Author Topic: The evidence against Billy Mitchell  (Read 40950 times)

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Offline ersatz_cats

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The evidence against Billy Mitchell
« on: April 12, 2020, 09:11:49 pm »
(The current up-to-date version of this post has been migrated to This version was last updated on October 14, 2020. The original shorter version of this post can be found here.)

On April 12, 2018, disgraced "Video Game Player of the Century" Billy Mitchell was removed from Twin Galaxies' leaderboards. This was the result of a lengthy investigation into the claim that surviving videos of two of his past achievements could not have been produced by an actual arcade machine as Billy had claimed.

This post is intended to collect evidence and arguments in one place, to serve as a resource, and to help interested parties understand what exactly the dispute was about. Billy Mitchell's denials and recriminations have been fervent and assertive (if often misleading), inspiring confidence in some and leading many bystanders to believe perhaps the evidence is ambiguous, when in fact the evidence against him is quite clear. Yes, there is a lot of evidence to go through. That's because Billy Mitchell is super-duper-guilty of having pulled one of the biggest cons in gaming history.

This post incorporates historical material, discoveries made during the 2018 dispute, material from Billy's September 2019 legal threat, and currently released court filings from the active legal cases Billy Mitchell has filed against Twin Galaxies and others. This post is not meant to be comprehensive (if you can believe that), but rather a reflection of important points and pieces of evidence identified from the publicly available record, which is more than enough to establish Billy's guilt. Note that what follows is the result of a lot of community effort. In the interest of cutting down wordiness, sources below are not named outright. In-line links provide attribution and further reading. While I've obviously done a fair amount of work examining and compiling these discoveries, I'd like to make clear that only a small portion of what follows represents my own original discoveries. (Also note that Billy's pals at Southern-Fried Gaming Expo removed the video of Billy's 2018 presentation, so items citing that panel currently link to a post explaining that a transcript will be provided soon.)


In early 2018, a discovery was made which added fuel to a preexisting score dispute on the Twin Galaxies website. While the emulator MAME is intended to run arcade games as accurately as possible, the way the program draws Donkey Kong level boards to the screen is noticeably different from the way the original arcade machine does it. The process happens in a fraction of a second, but when slowed down, the differences are identifiable, creating what we call "MAME signatures" (as well as a few "arcade signatures"). These "signatures" are not accidents, but direct and inescapable byproducts of the fact that MAME and arcade function differently. Unfortunately for Billy Mitchell, surviving footage of three of his scores showed several indicators of MAME origin, and showed no indications it was produced from a real Donkey Kong arcade cabinet, as he and his friends had always claimed.

Rigorous examination and testing by a number of parties at Twin Galaxies and elsewhere concluded Billy's tapes could not have originated from authentic arcade hardware as claimed. Even techs working in Billy's defense could not demonstrate a way to produce the MAME transition screens seen on his tapes from a genuine arcade machine. To this day, no one on any side has been able to explain why three different tapes of Billy's, allegedly produced on three different Donkey Kong cabinets with different capture setups several years apart, all show dozens and dozens of MAME signatures throughout, and exactly zero arcade signatures. No one has been able to replicate the phenomenon, nor has anyone been able to show why this phenomenon apparently happened to only Billy Mitchell and not literally anyone else ever.

Rather than tackle the scientific evidence which proves his guilt, Billy's defense has been to throw anything and everything at the wall and see what sticks. He claims the tapes being examined are forgeries (which is a lie). He claims someone named Dwayne Richard made fake MAME tapes to frame him (which was hilariously implausible, even before it was outright disproven). He claims to have impartial witnesses for his scores (many of whom turn out to be personal friends). He claims he has all sorts of ancillary media, video and photographs (which of course he's never published). He did publish three videos allegedly from the site of his 2010 score (and those videos were laughably fake). He claims that being able to post big scores on Donkey Kong today proves he didn't cheat 15 years ago (which it doesn't). And when he doesn't get his way, he literally sues the Internet for saying mean things about him.

If you are left with further questions, or would like to see any of these points elaborated on, please continue reading, as that topic is probably addressed below.


Before we get to the evidence, let's do an overview of the situation. This matter concerns the following four Billy Mitchell tape submissions for Donkey Kong, all "direct feed" recordings showing nothing but the game screen:

- 1,014,400, allegedly achieved in May 2003 at his friend Rob Childs' workshop in Fort Lauderdale;
- 1,047,200, allegedly achieved on either June 7, 2004, or "on or about December 28, 2004," also at Rob Childs' workshop;
- 1,050,200, allegedly achieved on July 13 or 14, 2007, at a mortgage brokers convention in Orlando;
- 1,062,800, allegedly achieved on July 31, 2010, at Boomers arcade in Dania Beach, Florida.

One of these (2007) was staged around an actual event, the annual convention of the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers. A good deal of effort was put into giving this spectacle a sense of legitimacy. There are stories of a circuit board sent to Nintendo for verification, of a mysterious Game Stop manager padlocking the board in place at the event. A few FAMB members (some of whom were personal friends of Billy) have said they saw him playing Donkey Kong there. Todd Rogers was on hand as an official referee (in accordance with Twin Galaxies adjudication rules at the time), and at least at the time his word was worth something. This is basically the extent of evidence in Billy's favor for any of these scores, and it does sound very nice and reassuring, until you discover the tape allegedly produced at that event could not have been produced by an actual Donkey Kong arcade cabinet. Then one starts to ask how many of these assurances were as genuine as they seem. (We'll get more into this FAMB event below.)

