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Donkey Kong world record broken as scores approach theoretical maximum

Arcade gaming fanatic Wes Copeland has set a new world record score in Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, reclaiming an honor he had previously won and then lost over a tumultuous 24-hour period in 2015.

Copeland beat dozens of expert competitors for the highly sought-after Donkey Kong world record score, which now stands at 1,190,000.

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Copeland accomplished the feat on January 4th during a streamed gameplay session that stretched on for more than three hours. Employing new gameplay techniques and strategies shared among Donkey Kong fans worldwide over the last several months, Copeland now boasts a score that will be very difficult for his competitors to beat.

Copeland broke the previous Donkey Kong world record at the Donkey Kong Online Open event in September last year with a score of 1,170,500. His victory was short-lived, however, as fellow Donkey Kong expert Robbie Lakeman earned a score of 1,172,100 six hours later at the same event.

The global chase for a top score in Donkey Kong was famously the subject of the 2007 documentary film The King of Kong, which centered around a cutthroat competition between former record holders Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell.

Donkey Kong gameplay strategies have changed drastically in the years following The King of Kong‘s release, however, leading a new wave of players to topple long-held records. The King of Kong stars Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe no long rank among the top ten Donkey Kong players in the world, and newcomers like Copeland, Lakeman, and Hank Chien currently reign supreme.

While scoring strategy in Donkey Kong previously involved finishing many levels as quickly as possible, players recently discovered that higher scores can be earned by manipulating barrel patterns in the game’s first level. The discovery established a new theoretical maximum for score in Donkey Kong, and Copeland employs the strategy throughout his world-record run.