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

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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.

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June 2, 2009 - 10:03am
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