South Florida video gamer Billy Mitchell gets Guinness World Records back

Billy Mitchell, of Weston. had his Donkey Kong and Pac-Man world records reinstated by Guinness. (Felipe Calderon, Photo courtesy of Felipe Calderon, BoardroomPR)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Billy Mitchell is once again the “King of Kong.”

The Weston resident had his Donkey Kong and Pac-Man records reinstated by Guinness World Records on Thursday, two years after they were stripped on allegations that he cheated.

“In the light of compelling new evidence received by Guinness World Records, the Records Management Team has decided to reverse decisions made in April 2018 in regards to videogame high scores achieved by Billy Mitchell between 1982 and 2010,” Guinness said in a news release.

The reinstated records include the first perfect score in Pac-Man (achieved in July 1999) and four Donkey Kong high scores recorded in 1982, 2005, 2007 and 2010.

“Yes, it was devastating, to think that you could have all that and somebody could simply come up and rob you of it,” Mitchell said in an interview with Local 10′s Clay Ferraro.

The South Florida video game legend had been accused of cheating, but Guinness reversed its initial decision to disqualify Mitchell's records.

Mitchell was featured in the 2007 documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” that became something of a cult classic.

If you saw the film, you know how much of a big deal it is to reach the Donkey Kong “kill screen” — a holy grail for gaming greats of yesteryear. Guinness’ reinstatement also recognizes Mitchell again as the first gamer to reach that screen in 1982.

The cheating accusations centered on whether Mitchell used emulation software, as opposed to the original video game hardware, to set records. Twin Galaxies, which tracks video game world records, removed Mitchell’s scores, banned him from submitting future results and notified Guinness in April 2018.

Mitchell denied the claims and appealed Guinness’ initial ruling to disqualify the scores. Some industry experts say that Mitchell couldn’t have or didn’t cheat.

Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, said the appeal process included reexamining evidence and soliciting new eyewitness testimony.

“In the end, we found that there just wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the disqualification across the board,” Glenday said in a video message posted on Guinness’ YouTube page.