The world record high score in Donkey Kong, arguably the most coveted mark in competitive video gaming, appears to have been broken yet again. On Friday, Robbie Lakeman surpassed his own record, set a little more than a month ago, and is awaiting verification from Twin Galaxies, the ultimate arbiter of such feats.
Lakeman’s 1,247,700 score was broadcast in a three-hour, 49-minute livestream on Twitch on Friday. He overtook the 1,230,100 score he established back in December and was verified only yesterday. Both marks stretch the boundaries of what was has been theorized to be perfection in Donkey Kong. In 2016, Wes Copeland cracked the 1.2 million barrier, considering that the last frontier of high scores, and retired from competitive gaming. Yet since then, Lakeman has 1.2 million twice.
In the latest run, one sees that Lakeman knows how to exploit barrel jumping (and smashing) to extrude the most points out of a level until finishing it off right before the round timer expires. At the end, the cabinet is disassembled and its components examined to vouch for the record’s authenticity.
The mark comes as Twin Galaxies, the official source of video game high scores for Guinness World Records, and the top sanctioning body of high score records overall, is examining the marks claimed by Billy Mitchell, who was featured in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
Twin Galaxies established a new challenge procedure this summer, and it was most recently used to invalidate a 35-year-old record in Activision’s Dragster for the Atari 2600, removing its holder from Guinness World Records in the process.
Twin Galaxies has not yet issued a ruling on Mitchell’s score of 1,062,800, set July 31, 2010; he’s accused of setting the mark on an emulator instead of playing a standard cabinet. The score is the 12th highest all-time, but Mitchell’s long-time notoriety — he has been competing for high scores on arcade games since the early 1980s — and status as the antagonist in the 2007 documentary, make his performances noteworthy. His high-score rivalry with Steve Wiebe, also featured in the film, was overtaken by Hank Chien in 2012, and all three were supplanted by Lakeman and Copeland in the years since.