Billy Mitchell, Hollywood Restaurateur/Gamer, Retakes Donkey Kong Title

Categories: Restaurant News
kongfrontation.jpg
C. Stiles
Mitchell, ever the family man, and his wife in 2007.
To some, Billy Mitchell is a villain of the likes of the Joker, Dr. Evil, or Skeletor. But to others, he's a Donkey Kong champ, a master manipulator of the joystick, and testament to the power of human will.

Last weekend, the veteran videogamer and owner of Rickey's Restaurants in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines (and a brand of hot sauce of the same name) proved yet again that the latter, at least, is true. Competing for the inaugural International Video Game Hall of Fame ceremony, Mitchell racked up a whopping 1,062,800 points in Donkey Kong, the classic arcade game featuring Mario, a pissed-off ape, and a whole lot of barrels.

His time on the classic cabinet? Two hours, 42 minutes.

The score -- earned at Boomer's in Dania Beach and presided over by industry refs -- recaptured for Mitchell the title of World's Best Donkey Kong Player. It beat the previous high score, held by a plastic surgeon from New York, by a mere 1,100 points. 

When last we wrote about Mitchell, it was following the debut of a documentary film starring himself called The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. The film cast Hollywood's Mitchell as a very likely villain who plotted to keep a humble Washington math teacher named Steve Weibe from ever eclipsing his Donkey Kong score. Although the film gave viewers a portal into the wing and hot sauce mogul's Machiavellian efforts, Mitchell has always claimed it was he who was plotted against by the filmmakers. In 2007, the gaming champ told New Times that much of the apparent scheming was the result of clever editing and a premeditated effort by the filmmakers to cast him as the heel. "If I operated the way the movie says I do, I'd feel like I always need a shower," he says.

No matter how you feel about him, Mitchell once again proved last weekend that he can still compete at the highest level. In his tenure as a top gamer, he's held high scores in dozens of classic arcade games including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong Jr. (a record he also broke this weekend). And even though he beat the latest Donkey Kong high score by only 1,100 points, Mitchell has hinted that he purposefully keeps his winning scores within reach to ensure the battle will go on.

"I'm Billy Mitchell, not Steve Spurrier," he said in 2007. "I don't have to run the score up. I just want to put one in the win column."

If that ain't scheming, I don't know what is.
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