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Parents' Guide to

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Amusing documentary duel at the video arcade.

Movie PG-13 2007 79 minutes
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

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, as well as really into stories about competition like Akela and the Bee. The story takes an inside look into Donkey Kong competition world (circa 2004), at which time a new upstart, Steve Wiebe, is about to shake things up, and becomes champion against all odds. The thing is, he is going against the current, arrogant champion, Billy Mitchell who has been resting on his laurels for 20 years, and the video game establishment supports Billy at Steve's expense through most of the film. By being sincere and persistent, Steve is able both to create a new record, and to win over those who had been against him, through the sheer power of persistence and by being a nice guy, no matter what. Great storytelling that brings both laughter and tears (who would have thought, from a movie about video games?) Sometimes it is easy to forget this is a documentary, as the characters could have been out of "central casting," and it is completely engaging. You should know that the PG-13 rating is ridiculous, and is only based on some cussing and a few shots of racy (but tame) photos.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Movie Details

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