Homer's Travels: Movie: The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters

Monday, March 10, 2008

Movie: The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters

Saturday night, after a rather blah day, especially for the Wife, I went to blockbuster and rented "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". I was a little unsure when I picked it up. It's a geeky documentary about video game geeks. I wasn't sure if the Wife would enjoy it or not. It was a little too ... me ... but it had gotten good reviews so I gave it a shot. What the heck, it was a free rental.

There are several different types of geeks in the wild. Computer Geeks, Star Trek Geeks, D&D Geeks, and Video Game Geeks just to name a few. This movie was about a sub-genre of the video game geek: the Classic Video Game Geek. For those who are sane and are not familiar with the video gaming, the classic video game is the old arcade style games such as Pac-Man, Centipede, Defender, and the centerpiece of the documentary, Donkey Kong.

The movie follows Steve Wiebe. While he was enjoying a good life, it was an average life and he did not excel at any particular thing. Then he set his sights on the Donkey Kong Record, a record set 25 years earlier by Billy Mitchell. All of the people in the documentary are characters. Wiebe, though he had his own problems, is the only one that seems normal to me. Wiebe's one issue is the desire to be good at something. All the others, gamers, 'referees', and record keepers, seem like they crawled into a cave in 1982 and never came out. A few of them were even from that gaming mecca of the world, Iowa. It turned out to be an interesting and very funny story of obsessions, politics, egos, and irrational rivalries. Mitchell came off pretty bad in the movie in my opinion. He was conceited, hypocritical, vindictive, and a little slimy. The Wife and I were rooting for Wiebe through out the movie and we both whooped when we found out that after the filming of the documentary Wiebe had beat Mitchell's record. Unfortunately, three months after Wiebe broke the record, Mitchell got it back.

I highly recommend this movie.

The best part of the movie for me was looking at the Wife and seeing a big smile on her face. The situation we are currently struggling with is not a cause for smiling and seeing her smile made me feel really warm and fuzzy. The movie seems to have broken her out of her funk and the smile continued into Sunday. I don't know if it's only a temporary reprieve or if it will last longer but that doesn't mean that I'm not grateful for the 90 minutes of distraction and the happiness that followed.


  1. I know of a certain geek who recently enjoyed this film as well.

    I'm going to have to stick it on a list, somewhere visible, and get myself to the video store.

  2. JaG: It's good. It really is. Two geeks can't be wrong ... well not too wrong anyway.

  3. I did rather like the film. I wasn't sure going in, but the reviews were good, and it was a well done documentary. What I especially appreciated was the fact that the filmmakers really didn't go out of their way to make fun of anyone; they treated these people with respect (generally) and let their own actions, words and (in some cases) clothing choices speak for themselves.

    Plus, the normal guy came out looking, well, normal.