What just happened? Arcade gaming legend Billy Mitchell is back in the record books. In a video published on Thursday, Guinness World Records Editor in Chief Craig Glenday said that after Mitchell appealed their decision to dismiss his records, they reopened his case to re-examine the evidence which involved reviewing existing evidence, newly sourced eyewitness testimony and new expert gameplay analysis as well as conducting hardware verification.
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