Donkey Kong has long been a staple, if not the centerpiece, of the competitive arcade scene. Since its release in 1981, the one-upmanship over the title has continued in perpetuity, reaching many peaks that seemed like the end of the road for high score chasers. One such battle was documented in the fascinating documentary King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, in which lifelong Donkey Kong champion and all-American Billy Mitchell worked to defend his high score against mild-mannered high school teacher Steve Wiebe in 2007.
Nearly ten years and multiple records since then, a new Donkey Kong score has finally been achieved that many once thought impossible. The new record was set on May 7th, 2016, by Wes Copeland, holder of multiple Donkey Kong high scores, on an original 1981 arcade cabinet. Copeland’s nearly three-and-a-half hour run was virtually flawless in execution, and resulted in a final score of 1,218,000. The amazing score was achieved by blazing through the entire game without losing a single Jumpman, then burning through each extra life on the final screen to milk every last point possible from the cabinet.
Here’s a look at the 3+ hour run!
The performance was fully streamed and is now archived on Twitch, making the new score a verified, undisputed world record, one that some say might never be bested. Copland says that with this climactic run, he plans to retire from the competitive Donkey Kong scene.