Live, Breaking News: Steve Wiebe Tries to Recapture Donkey Kong Record

Steve Wiebe, the hapless hero of the video game documentary King of Kong, is trying once again to beat Billy Mitchell's record on Donkey Kong. Why is this news? (After all, he's been going back and forth with Mitchell for years.) Well, it's news because Wiebe is doing it right now (mid-day Tuesday, June 2, 2009). You can watch Wiebe play Donkey Kong live right now! This morning, his first attempt ended at a respectable (but not record-breaking) 923,400 points. Reports suggest that we will make two more attempts today.

Update (1pm Pacific): Steve concluded his second attempt at only 653,700 points. I hear there's a third attempt happening later, but it's possible Wiebe is all Konged-out for today.

Update 2 (3pm Pacific): Steve's back! He's conferring with officials, and looks like he's about to start his third attempt.

Update 3 (3:30pm Pacific): In a dramatic twist, the machine failed in the middle of Steve's third attempt -- the screen turned green, and the live web feed was disconnected after an apparent power outage. After some fiddling (and invoking Billy Mitchell's name more than once), it appears that technicians are going to try to repair the machine. Some spectators are speculating that Wiebe may return for another attempt tomorrow. For what it's worth, Wiebe was in good form at the time, but was only thirty minutes into his game (around 150,000 points).

Update 4 (3:45pm Pacific): ...And he's back. For some reason lacking sound. But anyway, the fourth attempt is in progress.

Update 5 (5:50pm Pacific): Steve did not make the record. At 989,400 points he hit the kill screen.

More background information on Steve Wiebe and his quest to be the recognized Donkey Kong master comes from Slashfilm:

Wiebe lived a quiet life in Washington until he lost his job at Boeing and found solace in his video game obsession, "Donkey Kong." At the time, Billy Mitchell, a hot sauce mogul and an icon in the world of competitive gaming, held the record for the highest "Donkey Kong" score, and Wiebe made it his mission to break that record. He not only perfected his game but surpassed Mitchell's record and ended up with a thought-to-be-impossible 1,000,000 points. A wave of media coverage followed and Wiebe quickly became a celebrity in his hometown of Seattle. Meanwhile, Mitchell hatched a plan to reclaim his fallen "Donkey Kong" record and, in the months that followed, Wiebe and Mitchell engaged in a cross-country duel to see who could set the high score and become the real "King of Kong."

... Since the documentary and the loss of his title to Mitchell in 2007, Wiebe has attempted to break the record four other times but to no avail. With his latest attempt in October 2008, he scored 1,000,200, which is only the second time that a million point score has been achieved in public but it was still not enough to knock off Mitchell. Now, as he gears up for his fifth effort, fans can witness live what Wiebe hopes will be his sweet revenge and gaming history.

This could be it, folks. Tune in! If you get bored, read up on the history of this classic videogaming struggle.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of October Films
This Scientist's Idea of the 'Perfect' Human Body Is Kind of Terrifying
Courtesy of October Films
Courtesy of October Films

The perfect human body has the legs of an ostrich, the heart of a dog, and the eyes of an octopus, according to anatomist Alice Roberts. And it’s utterly terrifying.

With the help of anatomical artist Scott Eaton and special effects designer Sangeet Prabhaker, Roberts created a life-size replica of herself that fixes many design flaws inherent to the human body, Motherboard reports. Roberts unveiled the sculpture on April 23 at the Science Museum in London. On June 13, the BBC released a documentary about the project.

Among the flaws Roberts’s sculpture corrects are humans’ inferior ears, spine, and lungs. Roberts borrowed anatomy from reptiles, birds, and other mammals to create a Frankenstein-esque creature straight from the island of Dr. Moreau.

The sculpture of Alice 2.0, left, with Alice Roberts, right
Courtesy of October Films

The sculpture has legs like an ostrich because, as Roberts says on her website, the human knee is complex and prone to failure. Like humans, ostriches are bipedal, but they are far better runners. Bird-like lungs that keep air flowing in one direction, not two, make running and other aerobic activities easier for the perfect human to manage. And a chimpanzee’s sturdier spine and a dog’s heart (which has more connected arteries, leading to lower heart attack risk) make Roberts’s alternate self more resistant to injury and disease.

Roberts’s ideal human body also has skin like a frog that can change shades based on the environment, and large, bat-like ears that amplify sound. Roberts also fixed humans’ backwards retina, which produces a natural blind spot, by borrowing from octopus eye anatomy.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the baby head poking out of the sculpture’s marsupial pouch. Roberts says marsupial pregnancy would be far easier on the human body and more convenient for parents on the go.

“This could be a human fit for the future,” Roberts says at the end of a trailer for her BBC documentary.

[h/t Motherboard]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month
iStock
iStock

Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios