The victory was a solitary one.
A few times a week, after his two young kids had gone to bed and his wife, Nicole, was busy working, the 34-year-old would head to the garage and turn on the video camera that would prove his score.
He diligently set to work maneuvering Mario to dodge objects thrown by an angry ape.
“Since I’d been trying so long, it wasn’t like I jumped out of my chair or anything (when I got that score),” he said.
Record stood for 20 years
Finally last week, the Redmond resident broke an 879,200-point record set last year by a New York man, which edged past one set nearly 20 years ago by Billy Mitchell, a Florida man generally consider the Don of the Arcade Game. Mitchell’s mark was 874,300.
Wiebe scored 947,200 points in the 22 levels of the game. He sent a videotape documenting his feat to Twin Galaxies, the definitive scorekeeping organization for gamers.
The record was big enough news to video-game enthusiasts that they crashed the organization’s Web site, said Robert Mruczek, chief referee at Twin Galaxies.
“If you beat a gamer with the caliber of Billy Mitchell, that’s a feather in your cap,” he said. “They’re the cream of the crop when it comes to video gaming.”
Hooked on Kong
Despite all the points, Donkey Kong is not a game players can win. It ends with what’s known as a kill screen, a final level that’s impossible to beat. Even if a character could run headlong through the course with no obstacles, it never could make it in the time allotted.
Wiebe has been hooked on the game since college.
Mitchell, 37, says he only counts his scores if they’re played in a public venue, and he won’t say if can best his cross-country competitor. He’ll only say that he’s planning something big and unprecedented in response to Wiebe’s win.
The competition is just fine by Nintendo, which created Donkey Kong.
“We always smile when we hear about these kinds of things,” company spokeswoman Perrin Kaplan said. “Donkey Kong means ‘stubborn monkey’ (in one rough translation from Japanese), and the fact that (Wiebe) was able to achieve this many points against a stubborn monkey says something.”
Wiebe said he’ll keep striving for the million-point mark, then retire.
The former Boeing engineer and computer-software tester plans to head back to school to become a high-school math and science teacher.