The fight over Donkey Kong’s former world record is going to court

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Billy Mitchell, who rose to fame hunting high-scores in classic video games, is suing internet game scoreboard Twin Galaxies over its decision to strip him of his records and ban him from its leaderboards, according to court documents seen by Ars Technica. Mitchell is arguing that Twin Galaxies’ statement was libelous, and implied that he was a cheater. A court hearing is currently scheduled for July 6th.

Twin Galaxies announced its decision to strip Mitchell of his records back in April 2018 after its investigation revealed that he had not achieved his Donkey Kong high scores on original arcade hardware. While some in the community have accused Mitchell of using the arcade emulation software MAME, Twin Galaxies said it didn’t have enough evidence to support this claim. Guinness World Records, which had been relying on Twin Galaxies to verify Mitchell’s scores, subsequently stripped him of his records.

Mitchell has multiple complaints about how the investigation was handled, Ars Technica notes. He says that the decision was “pre-ordained,” that Twin Galaxies refused to hear the testimonies of 25 eyewitnesses, and that he achieved his high scores on “certified arcade boards in front of hundreds of people.”

Twin Galaxies, meanwhile, maintains that its investigation was thorough and correct. “Twin Galaxies believes that this was the most professionally documented and thoroughly investigated video game score of all time,” owner Jason Hall stated in a public declaration filed with the Los Angeles Los Angeles County county court where the suit is being heard.

The site’s investigation tried and failed to use original arcade hardware to replicate the “images and artifacts” seen in Mitchell’s video score submissions, said Hall, and the fact that it couldn’t means that the scores couldn’t have been achieved on original hardware. Twin Galaxies’ original statement notes that Mitchell had the chance to contribute to the investigation, but chose not to.

“I am indifferent one way or another whether his Donkey Kong or other scores appear on the Twin Galaxies Website leaderboards,” Hall wrote in a public declaration, “My only concern is to maintain the integrity of the leaderboards.”

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