king of kong not understood
Ann Hornaday Movie Critic From the Washington Post
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Directed by Seth Gordon
Produced by Ed Cunningham
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters follows a middle school science teacher
as he battles a hot sauce mogul for the Guinness World Record on the arcade
classic Donkey Kong. Link
Nollan Bushnell started it all in the beginning of the Video Game Age
with Atari and Chuck E. Cheese the Coin-Operated Animated Pizza Arcade.
Restaurant Franchise and Rickey`s World Famous Sauces has some
competition (shown above) in the Real World but in the
World of the Surreal it is all about Donkey Kong
and who is the best in the world. This is
the story of The King of Kong: A Fistful
of Quarters with Steve Wiebe as the Protagonist.
Some General Coin-Operated Video Game History and Present Times
Steve Wiebe became the King of Kong and got his name into the 2008 Guinness Book
of world records for the highest score on Donkey Kong and he also got alot of
fame from the recent movie The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It all
starter in the beginning with the founders of video games such as Nolan Bushnell
of Atari who pushed Pong to its lofty heights in which all other games followed.
For the price of one token, in the 1980's you could be a God with your high score
initials on the top of the screen.
Games like Tempest, Donkey Kong, Joust, Pole Position, Centipede and Pac-Man were
played religiously in the golden era.
Then after the bankruptcy of most coin-operated arcades, an era ended and the large
chains retooled like Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Franchise and Arcade retooled to stay
in business. The new era bought in prizes for kids through redemption, skee ball,
air hockey and basketball. The ticket counter was now full after much business
restructuring. Now their are large businesses such as the Discovery zone featuring
featuring games and elaborate indoor mazes designed for young children, jungle gyms,
birthday, parties and other forms of entertainment.
The Donkey Kong craze is a huge franchise with the latest technology now stepping
in with the Mario Factory from Japan offering touch screens and interactive
entertainment. The Mario factory aims to increase appeal among women; The handheld
Wii is getting a new color to attract the opposite sex to the Mario Franchise and
beyond. Gaming is a large industry and people are now revisiting the classics,
however Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post does not believe this subject needs
to be revisited and especially not in movie form. The below is her complaint about
the King of Kong, the documentary about Donkey Kong Competition to land ones name
into the Guinness Book of World Records.
One reviewer, Ann Hornaday writes that she cannot understand why a movie
should be done about video game players
Ann Hornaday feels that the stakes are low, with competition not being very
compelling, in this case to get printed in the Guinness Book of World Records
and the non-sense of playing video games in a great degree during adulthood.
Below is the Editorial Review by Ann Hornaday (AH) and Rebuttal by Paul Dean (PD):
Editorial Review: By Ann Hornaday, Washington Post Link
"Is there anything more tiresome than watching people play video games? Seth Gordon's
documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" answers that question with a
decisive yes: watching a movie about people playing video games.
Following the all-too-familiar formula of the charming 2002 documentary "Spellbound,"
Gordon's film chronicles the efforts of die-hard players of the classic video game Donkey
Kong as they vie for the world record score. True to the structure that has become
increasingly hackneyed with the glut of competition docs ("Mad Hot Ballroom," "Wordplay"),
"The King of Kong" features the cocky champion who's defending his title, the genial but
fatally flawed underdog and the ambitious upstart.
There's also a loathsome eminence guise who calls himself "Mr. Awesome" and introduces a
whiff of sleaze and corruption into the hermetic culture of grown men who spend nearly
every waking hour behind a joystick. (If Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell aren't engaged in a
bidding war over the life rights of reigning champ Billy Mitchell, they should be.) Low-fi
production values and endless talking heads don't help make an already un-engaging world
any more compelling.
It's a depressing little kingdom, even when Gordon tries desperately to goose the drama
with the requisite "Eye of the Tiger" riffs and some junior high-level palace intrigue.
"The King of Kong" suggests that the old saw about academia stands true for the insular
world of video games: The competition is so vicious because the stakes are so low."
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Rebuttal of the Editorial Review by Ann Hornaday by Paul Dean:
Ann Horaday quotes to (AH) Abbreviation in below rebuttal.
Paul Dean rebuttal (PD) Abbreviation in below rebuttal.
