Donkey Kong crown reclaimed: World record score breaks 1.2 million

Competition over a world record score in Nintendo’s 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong grew to a fever pitch this week, with former champ Wes Copeland has reclaiming his title with a nigh-unbeatable score of 1,218,000.

The record-breaking run is captured in the video above, in which newly crowned champion Copeland plays a single credit of Donkey Kong for more than three hours straight, with no pauses or breaks.

“This will be my last record score,” Copeland wrote in a celebratory Facebook post. “I don’t believe I can put up a game any higher than this.”

Copeland’s latest achievement will be difficult to reproduce, given that several luck-based factors pushed his score past all other previously held records. Arcade gaming enthusiasts note that there is still room for improvement with regard to specific strategies, but competitors will face an uphill battle in getting consistent luck on their side.

Copeland previously claimed the Donkey Kong world record crown in January with a score of 1,190,000. The achievement ranked as the highest Donkey Kong score ever recorded for a scant few months before competitor Robbie Lakeman logged a score of 1,190,200 in April.

The chase for a world record Donkey Kong score earned widespread notoriety following the 2007 release of The King of Kong, a documentary film that captured the trials arcade fanatic Steve Wiebe faced in dethroning then-world champ Billy Mitchell. Currently, Wiebe and Mitchell rank at No. 18 and No. 19, respectively, in the worldwide Donkey Kong leaderboards.

Competition for the world’s top Donkey Kong score reignited in 2015, which saw the world record title changing hands twice in the span of 24 hours. Other high-ranking competitors vying for the honor over the past several months include plastic surgeon Hank Chien, MAME enthusiast John McCurdy, and longtime player Jason Wade.

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