Author Topic: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud  (Read 16558 times)

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Offline Bounty Bob

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2020, 12:48:37 am »
Can't believe it's going this far, crazy!

What's the full story to the claim that the gamer of the century award was fabricated by Walter? For so long the story was that it was given by Namco, I would have thought they might have publicly denied it before now. I'm not doubting it, just wondering if there is any proof outside of the claim made in this new filing.

Karl's got you covered. Here's a link to the spot in his latest video that shows Walter Day created the fake award, and Namco NEVER game him such a title:

https://youtu.be/yJ74cr1x6SE?t=488
Haha, that?s great. Thanks.
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Offline Sanji Himura

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2020, 05:19:21 pm »
Might be off topic, but I think that I am in a rather unique position.  To explain a bit of background, I do games journalism.  It's not my main job, nor do I write for an outlet (I guess that would make me a freelancer) however, I have been loosely following the Billy Mitchell saga from basically its inception.  I had a discussion with people outside of Speedrunning, and they want me to tackle the Billy Mitchell saga on my next podcast, The W2 Report LIVE.  While I could explain the basics of Donkey Kong in relation to the lawsuit (as I have seen some of the evidence myself) to the audience, my co-host barely knows anything about how Donkey Kong's high score world records work as we largely cover sins committed by PC developers for the most part.

Is there any TL;DR that I could use to help explain how Donkey Kong is played for high scores, how Billy Mitchell gamed the system, and the lawsuit against Twin Galaxies so that I can cover about three hours worth of evidence in something that resembles less than an hour?
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2020, 07:11:50 pm »
Might be off topic, but I think that I am in a rather unique position.  To explain a bit of background, I do games journalism.  It's not my main job, nor do I write for an outlet (I guess that would make me a freelancer) however, I have been loosely following the Billy Mitchell saga from basically its inception.  I had a discussion with people outside of Speedrunning, and they want me to tackle the Billy Mitchell saga on my next podcast, The W2 Report LIVE.  While I could explain the basics of Donkey Kong in relation to the lawsuit (as I have seen some of the evidence myself) to the audience, my co-host barely knows anything about how Donkey Kong's high score world records work as we largely cover sins committed by PC developers for the most part.

Is there any TL;DR that I could use to help explain how Donkey Kong is played for high scores, how Billy Mitchell gamed the system, and the lawsuit against Twin Galaxies so that I can cover about three hours worth of evidence in something that resembles less than an hour?

The short and simple answer: Normally a player would play a game from start to finish in one continuous sitting in real-time, suffering the mental and physical strain of keeping on top of the game without making mistakes for however long it takes to get to the end without making mistakes while also pushing the game for points as hard as possible.
MAME on the other hand, has a defect/feature-that-can-be-abused that would allow a player to play for a short time then save their progress and stop.  Then resume from their saved point and play for another short stretch of time.  If the player happened to make a mistake or not score well enough, they could go back to a previously saved point and try it again until they're satisfied with how things turned out.  Rinse and repeat that for the entire game, with no time constraints or mental/physical fatigue (you could take as long as you wanted to craft your 'complete' game.)  Then simply save the whole thing as one 'uninterrupted' stretch of gameplay and send it out with no-one the wiser.
Passing a MAME recording off as live arcade gameplay bypasses any scrutiny for these types of deceptions.
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Offline ersatz_cats

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2020, 03:33:24 am »
Howdy Sanji! I hate to say, it's a rather meaty topic, and (between the history, the score dispute, and the lawsuit) will probably be hard to give more than a surface overview in an hour. Sock already did a great run-down of how using MAME and passing it off as arcade must be treated as cheating, but I'll summarize some of the other stuff.

One important point to add to what Sock said is that Donkey Kong has what's called a "kill screen". Because of programming limitations, when you get to the 117th screen, your game ends. Thus, the world record isn't about trying to marathon the game for hours and days on end, but rather squeezing every bit of points one can along the way.

In the early 2000s, Billy started spreading word that he had a major gaming stunt on the way. See, for instance, the end of this MTV interview:


So Billy had some big gaming feat in store! Problem is, along came Steve Wiebe who, as seen in King of Kong, challenged Billy for DK supremacy. Perhaps Wiebe's rise threatened Billy's big plan? After Wiebe came on the scene, out came these "direct feed" Donkey Kong tapes from Billy, claimed to have been recorded by hooking equipment directly to an arcade cabinet's video output. Each has a different story associated with it. Two of these scores in particular had "live" events with "witnesses", although the stories around those events have not stood up to scrutiny. There was continuing competition between Billy and Wiebe, and newcomers like Hank Chien, but while Hank's and Steve's scores were obviously authentic, Billy kept relying on these mysterious "direct feed" tapes, which were always just a little higher than his competitor.

