For Reel

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
July 24, 2012, 1:12 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Seth Gordon

When Steve Wiebe, an average family man from Washington state, tells his daughter that he intends to earn his spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the high score in Donkey Kong, she dryly responds, “Some people sort of ruin their lives to be in there.” Many who watch The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters will have a similar reaction – that the obsession that these men have with gaming is a severe personality disorder. What the picture does so remarkably well, however, is introduce audiences to an undiscovered niche world with great affection. Gordon seems to take a genuine interest not only in the people, but in what the people are interested in – the amount of dedication and skill that it takes to perform on this level is admirable, even if the ultimate goal seems trivial. Several people who appear in the film, most notably Walter Day, founder of Twin Galaxies (the foundation which documents high scores from gamers within the United States), have suggested that director Seth Gordon took severe liberties with the story, which any engaged viewer should immediately suppose. It’s all remarkably convenient – a tidy story involving the lovable underdog and the dastardly villain who refuses to even look him in the eye. Yet, even if one is aware that they’re being manipulated, it proves to be utterly irresistible entertainment, as thrilling as any of the genre pictures released by major Hollywood studios today.

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