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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
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What's the story?
This entertaining documentary follows the weird twists and turns in a grudge match between two top Donkey Kong aces. One is Billy Mitchell, the "villain" here with long, slicked-back hair, snazzy clothes, and high-profile chicken BBQ sauce and restaurant. Not as famous as Billy is the unassertive, usually unsuccessful Steve Wiebe, quietly beating Mitchell's 874,000 record score. His achievement makes him a hero and celebrity even outside of the gamer world. But poor Steve can't get a break. Close scrutiny into his game console casts a shadow on his Donkey Kong score, raising the possibility Steve was unwittingly set up by Mitchell's old foes as a false champion. Steve and his family journey to a monitored tournament to prove he really can play the game that well, in front of witnesses.
Is it any good?
KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS is a funny documentary whether you are wild about vintage video games like Donkey Kong or not. Actually it's funnier if you don't care. Maybe "alarming" is more like it. Parents who think their kids spend too much time with the xBox or Playstation might find this film semi-reassuring, in that it shows men (and some women) who have devoted their lives to video gaming and made something serious out of it. Perhaps even too serious.
The movie doesn't go out of its way to mock these game fanatics, but still, you occasionally find yourself giggling. It's just Donkey Kong! Get a life! Still, the film raises a question if these men and their mortal combat is any less legitimate than the NBA, NHL, or NFL pro heroes who make the cover of Sports Illustrated. Maybe Shaq, Lebron, Barry Bonds, etc., could also lighten up and remember that it's just for fun, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various arcade champions, especially the flashy Billy Mitchell and his soft-spoken underdog rival Steve Wiebe. Which one do you root for? Do you think they're as legitimate as athletes in professional sports? Should video games (whether they're the vintage Space Invaders or the latest Halo) be this important in peoples' lives? How important are video games to your kids?see this together for some bonding.
For kids who love games
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