of the Century" while at the 1999 Tokyo Game Show. In a ceremony on the Namco stage, company founder Masaya Nakamura presented Mitchell with an award commemorating the first "perfect" game on Pac-Man.

On November 24, 1999, he offered US$100,000 to the first person who could get through Pac-Man's "split-screen level".

On June 21, 2006, MTV selected Mitchell one of "The 10 Most Influential Video Gamers Of All Time."

Mitchell placed eighth in the Microsoft Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championships on June 4, 2007.

In 2008 Mitchell became the first video game player to be honored with a Topps Allen & Ginter trading card.

References

  1. Billy Mitchell high scores, care of Twin Galaxies
  2. village voice > film > Tracking Shots: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters by Robert Wilonsky
  3. Oxford American (no date): "The Perfect Man: How Billy Mitchell became a video-game superstar and achieved Pac-Man bliss", by David Ramsey
  4. Billy Mitchell interview - Onion AV Club
  5. http://www.thetanooki.com/2008/01/29/billy-mitchell-the-man-behind-the-mullet/
  6. "Killing Bill: King of Kong's Nemesis Talks Back"
  7. "Man Shatters Donkey Kong World Record Exactly 25 Years After First Setting It in 1982"
  8. "Man Shatters Donkey Kong World Record Exactly 25 Years After First Setting It in 1982"
  9. "Twin Galaxies' Coronation Day Crowns Video's Best of '83"
  10. Billy Mitchell Offers $100,000 for solving Pac-Man "Split-Screen"
  11. selects Billy Mitchell one of "The 10 Most Influential Video Gamers Of All Time"
  12. Joystiq.com (June 7, 2007): "Chasing pellets: Pac-Man tries to make history again". by James Ransom-Wiley
  13. (July, 2008): "Chris Olds' Sportstuff". by Chris Olds


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