If anybody has ever needed to hear the phrase, “It’s just a game,” it’s the guys featured in this documentary, King of Kong. And yes, that is “Donkey Kong” they’re referencing.
The documentary focuses on the then-“Donkey Kong” champion Billy Mitchell and his challenger Steve Wiebe, a middle school science teacher who picked up the game while he was out of a job.
The crux of the story is that Wiebe sent in a tape proving that he had broken Billy’s record, but because he wasn’t one of the “in-crowd” of gaming, and because he was acquainted with a major rival of Billy’s, his taped score was ignored and video game goons were sent to take apart his “Donkey Kong” machine.
Through it all, however, the crowd is being asked to question the men’s obsession with a world title in video gaming. That Wiebe takes his entire family with him on cross country travels as the questing hero and Mitchell sits comfortably on his throne, clearly depicted as the villain, is almost laughable.
King of Kong releases in select theaters Aug. 17.