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Movie Reviews

The King Of Kong



Released: June 6th 2008

Director: Seth Gordon

Stars: Steve Wiebe,  Billy Mitchell

This film is a documentary cataloguing the ultra competitiveness of retro gamers, following the individual story of one particular gamer Steve Wiebe. Wiebe is the documentaries central focus. The antagonist of this story is fellow gamer and sneak Billy Mitchell(not Phil’s cousin). Mitchell gained success in the 1980’s by scoring the highest score on popular video/arcade game Donkey Kong, this is a score that remained unchallenged for over 20 years.

Fast forward to 2007, newcomer Steve Wiebe has just completed his first year in his new job as a high school science teacher. Wiebe is one of those guys in life that has done pretty well but hasn’t quite managed to reach those goals he has always aspired to. Something always comes along and knocks him back or obstructs him on his path to success. Wiebe enjoys playing video games, he has a Donkey Kong Arcade game set up in his garage which he would play to unwind at the end of a stressful day. Gaming is something Wiebe feels he has control over, it is his release, what he didn’t realise was that his hobby could lead to such big things.

The documentary continues to follow Steve Wiebe as a newcomer in the ultracompetitive gamer community. Through slick visuals that include close ups of game play and quality sourced archive footage from the 1980’s, this documentary manages to knit together a seriously compelling and gripping narrative. Personally as an occasional gamer myself I found the subject matter intriguing. Although, I don’t believe that you need to be ‘into’ gaming to enjoy this documentary. This film follows the emotional highs and lows surrounding this pastime. We soon see that the title of ‘world record holder’ is only the tip of the iceberg and much more is at stake by becoming or relinquishing said title.

The film is well worth a watch, I only found out about the movie a few days ago through a friend. I can honestly say it was one of the most compelling documentary films I have seen in a good while. You find yourself empathising and pitying different individuals as the story progresses. Whether gamer or not, if you fancy something a little alternative from the norm or something more thought provoking than the Summer Hollywood blockbuster this film is well worth a watch!


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