In 2011, they started having DK tournaments called the "Kong Off". Billy's poor showings in those live events (compared to his taped records, which he claimed to have done on his first or second attempts of the day) were major red flags, along with some other circumstantial evidence pointing to shenanigans. Nothing was conclusive, until in early 2018 people took a closer look at how MAME (an emulator) draws screens differently than arcade does. Turns out, Billy's tapes didn't match arcade, and were a perfect match for MAME! Several MAME identifiers are seen throughout Billy's tapes, and a few possible arcade identifiers are never seen.

The score dispute went on for about two months in early 2018, over at the Twin Galaxies website. (Actually, it was open longer than that, but it languished until the MAME evidence was published in February.) Billy had an opportunity to present a defense, and he did have some people volunteering on his behalf, but he did very little himself. TG tested DK equipment, as did an independent party named Chris Gleed, and they determined the MAME screens could not be produced by genuine arcade. Billy's own tech, Carlos Pineiro, came to the same conclusion. Billy was also unable (or unwilling) to directly answer questions. TG ruled on the evidence, and took down Billy's scores and banned him. Guinness, who got their gaming info from TG, followed suit.

Billy started doing a PR tour, streaming on Twitch, and doing a "Road to Redemption" panel at SFGE. His big story was that a guy named Dwayne Richard edited the tapes to frame him. (How Dwayne was supposedly able to edit single frames of a VHS tape, or how he knew about these minute MAME differences, or why he would do this and then never tell anyone, Billy never explains.) As ridiculous as this theory was, in February 2019, an old MTV interview was discovered where TG ref Robert Mruczek shows off Billy's recently submitted tape. In the video, you see some of the same MAME signatures, which Billy was claiming were added by Dwayne years later. Billy never responded to this evidence, and basically pretended it never existed. (He even accused Mruczek of stealing that tape! Though that was later debunked as well.) Billy also streamed DK on Twitch around this time. He claims to have redone each of the contested scores exactly on the nose, but that is a flat out lie.

In September 2019, Billy submitted a legal threat along with an evidence packet, full of (to be frank) nonsense, bad faith arguments, and witness statements from his friends who swear they saw him do these scores on real equipment (even though the story is that none of them had access to the equipment inside the cabinet). The people who followed the dispute closely were not swayed, and Twin Galaxies did not change their ruling. However, this packet was also submitted to Guinness, who had since severed their ties with TG. Months later, Guinness chose to reinstate Billy's scores (despite some hilarious contradictions in Billy's claims), citing unspecified evidence (just broad things like "witness statements"), and suggesting the matter is in dispute. (Whether Billy's threat of lawsuit had anything to do with it, we can't say for sure.)

Earlier this year, Billy filed an actual lawsuit against Twin Galaxies for defamation. This lawsuit was full of the same poor attempts at evidence as his September 2019 evidence packet, as well as attempts to paint TG's current owner Jace Hall as unreasonable and acting with malice (something which Billy will have to establish for defamation, as he is a public figure). The ins and outs of what's being argued would take a while to sort out in detail. Here's a taste of some of it. Twin Galaxies also made many of the early filings available here.

In late October, the court ruled on two big motions in this case. First, TG had filed an "anti-SLAPP" motion (based on a law which allows frivolous cases to get tossed out of court). Part of the rules for this is that, for ruling on anti-SLAPP, the plaintiff's (Billy's) case has to be considered in the best possible light. Even if Billy lies through his teeth - which is what he did - those lies have to be taken at face value when ruling on anti-SLAPP, and those lies and the evidence around them can then be hashed out later on. The court ruled against TG on anti-SLAPP, allowing Billy's case to proceed. On the other end, TG moved for the court to require Billy to pay an "undertaking" - basically, a deposit that will be used if TG later wins and is awarded legal fees. This was awarded based on the fact that Billy is out of state (he lives in Florida and the suit is in California), and that TG was found to be likely to prevail in this case in the end. The court granted the entire amount TG requested as an undertaking, which I'm told is rare. I wrote about these rulings here.

