September 6, 2007Glenn Turner

After having read about it for months, the missus and I finally caught a screening of King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Seth Gordon's intriguing documentary on the rivalry between gaming legend Billy Mitchell and everyman Steven Wiebe for the world record Donkey Kong score. And, while I wasn't blown away with it (thanks to an overly pointed beginning and a slight feeling that the filmmakers at times couldn't see the forest for the trees), it's definitely a worthwhile film. Even if it plays fast-and-loose with the real events (some spoilers in that link) and is certainly one of the better game-centric films around.

Based on that, I've dug up a few interesting related links – no spoilers in the description though! Just intriguing bits of background information, insight on the competitive classic gaming scene and so on.

Game Boys - Game Boys is Chris Wright's depiction of the very first Funspot Classic Video Game & Pinball Tournament in 1999. His take on it isn't too unusual (non-gamer peering in on a hardcore world), but he does a fantastic job of concisely capturing the personalities of those in the tournament, including many names sprinkled throughout King of Kong. Wright takes special note of Billy Mitchell, plugging away in front of Pac-Man, enamored by his reputation and determination, even though Mitchell hadn't yet played his 'perfect' Pac-Man game yet.

It reads as an honest & sincere portrayal of the event but, more importantly, of the folks involved in it. It's a quality read that isn't trying to shape the event into something it's not – it's simply telling the story of some very enthusiastic players getting together to play some games.

Funspot 1999 and 2005 Photos - If there's one thing Wright's piece lacks, it's pictures. Classic Arcade Gaming has a few photos from the event, as well as full score results. But they also have a photo gallery of the Funspot 2005 competition, which is the competition captured in King of Kong and is well-worth checking out. The photos have an endearing quality to them that the film wasn't always successful in capturing, including several moments with Q*bert queen Doris Self, Adam Wood and (of course) Steve Wiebe. They also have a number of pictures from Mitchell's video screening as well. Going through the gallery's practically like viewing a flip-book of the film!

Interview with King of Kong Sound Editor Nathan Smith - The last King of Kong-related link is this interview with Nathan Smith, the sound editor/re-recording engineer. While a good portion of the interview is tailored for audio and mixing professionals, there are a few tasty morsels to gleam from it, such as:

FSD: Obviously, the doc revolves around video games, with Donkey Kong as its centerpiece. How much of the original sound FX and music from the game did you get to cut into the film?

NS: Unfortunately, for copyright reasons I wasn't able to use any custom recorded sounds from the actual Donkey Kong game. But I was able to use sound from the footage recorded during production. So in a pinch I would take B-roll footage, clean it up, and incorporate key sounds where necessary. So when you watch the film, be assured that all the Donkey Kong sounds are from the original game.

Lastly, the outlandish action film Shoot 'Em Up opens wide this week. But did you know that Shoot 'Em Up writer/director Michael Davis' first screenplay contribution was for the 1994 film adaptation of arcade & console classic Double Dragon? (It's also worth noting that it starred the resilient Alyssa Milano, Robert 'T-1000' Patrick and Iron Chef America chairman Mark Dacascos!) So just bear the following Double Dragon excerpt in mind if you're heading to his latest offering this weekend. I know I will.

LinkUp is a recurring collection of interesting, off-beat game-related articles from the around the internet! If you'd like to submit a link for consideration, please contact us!

There are no comments available for ‘LinkUp: King of Kong Edition’ yet!