Guinness reinstates Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong and Pac-Man records

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,388   +121
Staff member

In February 2018, Mitchell’s various achievements in arcade classic Donkey Kong were called into question over allegations that he used an emulator called MAME to obtain them rather than original arcade hardware. Following a two-month investigation, retro gaming records keeper Twin Galaxies concluded that Mitchell’s scores had not been achieved on arcade hardware and thus, removed his scores from their database.

Shortly after, Guinness World Records, which uses Twin Galaxies as its advisor on video game world records, also disqualified Mitchell’s records in Donkey Kong and Pac-Man.

After going back over things and looking at new material, Guinness concluded that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support disqualification across the board.

“In cases such as this where there is debate, we would typically defer to the original contemporaneous adjudication and this is the case here,” Glenday said.

Guinness World Records has since reinstated Mitchell’s scores. His achievements include being the first to obtain a perfect score of 3,333,360 points in Pac-Man, being the first to reach the kill screen on Donkey Kong and being the first to score a million points in Donkey Kong.

In an interview with Ars Technica, Mitchell said he had known about the results of Guinness’ investigation since December but was only able to come forward about it now due to a legal agreement. He couldn’t comment further on the matter due to signing a confidentiality agreement.

Mitchell still has a lawsuit out against Twin Galaxies which is scheduled to head to trial on July 6, 2020. When reached for comment by Ars, current Twin Galaxies CEO Jace Hall responded with the following meme and said it could serve as his quote on the matter.

Masthead credit: Creative commons

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kimo1

Posts: 67   +98
Guess he had very good lawyers. I wonder which part of all of the quite convincing evidence that stripped him did not suffice?
 
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It's the American way.
Not being an American homer, but I have also lived in Ukraine, and there it's super difficult for anyone to get ahead unless they cheat (only cheaters win). Yeah we clearly have our problems, but I'd still rather live here
 

ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
It would be very interesting if Twin Galaxies got their hat handed to them and that is likely to happen. Guinness are not fools, if they restored his records it had to have been based on creditable merit. Mr. Mitchell seems to have been truthful about things.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
It would be very interesting if Twin Galaxies got their hat handed to them and that is likely to happen. Guinness are not fools, if they restored his records it had to have been based on creditable merit. Mr. Mitchell seems to have been truthful about things.

The evidence was overwhelming - and all done on a public forum... now, all of a sudden, Guinness changes their mind...
I agree they’re not fools - but not because they think the score is legit - because they have been coerced in some way..
 

ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
The evidence was overwhelming - and all done on a public forum... now, all of a sudden, Guinness changes their mind...
Except that it's been in the works since December. Guinness does their homework. If they've restored his scores, it isn't because he paid them off.
I agree they’re not fools - but not because they think the score is legit - because they have been coerced in some way..
I would trust Guinness over Twin Galaxies any day, every day. Guinness is the high bar of world record standards, whereas Twin Galaxies is not.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
Except that it's been in the works since December. Guinness does their homework. If they've restored his scores, it isn't because he paid them off.

I would trust Guinness over Twin Galaxies any day, every day. Guinness is the high bar of world record standards, whereas Twin Galaxies is not.
Twin Galaxies is the high bar for video game records.... Guinness does everything - there is no way they can specialize in everything...
The original investigation process was completely transparent - you can check it out even now...
This process was behind closed doors and just reversed everything... hard not to be suspicious.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
Twin Galaxies is the high bar for video game records....
No they're not.
The original investigation process was completely transparent - you can check it out even now...
This process was behind closed doors and just reversed everything... hard not to be suspicious.
Because of the law suit involved and the liabilities involved, Guinness was very correct in conducting their investigation privately. They would have made him prove up to restore his records. The fact that they have in my book restores his credibility and makes me raise an eyebrow(and not for the first time) at Twin Galaxies. This is making me wonder how many other times they've cried foul and removed a record when the players were actually being honest.

There are serious flaws with the claims made by Twin Galaxies. I'm an emulation geek and what they're saying about it doesn't completely jive with real world experiences.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
No they're not.

Because of the law suit involved and the liabilities involved, Guinness was very correct in conducting their investigation privately. They would have made him prove up to restore his records. The fact that they have in my book restores his credibility and makes me raise an eyebrow(and not for the first time) at Twin Galaxies. This is making me wonder how many other times they've cried foul and removed a record when the players were actually being honest.

There are serious flaws with the claims made by Twin Galaxies. I'm an emulation geek and what they're saying about it doesn't completely jive with real world experiences.
Yes they are....
Anyways... the claims against Mitchell were NOT that he "cheated" - simply that he didn't use an actual arcade machine to get his score and therefore it is impossible to know if the score is accurate.

There is ample video evidence to support this - and it is all in the public domain.

