The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters Movie Poster Image
Amusing documentary duel at the video arcade.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 79 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Viewers get to pick sides between the arrogant reigning Donkey Kong champion and a nice-guy family man, dogged by bad luck, who seems to need the affirmation and approval of his peers badly. There are a few female players glimpsed, but women are mostly supportive (maybe slightly exasperated) spouses.

Violence

None, except quick flashes of violent video games over the end credits.

Sex

A sexy still photo of a nude couple (covering up each other's private parts, barely), is shown, illustrating the sordid past of a video gamer.

Language

"Bastard" and "kick that guy's ass" used, but the point is made that profanity is actually frowned upon in this milieu.

Consumerism

Not only are video games, video game parlors, and shop franchises ubiquitous, we also see plenty of the chicken hot sauce sold by one of the contenders in his day job.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Gaming is verbally compared to drug addiction, and some interviewees smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is not a King Kong related movie in any form, but a rollicking documentary about extreme video gaming. The PG-13 rating from the MPAA is unwarranted, even though there are a few swear words and brief glimpses of sexy still pictures.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMixyplixl January 3, 2015

Fun and compelling true story about gaming, competition and life!

I had thoroughly enjoyed this film some years back and suddenly realized it was perfect to show my 9-year-old who is both obsessed with video games and pinball,... Continue reading
Adult Written byjoeysmom411 April 9, 2008

Life Lesson to be Learned...

I sat down to watch King of Kong with my two children, ages 11 and 13, only having watched the trailer online. Normally I would never do that, but I figured it... Continue reading

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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.

Movie details

For kids who love games

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