About Billy

Billy Mitchell Named Video Game Player of the Century

Billy Mitchell, Steve Weibe and Walter Day star in King Of Kong

1982 Life Magazine Spread

Billy is above Centipede

Twin Galaxies Competitors

Billy is second row center

Billy Mitchell Bio

Original Version from Wikipedia edited for usage on this site.

William James Mitchell Jr. (born July 17, 1965) is an American restaurateur, businessman, and competitive gamer. He initially rose to fame in the 1980s when Life magazine included him in a photo spread of video game champions during the height of the golden age of arcade video games.

Mitchell maintained a fan base throughout his public life as a leader in retro gaming, with David Ramsey, writing for the Oxford American in 2006, referring to Mitchell as “probably the greatest arcade video game player of all time.” Mitchell’s signature achievement was a claim to have earned the first perfect score of 3,333,360 points on the original Pac-Man arcade game on July 4, 1999.

Throughout the early 2000s and 2010s, Mitchell was a frequently sought-after interview subject for documentaries on the worlds of competitive gaming and retro gaming, including Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade (2007),  The King of Arcades (2014), and Man vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler (2015). Additionally, Mitchell was a subject of the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007), which follows his attempts to maintain his high score on Donkey Kong after it was threatened by a newcomer to the world of competitive gaming, Steve Wiebe.

In addition to professional gaming, Mitchell owns the Rickey’s World Famous Restaurant chain based in Hollywood, Florida, and sells a line of hot sauces known as Rickey’s World Famous Sauces.


King of Kong Movie and Billy

Original Version from Wikipedia edited for usage on this site.

The 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters tells the story of newcomer Steve Wiebe‘s attempt to surpass Billy Mitchell’s high score at the game Donkey Kong, which Mitchell had set in 1982.

Mitchell never showed up to play the game in the film, though he states the importance of playing in public, saying, “To me, most important is to travel to a sanctioned location, like Funspot that makes it official; if tomorrow Tiger Woods golfs a 59, big deal. If he does it at Augusta, that’s where it counts.” However, throughout the film Wiebe traveled to various locations such as Funspot to play him publicly, and each time Mitchell refused. More controversy arose when at Funspot, Wiebe set the Donkey Kong live score record and was given official recognition, something he did not receive for sending in a tape in which he scored the first million point game on record. A few hours later, a tape submitted by Mitchell in which he scored over a million points was accepted, and Wiebe lost his record. The film records speculation that Mitchell’s tape may have been fraudulent. In Mitchell’s hometown later on, Wiebe waited for four days to play Mitchell, who showed up one day and refused to play against Wiebe. In the film, Wiebe, while playing the game says hello to Mitchell, who does not respond, and says to his wife, as he walks away, “There’s certain people I don’t want to spend too much time with”. Mitchell offers no explanation for his behavior towards Wiebe but later explained that at the time of filming, he had not played video games for “more than a year”, and that the filmmakers had not given him enough advance warning to train for a public record-breaking attempt. Seth Gordon, the film’s director, in referring to Mitchell’s character says that Mitchell “is a true puppet-master”, “a master of information-control” and that there was a lot of “stuff we couldn’t include because of inter-state telephone rules.”

At the film’s conclusion, Wiebe beats Mitchell’s score to gain a new Donkey Kong record on tape.

In a 2007 interview, Mitchell has stated that he never expected to play the role of the villain and did not anticipate hate mail and badgering phone calls he would receive post-release


Billy Mitchell Honors

Original Version from Wikipedia edited for usage on this site.

On January 14, 1984, he was selected as one of the 1983 “Video Game Players of the Year” by Twin Galaxies and the U.S. National Video Game Team.

On September 17, 1999, he was proclaimed the “Video Game Player of the Century” while at the 1999 Tokyo Game Show. In a ceremony on the Namco stage, company founder Masaya Nakamura presented Mitchell with an award commemorating the first “perfect” game on Pac-Man.

On November 24, 1999, he offered $100,000 to the first person who could get through Pac-Man’s “split-screen level”. The prize was never claimed before the January 1, 2000 deadline.  On June 21, 2006, MTV selected Mitchell one of “The 10 Most Influential Video Gamers of All Time.” He was also nominated as leader of the Nerd Herd. Mitchell had been featured previously in the True Life episode “I’m A Gamer” in 2003.

Mitchell placed eighth out of eight in the Microsoft Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championships on June 4, 2007.

In 2008, Mitchell became the first video game player to be honored with a Topps Allen & Ginter trading card.

In the 2015 feature film Pixels, Peter Dinklage plays former video game champion “Eddie”, with physical appearance and personality styled after Mitchell and other gamers