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Madness reigns when people dedicate their lives to hobbies – ussually the hobbies take over, the tails wags the dog, families get subordinated under the cruel reign of something actaully invented as a passtime for rainy afternoons, when the girlfriend is out of town and nothing on tv… Not so. One may think that reading experience reports such as Hornby’s "Fever Pitch" would tell you a story about human (well… say: male) dedication to nonsensical passtime activities. But this is nothing (nothing!) compared to some of the people that are under scrutiny in this amazing documentary about people… how to say… playing "Donkey Kong". And being "Donkey Kong" players. And fighting "Donkey Kong" psycho battles for records. And leading lives dominated by their quest for the "Donkey Kong" record list. And people in charge of those lists… actually, the strangets character of the film is not the nice guy who was an aircraft engineer, now is a teacher and "Donkey Kong" interim world record holder (even thou he is strange). It is also not his fiercest competitor, the "legend" (or what arcade players consider to be a legend) Billy something who dominated the record score tables for decades (even though he is fascinatingly strange, and has the worst taste in ties and world philosohphies). It is also not the founder and elder statesmen of the world arcade gaming record table maintaining organisation (even though you cannot possibly belive how strange a person must be in order to merge the identities of policeman, failed singer-songwriter, and maintainer of the record scores etc… in just one little bearded body). No, it the record score quality control watchdog of that very organisation, who sighs into the camera how arduous it is to watch 4 days of video tape on which a Pacman world record attempt is documented, and how many sources of deception and cheting there are in this highly competitive world. You feel like shouting at him: Quit it, for Christ’s sake, do something decent with your life – but then you start considering your own life and start counting activities that from the perspective of the audience watching the documentary about your own life could be considered meaningful and substantial. Hypothetically, of course. And it comes down, of course, to the sentence of one of the "good guy"’s friends: how many people know somebody who is "the best in the world" in what he’s doing? Not so many, indeed. And maybe that is justification enough for all those follies that can be observed here and in those shows that made reality tv big. Why not play an arcade game? Or collect Chinese politicians’ teeth? Or visit all of the world’s cities starting with "Y"? There is room for records.

The highly irritated Roger Ebert Review: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070823/REVIEWS/70817011/1023

Variety Review: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117933593.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0
IMDB entry: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0923752/

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2 Comments

  1. Interesting response. There is a whole lot more to the story that is neglected and manipulated to get the audience to be polarized.I was the one who played nibbler for two days. Because you dohn’t know that is the only game that is from the 80’s that rolls over at a billion. Only one person has been able to acheive that. Most world class players are not a narcissistic as roy shildt and steve weibe. Who the hell cries over a game not just once but continually and his family cries as well. Give me a break!The guys who made the film are friends of weibes and had the plot in mind long before they met bill or myself. Watch for my dvd that is in production, “Truimph of the Will: The Real King of Kong Story!”We are definitely not as evil as protrayed. I think you will feel dirty after i demonstrate how badly you were manipulated through their film making techniques and misinformation.dwayne

  2. @dwayne: the guys at themovieblog.com also cover the film, have a look at http://www.themovieblog.com/2008/01/the-king-of-kong-a-fistful-of-quarters-dvd-review#comments As for your DVD: will be interesting to see, but frankly the title “Triumph of Will” is pretty tasteless given the historical connotations. Th.


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