While the world has debated the idea of Billy VS Steve for the past several years, today Twin Galaxies has announced a new Donkey Kong World Record Holder, and it’s neither one of them.
New York’s Hank Chien, 35, has topped them both, now standing as the World Champ with 1,061,700 points in 2 hours, 35 minutes. Hank was kind enough to sit down with this beepwire.com writer to give his thoughts on his new accomplishment.
Q – First of all, Hank, a major congrats are in order. This news is hitting the world with a lot of buzz. How do you feel right now?
A – Thank you! I feel great, but I have yet to realize fully what I have accomplished. I have been pursuing this goal for quite some time, so it was very exciting for me to finally achieve it.
Q – When and why did you first decide to take a shot at the Donkey Kong record?
A – I started playing Donkey Kong after watching the documentary the King of Kong. Before then, I only played 1 game of Donkey Kong in my entire life– that was in 2006. I remember not being able to pass the first board and thinking this game stinks. The King of Kong piqued my interest in the game and after watching the documentary I started to play seriously in November 2008.
Q – How long have you been chasing this goal? How much practice time was being put in?
A – I started playing seriously in November 2008. At that time I was playing on MAME at home and I had no idea I could reach the killscreen let alone a million or the world record. At first I played very intensely– maybe 3 hours per day. I reached my first killscreen in Feb 2009. At that point I switched to the arcade platform. I knew I needed to point press to improve, but point pressing was such a daunting task and so contrary to my conservative personality that I avoided it. Sometime mid 2009 I decided to take the plunge and I started point pressing. I previously said I would retire if I ever got a million, but my first million point game in Sept 2009 was 1,037,700– fairly close to the world record, so I couldn’t quit. Plus I felt I was still improving and that kept me interested. At the time, however, any game over a million had to be performed live in front of a referee. That was a bit discouraging and because of that I only played maybe 1 hour per day. That rule changed in Nov 2009, but I was busy with work and my personal life so Donkey Kong took a backseat. Then in early Feb 2010 I decided to play seriously again. I tried to squeeze in at least 1 serious game per day until February 26, 2010 when I had my lucky game.
Q – What were your thoughts and feelings as you approached the record score?
A – To be honest I was in a daze that entire day including most of that game. That day there was a huge snowstorm in New York. I took a “snow day” off from work and pretty much slept the whole day. In retrospect all that sleep probably helped me stay alert. 15 minutes before the end of the game is when I realized I had a good shot at the world record. I didn’t even look at my score closely at that point. I knew if I played relatively safe I would still break the world record. I thought I would be nervous, but I had 2 games about two weeks prior that were similar and both ended short, so I figured this game would be the same. Then of course when I broke the world record I was ecstatic. My yelling woke up my brother. It was a good thing though because he was able to help me open up my machine and record me verifying everything.
Q – Everyone is going to want to know, so here I will ask: What are your thoughts and feelings on the man you took the record from, Billy Mitchell?
A – Well everything I know about Billy Mitchell, I know from the documentary. So as you can imagine, I had some ill feelings towards him. However after meeting several gamers who know him firsthand and hearing about his personality, my feelings changed. I have not met him in person, but I would be honored to. I have a feeling he is not the villain they portray.
Q – Do you plan to push this score further?
A – Yes, but time is always an issue with my schedule. I still feel I am improving. I played my game safe towards the end and probably gave up 5-10K in points, because I wanted to secure a piece of Donkey Kong history. Now that this score is under my belt I can go “all out.” I think I can get 1.08M with a little more practice and 1.1M with a lot more practice or luck. I don’t think I can get much higher than that but then again that’s what I said about getting a million just a few months ago.
Q – What gamers do you anticipate will be next to challenge you as you now sit on top of the biggest title in classic video gaming?
A – There are lots of good Donkey Kong players out there and I don’t expect my score to last. Obviously Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe are the top contenders on the arcade platform. The MAME players Dean Saglio and Ross Benziger would be contenders too if they decide to switch and adapt to arcade. Tim Sczerby has also had several close games. I think all those players have the capacity to beat my score. If Benjamin Falls and Scott Kessler start playing again, they could potentially beat my score as well. Plus there are many other rising stars.
Q – Are there any people you wish to thank along the way to the crown?
A -Mostly I’d like to thank my roommate/brother for putting up with the Donkey Kong machine that’s occupying the majority of our living room in our tiny Manhattan apartment and blocking our balcony door. Thanks to me he hears Donkey Kong sounds in his sleep. Also I’d like to thank my fellow Donkey Kong players. Without their collaboration I could not have reached this score and certainly not this quickly. And finally I’d like to thank my friends for pretending to be interested in all my Donkey Kong talk.