"Is there anything more tiresome than watching people play video games" (AH)
"I don't see the King of Kong as being about watching people play video games
but rather of competitors trying to achieve the ultimate goal of being the best
that they at something and being recognized for it. The medium just happens to
be video games but it could be anything in which you feel you are the best at
and would like to get the recognition for your abilities of being the best." (PD)
"To be a winner means something to some people and the King of Kong is about that
struggle to win at something even if it seems insignificant to others there is
nothing wrong with competing with yourself or setting goals and pursuing them,
following your dreams and your heart's desires in order to achieve something, even
if it is not as big as saving the planet." (PD)
"What makes the King of Kong interesting is that there are so many facets and
hurdles to be overcome both personally and socially in order to get to the top,
which is similar to that of climbing the ladder in the real world." (PD)
"True to the structure that has become increasingly hackneyed with the glut of
competition docs" (AH)
Hackneyed: To cause to become banal and trite through overuse.
"It may be true that competition documentaries are many, however, if you have
turned the TV on for any amount of time you will find that the TV stations are
riddled with Sports shows, Sports events and Sports Commentary. The public
never tires of these things. Go Figure. However the King of Kong Documentary
has many more twists than the normal sports show with characters that almost
seem not real in some instances which makes this movie compelling." (PD)
"whiff of sleaze and corruption into the hermetic culture of grown men who
spend nearly every waking hour behind a joystick" (AH)
Hermetic: Commonly symbolism that is exceedingly obscure, convoluted, or
"The term hermetic, yes this group is quite obscure as many have gone on
into playing modern consoles and have left classic gaming behind, however in
later text (AH) alludes to the idea that these players spend every waking
moment behind a "joystick" is not quite what has gone on. Some people play
Chess, Ping Pong or other recreational activities in their free time all
while raising a family and having a successful business life. One should
not categorize others by a given hobby which they do well in two to three
hours a day while maintaining successful business and social relationships
as well as occupying there time on many other endeavors as many of these
players are very successful entrepreneurs, computer programmers and engineers
with a penchant to be the very best at what ever their endeavor might be." (PD)
"Low-fi production values and endless talking heads don't help make an already
un-engaging world any more compelling." (AH)
"King of Kong is a story about good pitted against evil which is the basic
Shakespearian experience which has been intriguing to most who can feel for
the protagonist who happens to be against all odds of succeeding. Why this
is considered 'un-engaging' would be to say that Shakespeare's Tragedies
have no merit. There is something about the struggle which is compelling." (PD)
"It's a depressing little kingdom, even when Gordon tries desperately to goose
the drama with the requisite "Eye of the Tiger" riffs" (AH)
"Seth Gordan, the Director didn't need any music at all in order for one
to see the despair on trying to obtain something and always having it
snatched away from you, in this case it happens to be the reward of being
in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some would say this isn't important
yet others are willing to risk life and limb in order to get into this book."
"'The depressing little kingdom' exists at all levels of power as power
absolutely corrupts on some level. It is unmistakable and recognized in
this documentary as it would be in any political arena which holds the
keys to success and fame. Your either on the inside or on the outside
wanting to get in with the 'in' group and recognized as one of the best
which at times seems to be impossible dream." (PD)
"Some junior high-level palace intrigue." (AH)
"I'd bet that the so called 'junior high-level' non-sense is applied to all
small groups at it's highest level of membership as it is about personalities
and of everyone getting along and trusting the new score and the new dynamic
which is brought into the organization. The membership I refer to is basically
the unwritten membership of being printed in the Guinness Book of World Records
and being established as a player to be recognized among ones peers in this
highly competitive video game world where scores do matter." (PD)
"world of video games: The competition is so vicious because the stakes are so low."
"No matter what your sport or hobby the top notch player is revered and the stakes
are that of being recognized by your community of players as well as the Guinness
Book of World Records and of being famous with interviews from all over the world
as well as making money selling life writes for movies, consumables etc., of your
name. So I'd say these stakes are more than just a few pebbles in the pocket." (PD)
Overall a movie is usually great when character development is strong and believable
and there are alot of twists laughs and agony along the way and in the right
places. I believe the King of Kong had a lot of that going for itself. (PD)
It is interesting that Ann Hornaday finds no short comings in the low brow movie
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America, in which every person and everything in
America is berated, but when reviewing Kong she can find nothing at all redeaming.
See: Paul Dean, PD Amusements - Coin Vending Video Gaming Operator Web Page link