Wednesday, August 29, 2007

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters Movie Review

ust saw King of Kong a week ago, and thought it was a great documentary.

For those who don't know what the documentary is about, here's the official website:

http://www.billyvssteve.com/

It is a great documentary in the sense that it has compelling characters, a story you'd imagine only exist in fiction, and a very satisfying resolution to the entire film.

And its about video games, albeit, not really the type of games folks play here, but really, classic gaming is one of those things that folks who've been around long enough look back with fond memories of. I hope anyway =).

This is a documentary, so there's very little to spoil..it basically talks about one man's quest to break the donkey kong world score record and all the difficulties he faced OUTSIDE the game to get his score recognized.

spoilers below, so skip if you want to watch..

The movie starts off talking about the current holder of the record and gives you an interesting perspective on his personality....he's quite a bit of a character and along the way you find out about his philosophy on life, among other things. For those of you who's read http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Win-David-Sirlin/dp/1413498817]David Sirlin's Playing to Win[/URL]

it then introduces the challenger, and although not a very strong character, is immensely more likeable than the current holder of the record.

The movie then goes on to talk about the challenger's road to getting his record recognized by Twin Galaxies, the official record keepers...of which the record holder is a judge of. Many problems ensue, where the validity of the machine the challenger plays on, the bias towards "their own" that twin galaxies has, and the no-show'ness of the champion to defend his record live.

All in all, its much less of a movie about video games as it is about competitiveness and what people will do to be #1. Some of the interviews come off as disparaging video games and video gamers, but more often than not, its the video gamers themselves that does the most to shoot themselves in the collective foot (they had the most outrageous and...funky quotes).

The documentary ends with the community finally accepting the newcomer into his clique.

Spoilers End

There was a little Q&A with the producer and director of the film later, and when asked why there seemed to be so much bias towards the current record holder, they said it was because he shut himself off from their interviews...he had all sorts of conditions for interviews on him to happen and part of one of those conditions is never mentioning the challenger's name or his feats! They also said as much as possible, they did not put anything they showed on video out of context.

I have to highly recommend this film because I think its a great human story first of all, enjoyable by all, and secondly, because i think its on a topic that all of us on this sub-forum can relate to. =) Great humorous movie too, and when you laugh its because you can relate to whats being said as much as the situations you see.

Go see it if its showing in your hometown!

New-Line's already picked up the movie to be fictionalized (although with the same producer/director, and they already said they're going to stick to the facts as much as possible, recreating stuff that was spoken instead of shown), so it'll soon be mainstream soon enough...a few years maybe!
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