Steve Wiebe, the school teacher gamer from Redmond, WA who gained fame in the cult favorite The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, has once again climbed to the top of the Donkey Kong ranks.
Just announced by official gaming scorekeeping organization Twin Galaxies, Wiebe has reclaimed the Donkey Kong World Record with a score of 1,064,500 points, edging out his movie rival Billy Mitchell, who had regained the record from New York’s Dr. Hank Chien on July 31.
Wiebe last held the Donkey Kong record in 2007, only to be beaten back by Mitchell at a live event months later. The record stood there until Chien knocked off Mitchell this year, the first of three times in 2010 the record has changed hands.
“It’s hard to believe that I’ve been battling for this record for over 10 years now,” Wiebe stated to Denton Arcade Game Examiner. “I’ve always been competitive in whatever I do, so it’s natural to want to keep at it. I also owe a lot to all the people that have encouraged me along the way to stay with it. I felt I owed it to those who have sent positive messages of support over the years.”
Many in and around the competitive community seemed to consider Dr. Chien the top contender to Mitchell’s latest Donkey Kong crown rather than Wiebe.
“Hank Chien is a great person and DK player, so I also feel that he’s capable of taking the title at anytime,” said Wiebe. “I think when I came up short of the record at several live events, many people thought that I just didn’t have it in me anymore. Getting the record back definitely feels good.”
Regaining the record had been a long-time goal of Wiebe’s, who had used this past summer on a quest to return to the top.
“Being a school teacher, I had been going after the record all summer, which is about a two month period of being off from school,” stated Wiebe. “Basically, I played a game a day and believed it would happen sooner or later. Right around the Fourth of July, I got an inner ear viral infection that caused some vertigo, which is still affecting me a little today. I’m glad I was able to play through it. The day I got the record was essentially the last day of my summer break before returning to school, so it was down to the wire. I remember restarting over about five or six times and then getting a great start that finally led to the record.”
Mitchell made headlines for reclaiming the Donkey Kong record along with the Donkey Kong Junior record back-to-back. A short time before Wiebe’s return score, Mitchell lost the Donkey Kong Junior record back to former champion Mark Kiehl, who twice took the same record from Wiebe.
“Mark Kiehl is an amazing DK Junior player,” Wiebe said. “I was able to talk to him a little bit in Iowa, and he’s a great person as well. He’s certainly pushing the score pretty high, so getting the DK Junior record will take some great play if I’m to get it. I eventually plan to get back to playing Junior, but I’m not sure when that will be yet.”
Wiebe credits continued support for his regaining of the record.
“I’d like to thank all the people that have given me motivation to keep pursuing the record. Thanks to Twin Galaxies for their support of the gaming hobby, and I particularly want to thank my wife, Nicole, for putting up with all this for 10 years.”
The attention given to Donkey Kong in recent years has pushed many players to pursue the record.
“I’m not surprised at all that the DK title has frequently changed hands of late,” Wiebe continued. “I knew Billy would resurface and I’ve never let go of trying to recapture the record myself. There are a lot more DK kill screen players out there now, so the competition is getting pretty tough. I fully expect the title to keep changing hands until someone knocks it out of the park.”
Among many contenders, Wiebe expects a return of his movie rival as well.
“I definitley see Billy coming back and I would be very surprised if he didn’t. I don’t know where or when Billy will return, but I’m counting on it.”
(NOTE: This is an original story by the author of this column, who wrote it in it’s entirety and obtained the quotes used within. If using this story as a news source and/or for quotes, please credit the author and provide a link back to this as the source.)