After movies covering the hypercompetitive subcultures of spelling bees and crossword puzzles, here comes a documentary about competitive, um, Donkey Konging. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I did not think the world of Donkey Kong competitions would the next gaming subculture covered in the movies, but here it is – a movie about those who spend their free time, or much of their time overall, playing arcade video games, particularly Donkey Kong.
One of the great rivalries of all time. – “King of Kong”
“King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” follows the increasing rivalry between reigning champion Billy Mitchell, who held the world record in Donkey Kong scores, and everyman Steve Webie, who learns to play the game out of his garage, while dealing with some of the more unfortunate duties of being a father. The film explores the insular world of classic arcade game players, and how they interact with outsiders like Webie, coming in to rival their established hero, often to amusing and sadly poignant effect.
The documentary is perhaps not the deepest or the most originally produced of documentaries, but there is no denying that for me at least, watching it was a very fun afternoon activity. My boyfriend and I were trading lines from it the rest of the afternoon. However, it is a documentary – and for those who find that format somewhat slow-paced, this is probably not the film for you. But if you were a fan of Spellbound or Wordplay, or similar movies, take some time out to see this one as well.
(For Wii-less Nintendo fans: The official movie people are throwing a contest where you can win a free Nintendo Wii. To learn more, go to the official website. The sweepstakes ends September 4th.)