Thursday, March 12, 2009
King of Kong
I was talking to my coworker and friend at work when I suddenly, out of the overgrown recesses of my brain, began proselytizing to her about the 2007 documentary "The King of Kong." As I retold her the plot of the film, my initial passion for this tale of good vs evil came spitting out of me- I kind of scared myself.
"King of Kong" is about good ol'boy Steve Weibe, a nobody in the world of gaming, going up against 80s Donkey Kong veteran Billy Mitchell, aka King of the Dipshits. Steve Weibe is humble, married, has two little daughters, and a history of failure. Billy Mitchell is a patriotic tie-wearing, hot sauce manufacturing, hot wife-having restaurant owner that has held the highest score in Donkey Kong for over 20 years.
The two go head to head in a competition for the top Donkey Kong score in the world.
Billy plays kinda dirty and the footage ends, much to my chagrin, with him winning. Before the credits rolled, though, the directors inserted an update reporting that, after they ceased filming, Steve Weibe gained the top score! YAY!
The documentary portrays Billy as a jerk with a gaggle of lackeys who do his jerky bidding. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Steve as the underdog; he was laid of of his job and spent all his time perfecting his Donkey Kong skills.
After retelling this story, I did a little "where are they now" research and came across an interview with Billy Mitchell that makes him seem a little less jerky.
Then I asked myself:
Why do I, or we as culture for that matter, root for those with unusually low self-esteem (Steve) versus those with absurdly high opinions of themselves (Billy)?
Is it like a mother's instinct to shelter the weakest of her young? Or does our Judeo-Christian culture place a high premium on suffering rather than happiness? Maybe we are threatened by the power of an ego that can't be defeated...
I'm tellin' ya, peeps- that "King of Kong" is right up there next to "Chinatown" in the realm of deep thought provocation.