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All-time Donkey Kong world record beaten twice in less than a day

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

On Thursday, an elite arcade gamer claimed the coveted world record high score in Donkey Kong. He held that claim for all of six hours.

Participating in the Donkey Kong Online Open 2015, a tournament organized by, Wes Copeland registered a score of 1,170,500 which, if verified, would have taken the title away from Robbie Lakeman (pictured above), who wrested it from Hank Chien one year ago.

Turns out verifying it would be a moot point, as Lakeman came in six hours later, around 2:45 a.m., with 1,172,100, a score that also is awaiting verification but, if it holds up, is the highest certified score on an arcade cabinet of Donkey Kong ever. The only higher score recorded has come on emulation.

Twin Galaxies, generally acknowledged as the world record authority in video gaming, says neither competitor has submitted his score for certification yet. However, Twin Galaxies did note both feats in a post yesterday. Correction: Twin Galaxies says Copeland immediately submitted his score. They're still waiting on Lakeman to make it all official.

Copeland, incredibly, became the first gamer to score 1.1 million in Donkey Kong on his first man. "He was able to sacrifice his three extra men on the final barrel screen, essentially making this a near perfect game," Twin Galaxies noted.

Except, well, it wasn't, being beaten by 1,700 points. Lakeman and Copeland's rivalry has captivated Donkey Kong enthusiasts, and the two will meet again at the Twin Galaxies Entertainment Festival from Oct. 2-4 in Banning, Calif. Twin Galaxies promises "a series of exclusive battles" between the two to settle — for at least a few hours, maybe — who is the best.

You can see the latter half of Copeland's record-breaking run below, and the final half of Lakeman's topper beneath that.

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