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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this hilarious, critically acclaimed arcade showdown, a humble novice goes head-to-head against the reigning Donkey Kong champ in a confrontation that rocks the gaming world to its processors! For over 20 years, Billy Mitchell has owned the throne of the Donkey Kong world. No one could beat his top score until now. Newcomer Steve Wiebe claims to have beaten the unbeatable, but Mitchell isn't ready to renquish his crown without a fight. Go behind the barrels as the two battle it out in a vicious war to earn the title of the true King of Kong.


The stuff of gladiatorial battle is here: good versus evil, right versus wrong, nerd versus... super-nerd? At any rate, it's a more entertaining showdown than most fictional movies can muster. The King of Kong is the saga of Steve Wiebe, a Redmond, Washington dweeb who sets a new record in the video game Donkey Kong, only to see his accomplishment challenged by the grand poobahs of the gaming establishment. And if you don't know how pernickety the grand poobahs of the gaming establishment can be, well, one of the pleasures of this movie is finding out about this collection of oddballs. It seems Wiebe has toppled a score that has stood since 1982, when eminent "Gamer of the Century" Billy Mitchell set it, and Mitchell isn't too happy about being overthrown. A black-mulleted showboat, Mitchell provides the perfect counterpoint to Wiebe's mild-mannered family man, and the smaller fish around him are no less colorful. This is one of those movies you watch in delighted disbelief, marveling that such people exist--and that they gladly allowed themselves to be filmed. Director Seth Gordon does an important thing in presenting this world of eccentrics: he doesn't mock them, or provide editorial nudging; he simply lets them be. The result is an ingratiating classic. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Seth Gordon, producer Ed Cunningham, and associate producers J. Clay Tweed and Luis Lopez
  • Commentary by Chris Carle (Entertainment Editorial Director, IGN) and Jon M. Gibson (Founder, I am 8-bit)
  • Extended interviews
  • Animated short: "A Really, Really Brief History of Donkey Kong"
  • Arcade glossary
  • I am 8-bit music and art gallery
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe
  • Directors: Seth Gordon
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Anamorphic
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XQ4HR8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,278 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

This is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.
Pinky ponk
You will have a smile on your face as the movie ends, unless you hate good things happening to good people.
It's a very human story of one man's struggle against a machine and the establishment.
David Bowers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 95 people found the following review helpful By J. Fuchs VINE VOICE on February 15, 2008
Format: DVD
I stuck this movie into the DVD player thinking I'd watch 15 minutes or so and then go make dinner. Before I knew it, the end titles were coming up. This movie starts out slowly and you think it's going to be for hard-core gamers only and then it just sucks you in.

The first time you see Billy Mitchell on screen, standing in front of a copy machine wearing a button up shirt and tie, hair unfashionably long and blunt cut, with facial hair right out of the 70s, your first thought is "loser." Some of this comes from the popular image of people who are hard-core game players as not having real lives. It comes a surprise, therefore, to find out that not only is Mitchell a world champion video gamer, he is an exceptionally successful business person who is married and has children. Nevertheless, this doesn't stop him from coming across as a world-class jerk. While this is no doubt due somewhat to editing, no one put words into Mitchell's mouth and after a while you'll want to roll your eyes at his pompous pontificating. Still, he's the rock star of video gamers and the world-record holder in Donkey Kong, and even if you think that people who spend that much time going after such a seemingly useless world record need to get a life, you can't argue with the fact that Billy Mitchell certainly seems to have one, even if you'd never want to be part of it.

Steve Wiebe, on the other hand, is one of those guys you'd love to have as your best friend. Just as no amount of editing could make Billy Mitchell into the jerk he obviously is, no amount of editing in a picture this long could make Steve Wiebe out to be such a good guy if he weren't genuinely good natured.
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Format: DVD
"The King of Kong" follows the 2004-2006 rivalry and resulting controversy for the title of Donkey Kong Champion between longtime record holder and Gamer of the Century Billy Mitchell and challenger Steve Wiebe. Wiebe is cast in the role of heroic underdog, a junior high school science teacher from Washington state who has chosen Donkey Kong as the vehicle of his success after a series of disappointments in other fields. When Wiebe's videotaped record-breaking game is rejected by Twin Galaxies, the regulatory organization for classic arcade records, Steve is forced to try to break the record live, with referee Walter Day as a witness. Meanwhile, defending champion Billy Mitchell, a hot sauce mogul from Florida, avoids the challenge of his rival for fear of losing his title.

I didn't realize that the interest in retro arcade games is still so intense, as I haven't seen hide nor hair of one of these machines since the 1980s. Director Seth Gordon has fashioned a story from a competition that takes place in front of video game screens by focusing on the characters and the controversy. He digs into Steve Wiebe's past to find motivation, accurate or not, for his obsessive pursuit of the Donkey Kong title. Billy Mitchell is portrayed as a egomaniac who tries to manipulate Twin Galaxies' acceptance of challengers' scores. His fear of defeat after 20 years on top is understandable, even if his actions are not admirable. I have no interest in video games, but "The King of Kong" is a character drama that is at once compelling and curious.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By gk28 on December 6, 2007
Format: DVD
Okay, well maybe not the greatest battle of all time, but a damn entertaining one.

"The King of Kong" is an excellent documentary that looks at classic gaming. It features many of gamings greatest records holders such as Todd Rogers, Billy Mitchell, and controversial "Missile Command" record holder "Mr. Awesome" himself, Roy Shildt.

If you have an interest in classic gaming you should see this movie. Even if you don't have an interest in classic gaming you should still see this movie. It is entertaining and funny throughout.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve D. on July 13, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie should be required viewing in any college level sociology class. The film documents a man who would struggle to actually be an outcast in any social group attempting to penetrate a clique of individuals who have likely been outcasts their entire lives.

Steve Wiebe is almost painfully average. He's a middle-class school teacher who'd been an above average athlete and he plays a couple of musical instruments. He has a good-looking wife and could be a poster boy for suburban America. He also has an almost preternatural ability to play Donkey Kong, and therein lies the trouble.

In order to have his record-breaking score recognized, Steve has to break through and enter into a world of people who probably weren't two-sport athletes and certainly couldn't mingle well at an office Christmas party. In getting his score validated, too, he will be bringing down their king.

Billy Mitchell is the undisputed monarch of these gamers. I'd first read about him in a 2006 article in the now-defunct Oxford American magazine. In that article, the author, David Ramsey, tried to convey Mitchell's cockiness but still be respectful. After this film, I have a new degree of respect for Mr. Ramsey's restraint.

Mitchell is, rightfully, recognized as Gamer of the Century. He's sort of law and order in this world in that he is uniquely qualified to challenge all high score claims. Mitchell is also a successful business man and he's married to a woman who you will not admit is hot in front of your wife, but men get it. Mitchell's success in business and marriage, though, does not tarnish or diminish his status among the gamers. In fact, they likely cheer him on. You expect your hero to do well in all endeavors.
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Topic From this Discussion
I would like to get a chance to see the film. A DVD release would be nice.
Jun 12, 2008 by Kevin L. Dugan |  See all 4 posts
When does this come out on DVD?
it's out now...
Aug 13, 2009 by Video Game History |  See all 2 posts
Which DVD case do you get?
Well, if "The blue one" refers to the movie poster, it sounds like you're out of luck, but the DVD cover is apparently reversible (the DVD comes in a clear case), and the reverse side features a piece of artwork of some sort.
Jan 13, 2008 by Tyler Foster |  See all 5 posts
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