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King of Kong

by Seth Brau in Culture on 17 August 2007

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Though the complexity, graphic quality, and gameplay realism of video games have improved exponentially in the 30-or-so years since the genre became a staple of our culture, good old Donkey Kong is still considered the toughest game around. Reaching the "kill screen," the moment at which a programming malfunction kicks in and the game ends, is among the most coveted achievements in competitive video games, and has only been reached by three or four players since Donkey Kong was released in 1981.

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"King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" chronicles the rivalry of Billy Mitchell (pictured right), a hot sauce mogul rocking perhaps the greatest mullet ever captured on film, and softspoken and obsessive middle-school science teacher Steve Wiebe as they compete for the Donkey Kong World Record. Combining the brash psychological warfare of "Pumping Iron" with the unabashed dorkiness of "Spellbound," "King of Kong" presents the nerds and weirdos of the competitive arcade gaming community in all their obsessive splendor.

"King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" opens today, 17 August, in New York (IFC and AMC Empire Times Square), L.A., Seattle, and Austin. It opens the following week in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC 24 August, with additional openings in other cities in the following weeks. See the trailer here

By Joshua Brau

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