The counter-lawsuit, which made news recently thanks to this great video by Karl Jobst, was filed recently by TG. Basically, TG is alleging that Billy, along with Twin Galaxies' founder Walter Day, conspired to artificially inflate Billy's achievements, to promote his scores they knew were fake, and to suppress scores of his competitors, all to inflate TG's value for eventual resale. In other words, Billy and Walter knowingly sought out to defraud Jace Hall in their sale of TG to him. I would say the evidence supports this conclusion, but I'd leave you to make your own conclusion. Also, a number of other things are alleged in the lawsuit, including that Walter Day and Billy Mitchell interfered with Guinness' relationship with Jace's Twin Galaxies in order to punish TG for its ruling in Billy's score dispute. If you want more about the counter-suit, I did a write-up..... Oh wait, that's what this thread right here is. Scroll up for that. Anyway, the most recent news is that TG appealed the court's anti-SLAPP ruling (which means this case could still get tossed), but that appeal means the counter-suit is temporarily on hold.

If you want to know more about the actual evidence against Billy, I maintain a long write-up here. I know, it's pretty long, but that's because there's a lot to go through. Most of the other questions you might have will probably be answered there.
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Offline RTM

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2020, 08:09:42 pm »
Billy's motion to avoid paying that $81K was laughable at best. Effectively his legal team argued that TG did not need ALL that money right now, at once...makes you wonder what novel little stunt they will pull if they lose and he is on the hook for damages.

And now, his latest cry for relevancy and attention in the media and gaming circles, a "feat" that "has never been done before"...playing the SAME "perfect Pacman type performance which he has already pulled off several times and, on top of that, gaining a whopping ten (10) extra points per life with the addition of a single extra key-fruit at the end/ Pardon my french, but big freaking deal.

That's like last year's winner of the NYC marathon saying that this year he is going to intentionally keep running for 60 feet beyond the finish line. Again, big deal.

His thunder was stolen from his initial year 2000 MTV boast when he proclaimed he was going to pull off the greatest feat in arcade gaming history without publicly stating what that would be. It wasn't rocket science...we knew pretty much what he likely had in mind. Steve Wiebe stole his initial thunder with a new DK Jr record and eventually a new DK record that eclipsed 1M for the first time, a performance that Billy actively tried to squash from being recognized by TG as the first verified 1M. He even used his influence to convince the adjudicating referee, myself, that the presence of a "gummy substance", his own words and that of Kuh, had the potential to impact the performance of the game by affecting the clock speed of the game, which unfortunately coupled with proof of Shildt's involvement worked and the score was put on hiatus status.

Bran Wagner beat his old "Burgertime" record hands down. Donald Hayes is hands-down the dominant "Centipede" player, Adbner and Aart both destroyed the "Ms Pac" WR, so the proclaimed "greatest gaming feat of all time" went down in flames before it even happened.

Fast forward from that 2000 MTV interview 20 years and the latest proclamation, another "never been done before" feat...is 10 extra points per life and one fruit on top of that.

Whoopdie-freakin'-do !!

he proclaims he won't leave until he gets it done. Poetic justice right about now would be if one of the other perfect Pac players live-streamed themselves pulling it off before Billy does...if he ever does it at this pace he seems to be at. Wherever he is, Roy must be laughing himself silly right about now !!
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Offline FBX

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2020, 10:06:05 pm »

Fast forward from that 2000 MTV interview 20 years and the latest proclamation, another "never been done before" feat...is 10 extra points per life and one fruit on top of that.

Whoopdie-freakin'-do !!

he proclaims he won't leave until he gets it done. Poetic justice right about now would be if one of the other perfect Pac players live-streamed themselves pulling it off before Billy does...if he ever does it at this pace he seems to be at. Wherever he is, Roy must be laughing himself silly right about now !!

I would laugh if someone like say David Race does it before Billy just to screw him. It would serve him right.
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Offline RTM

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2020, 07:09:58 am »
That it would indeed.

BTW, those extra points on the "reunion Pacman"...I was told that the version offered a tenth hidden dot on each split screen stage, not merely nine, thus six extra dots in total which apparently is enough to flag an extra fruit, thus +5,060 extra points beyond 3,333,360

This pic might explain better.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 07:12:59 am by RTM »
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Offline Brian

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Re: Twin Galaxies is counter-suing Billy Mitchell and Walter Day, citing fraud
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2021, 01:40:47 pm »
Is anything happening with the California case?  (I know the Florida case was thrown out).  I was just wondering what the next step was in California.  Is there a date for trial, or are there other steps first?
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