“…but competitive gaming, when you wanna attach your name to a world-record, when you want your name written into history, you have to pay the price!”
Ottumwa, Iowa – Billy Mitchell is a world-renowned arcade gamer, world record holder, and another name in a long list of famous assholes. If you’ve watched the 2007 docudrama, ‘The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters’, you need no explanation (and if you haven’t, then you should seriously reconsider the direction your life is heading in).
Being a has-been world record holder, he’s cocky to the core, the kind of characteristic you’d expect from someone whose life is dedicated to being the “best arcade gamer ever”. However, after fading back into obscurity sometime shortly after the release of the aforementioned movie, Billy Mitchell began toiling in his private home arcade, to dethrone then-champion Steve Wiebe.
Despite Steve Wiebe being dethroned as the world champion of Donkey Kong, we haven’t heard from Billy Mitchell in quite some time. The next record holder would be a New York doctor named Hank Chien, followed by a few other guys who performed notably better than both Wiebe and Mitchell, whom you’ve likely never heard of. Yet, not a single mention of or from Mitchell.
Surely an ego as big as Billy’s can’t resist the public eye. So what happened to him?
Well, after the King of Kong showdown, he went on to reclaim the championship title briefly a couple more times, and has since faded into obscurity. Or so we thought.
Despite his disappearance into the underground, Billy was still training hard to make a comeback. In February of 2015, he stated in an interview that he was “going in”, referring to his private home arcade, and that he “will not be back out until he has found a way to topple his successors”.
All of his closest friends and relatives grew worried. They had noticed Billy was becoming increasingly irritable, and packing on some muscle. It was initially thought that Billy was dabbling in steroids as a means of compensating for his loss, or in an attempt to knock in the heads of his opponents, so he could emerge as ‘the last Kong standing’.
Then, on that fateful afternoon in March 2015, one of Billy’s closest friends – Roy Shildt – ventured into Billy’s arcade, after no one close to him had heard from him for weeks. What Shildt found, was an empty arcade. He soon thereafter contacted local police.
Police worked around the clock tirelessly to crack the case. One Billy Mitchell entered the premises alone, but upon arrival, the police did not find Billy, nor any trace of him – just an empty arcade, free of any signs of a disturbance or altercation.
Days into the case, with no leads at hand, Steve Wiebe himself was brought down to the scene. Being a close competitor to Mitchell, it was believed Wiebe might know something about the case. Looking around the arcade, he noticed a strange glow coming from one particular cabinet: Donkey Kong.
Wiebe initially thought his subconscious was bringing to light his memories of their previous encounters, but suddenly, he made an eerie observation: the empty arcade, at the time, contained 2 Donkey Kong cabinets, while Mitchell was known to only own 1 DK cabinet.
Wiebe then kneeled in front of the glowing machine for closer observation, only to be suddenly and severely assaulted by a barrage of quarters being furiously shot from the coin slots of the machine itself. Wiebe was hospitalized with lacerations covering his face, neck, and shoulders, and police quickly condemned the private arcade.
As for the Donkey Kong cabinet responsible for the attack, the police knew they couldn’t implicate an arcade cabinet lawfully, but deeming it a danger to those in the surrounding area, they arranged the cabinet to be locked away in a janitor’s closet located inside the Anata no Warehouse in Kawasaki, Japan.
So engrossed by his failure to uphold his title as Kong of the Hill, Billy disappeared into his arcade for the most intense training session of his life. Instead of emerging from his arcade with a new set of skills (or a 6-pack) meant to bust up the competition, he eventually emerged a Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.
The former King of Kong, had become Kong himself.