Apparently, facing a lawsuit, Guinness felt that since the score couldn't be proven to be "officially cheating", they've reinstated it. The thing is, when they stripped it in the first place, they had exactly the same information....

I find that a bit disingenuous, since that means that instead of proving you have a world record, you simply have to make it impossible to disprove you have a record....

I could therefore, on the spot, declare I just held my breath for 7 hours... you can't disprove it - so do I get my name in the book now?
 

ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
Yes they are....
No, they are not. This is not the first time Twin Galaxies have gotten their panties in a twist over something they perseive as a problem which really wasn't.
Anyways... the claims against Mitchell were NOT that he "cheated" - simply that he didn't use an actual arcade machine to get his score and therefore it is impossible to know if the score is accurate.
Oh really? Please review;
www.twingalaxies.com/showthread.php/176004-Dispute-Jeremy-Young-Arcade-Donkey-Kong-Points-Hammer-Allowed-Player-Billy-L-Mitchell-Score-1-062-800
The user Xelnia is the one who started this nonsense. Review his statements. That user is TG staff and directly implies dishonesty and cheating, which is not proven with the examples he provided. Additionally, some of the details Xelnia stated are false and were proven false. Whatever agenda Xelnia has, it's not a search for the truth.
Apparently, facing a lawsuit, Guinness felt that since the score couldn't be proven to be "officially cheating", they've reinstated it. The thing is, when they stripped it in the first place, they had exactly the same information....
As the details of the investigation conducted by Guinness have not been made public, you have no way of knowing what the criteria for reinstatement was, which means you are making assumptions.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
No, they are not. This is not the first time Twin Galaxies have gotten their panties in a twist over something they perseive as a problem which really wasn't.

Oh really? Please review;
www.twingalaxies.com/showthread.php/176004-Dispute-Jeremy-Young-Arcade-Donkey-Kong-Points-Hammer-Allowed-Player-Billy-L-Mitchell-Score-1-062-800
The user Xelnia is the one who started this nonsense. Review his statements. That user is TG staff and directly implies dishonesty and cheating, which is not proven with the examples he provided. Additionally, some of the details Xelnia stated are false and were proven false. Whatever agenda Xelnia has, it's not a search for the truth.

As the details of the investigation conducted by Guinness have not been made public, you have no way of knowing what the criteria for reinstatement was, which means you are making assumptions.
Lol.... did you actually READ the posts in that thread? Again, while there is only circumstantial evidence that his DK score was faked, there is ZERO evidence that it wasn't.... And when you see the pattern (dishonest referees, swapping out a DK PCB for a DKJr PCB, video evidence that the actual game wasn't played on a "real" arcade machine).... it makes you wonder...

Plus... despite Mitchell's claims that he set some of his records in front of over 100 people, very few have stepped forward to verify his claim - and those who have seem to have their own agendas...

This kind of reminds me of the OJ trial.... yeah, we all knew he was guilty... but he gets off anyways....
 

ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
Lol.... did you actually READ the posts in that thread? Again, while there is only circumstantial evidence that his DK score was faked, there is ZERO evidence that it wasn't.... And when you see the pattern (dishonest referees, swapping out a DK PCB for a DKJr PCB, video evidence that the actual game wasn't played on a "real" arcade machine).... it makes you wonder...
Oh yeah, been following this artificial drama since shortly after it began. Been a fence sitter for much of that time, leaning only slightly in favor of Mitchell because the evidence seemed lacking either way. With Guinness making their decision, I'm now firmly in favor of Mitchell. As for dishonest referees and all the other so-called evidence, it's either hearsay, opinion, or conclusions based on dubious references.

Plus... despite Mitchell's claims that he set some of his records in front of over 100 people, very few have stepped forward to verify his claim - and those who have seem to have their own agendas...
I have no agenda. Seen the guy playing Pac Man at a convention in LA. He didn't set a record but he got within spitting distance of it. 990,000 some odd points is what the final score was. If he says he got the record, I believe him. You gonna call me a liar too, hmmm? Got a pair of middle fingers ready for ya..
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
Oh yeah, been following this artificial drama since shortly after it began. Been a fence sitter for much of that time, leaning only slightly in favor of Mitchell because the evidence seemed lacking either way. With Guinness making their decision, I'm now firmly in favor of Mitchell. As for dishonest referees and all the other so-called evidence, it's either hearsay, opinion, or conclusions based on dubious references.


I have no agenda. Seen the guy playing Pac Man at a convention in LA. He didn't set a record but he got within spitting distance of it. 990,000 some odd points is what the final score was. If he says he got the record, I believe him. You gonna call me a liar too, hmmm? Got a pair of middle fingers ready for ya..
No one is arguing that Mitchell isn't a great video game player... I have no doubt that he's really good... But there is a difference between being great and being the best. There is no incentive for ME to cheat at Donkey Kong - everyone would know I cheated as I could never come close to a perfect score during any live event...

For Mitchell, who's entire livelihood is tied to his video gaming skills, being #1 is obviously something he'd benefit from cheating for.

If you go back to the link to the thread YOU provided, you should read the last post. This gives a link to Mitchell's actual evidence package - which has been proven to have plenty of lies (like claiming he never sent a video submission with high scores)...

Again, no proof - but tons of circumstantial evidence.

Lastly - and I'm sure there are plenty of people thinking this - why does anyone care who got the high score in an 80s arcade game?
Answer: because there is MONEY in it. Yes, it might seem childish and foolish - but there are lots of people who are willing to pay to get autographs from "the best gamer" as well as eat in their restaurant, buy their merchandise, etc...
 

Neojt

Posts: 237   +74
Well ok using an emulator is not technically cheating.
BUT, using modern hardware is a serious advantage. If you consider refresh rates of monitors, input lag of modern keyboard or other input device ect ect it can give a good player an edge.
Ive seen ppl play quake arena on modern hardware wall running the hell out of it.. not the same when we played it on pentium4 and tube curver(not in the right way ) 15inch screens with a mouse and keyboard connected to ps2 plug.
Even in modern setups play COD on a avarage pc, then play on a 240hz 240fps 2k ultra dpi and almost 0 input lag gear, I good gamer will have a better frag rate.
So is the emulator a cheat. Grey lines. Does he have a edge, im 100% convinced.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
Well ok using an emulator is not technically cheating.
BUT, using modern hardware is a serious advantage. If you consider refresh rates of monitors, input lag of modern keyboard or other input device ect ect it can give a good player an edge.
Ive seen ppl play quake arena on modern hardware wall running the hell out of it.. not the same when we played it on pentium4 and tube curver(not in the right way ) 15inch screens with a mouse and keyboard connected to ps2 plug.
Even in modern setups play COD on a avarage pc, then play on a 240hz 240fps 2k ultra dpi and almost 0 input lag gear, I good gamer will have a better frag rate.
So is the emulator a cheat. Grey lines. Does he have a edge, im 100% convinced.
Emulators are not allowed when posting high scores - because it is possible to alter the code to cheat. Since there’s no way to tell, only scores that are recorded on original hardware are accepted.
 

oneoone

Posts: 8   +1
The previous post by TechSpot when he was stripped of his records showed that there was overwhelming evidence that he used the emulator - aka “he cheated”...

I’m assuming that money has changed hands and that’s why, all of a sudden, he didn’t cheat...
He lawyered up
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 165   +182
Yes they are....
Anyways... the claims against Mitchell were NOT that he "cheated" - simply that he didn't use an actual arcade machine to get his score and therefore it is impossible to know if the score is accurate.

There is ample video evidence to support this - and it is all in the public domain.

Apparently, facing a lawsuit, Guinness felt that since the score couldn't be proven to be "officially cheating", they've reinstated it. The thing is, when they stripped it in the first place, they had exactly the same information....

I find that a bit disingenuous, since that means that instead of proving you have a world record, you simply have to make it impossible to disprove you have a record....

I could therefore, on the spot, declare I just held my breath for 7 hours... you can't disprove it - so do I get my name in the book now?
That is how the real world and reality works, just saying something and stating what you believe is a fact may not be enough, the challenge is to disprove something. If I say the sun is black and have evidence of such it is fact until disproven by the majority that it is not black with such facts to prove such. In scientific fact, true fact, not only are you proving your theory with facts but disproving what people have been taught as fallacy.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,221   +2,106
That is how the real world and reality works, just saying something and stating what you believe is a fact may not be enough, the challenge is to disprove something. If I say the sun is black and have evidence of such it is fact until disproven by the majority that it is not black with such facts to prove such. In scientific fact, true fact, not only are you proving your theory with facts but disproving what people have been taught as fallacy.
Actually... it's the other way around in the real world... to get something "approved", you generally have to PROVE that it is real (see: innocent until PROVEN guilty).

Mitchell's record was "proven" back in a different age - when it was far easier to post fake stuff and have it believed...

After extensive investigations - which were carried out in PUBLIC - so that anyone interested could see the evidence / rationale, it was decided to strip Mitchell of his records....

Now, after closed-door negotiations, Guinness - who had generally deferred to Twin Galaxies before, decides to reinstate - but doesn't give any reason other than "there wasn't sufficient evidence to DISPROVE"....

If this was a criminal case, and Mitchell was attempting to prosecute a case, he'd be going down in flames.... but civil suits tend to simply "follow the money".... and there's a fair amount on the line here....