The later 2010 score was allegedly performed during a one (or was it two?) day session at Boomers arcade. The story is that Billy broke the Donkey Kong world record, took a dinner break, then came back to beat the Donkey Kong Junior world record the same day. Much less effort was put into this charade, with the only ancillary evidence being three short YouTube videos, which (as explained below) were hilariously faked. While we no longer have a complete copy of this game play, Billy did play tapes of his DK and DK Junior records on tilted televisions during a presentation at an event called the "Big Bang" in Ottumwa, Iowa the following weekend. Footage of this presentation from spectators is the only surviving evidence of the score we have access to.

The previous two scores didn't even bother with that much pretense, with the tapes simply appearing one day with no public explanation. TG referee Robert Mruczek did a detailed level-by-level score analysis of the 1.014m tape, but after Steve Wiebe's competing 1.006m score was disqualified (something about a gummy substance), Billy withdrew his 1.014m submission. The whereabouts of that tape are unknown. A copy of the submission tape for the 1.047m score did survive, and it, along with the submission tape for the mortgage brokers score, were later uploaded to YouTube. During the 2018 dispute, Jace Hall uploaded clean copies of both tapes, providing us with a complete look at Billy's game play. Note: We typically refer to Billy's "three" scores, meaning the two complete tapes and the one filmed at Big Bang, because there simply is no relevant evidence for the 1.014m.

Prosecuting any crime involves establishing means, motive and opportunity. As described below, the means was MAME, the emulator of choice for arcade games. Emulator tools like save states allow a player to redo levels as many times as they want until a desired outcome is achieved. Additionally, regular MAME allows these segments of recorded inputs to be replayed in whole, giving the illusion of uninterrupted play without the need to resort to video editing, which could be detectable. The opportunity in this case was Billy's ability to submit tapes and scores to Twin Galaxies with little scrutiny compared to his competitors.

The motive is a little trickier, in that none of us can truly get inside Billy Mitchell's head. Was he incapable of reaching these scores without cheating? Was he unwilling to invest the time required of his competitors to sit and legitimately grind out a score? Did he just want the accolades without the work? Was he an otherwise good player who simply decided the game owed him a favor (or four)? Did he prefer the spectacle of achieving scores at a certain time and place of his choosing? It should also be remembered that these weren't just world records. The 1.014m (later withdrawn) and the 1.047m were on track to be recognized as the first ever million point games of Donkey Kong. Did Billy want the assurance of locking up recognition for that milestone without leaving the matter up to chance? We can list many viable motives, but we can only guess which is most likely. Ultimately, only Billy can tell us why he chose to cheat. All we can do is show that he did.

With that out of the way, let's get to some evidence!


The big breakthrough in the Billy Mitchell case came with an evidence package published by Jeremy Young "xelnia" on February 2, 2018. This presentation was the result of the ways in which MAME and arcade draw "boards" (level screens) differently, resulting in what came to be known as "MAME signatures," identifiers which could never be produced by original Donkey Kong hardware.

TRANSITION SCREENS - Donkey Kong draws level screens in a fraction of a second, too quickly for the human eye to observe the process. While much of MAME Donkey Kong resembles its original arcade counterpart, the ways in which these screens are drawn are substantially different. The original arcade cabinet draws in a left-to-right sweep, while MAME draws in snapshots. (See a demonstration here.) This results in unique transition screens and identifiers on each of the four level "boards". Above is just one example of a transition screen that identifies MAME apart from arcade. As you see, arcade draws portions of five girders down the right side (a result of that left-to-right sweep), while MAME draws complete girders one by one, with MAME's snapshot coming halfway through the third. Of course, Billy's three scores each match MAME screens, and do not match arcade.

(When confronted with the above image, Billy likes to say those tapes were fabricated and don't belong to him. He's a liar. But we'll get to that later.)

THE GIRDER FINGER - The most noticeable MAME identifiers appear on the iconic "barrel" board. The third girder is captured halfway through rendering, which depending on MAME's settings results in this unique pointing figure which came to be called the "girder finger" (or sometimes "girder tail"). The girder finger became something of an unofficial mascot for the investigation, a big reddish flag that could be easily understood and latched on to. In truth, the initial MAME evidence presentation was much more concerned with how the levels were drawn to the screen than with that specific artifact. (That becomes relevant later.) In other words, what's important is not that "a" girder finger was found, but rather that that specific girder finger on that three-girder screen appears.

The girder finger itself appears several times in Billy's 1.047m and 1.05m tapes. While a clear shot of that small finger is not seen in available footage of the 1.062m score, the three girder screen is (as seen above). While the girder finger screen is not the only MAME signature, it has still proven too much for Team Billy to address. Despite numerous attempts by multiple parties, and despite a $1000 bounty offered by DK competitor Wes Copeland, no method was ever found of producing this particular girder finger on original hardware.

BARREL WITHOUT KONG - During the dispute, it was observed that when original hardware loads the barrel board, the blue oil barrel in the bottom corner is never rendered separately from Donkey Kong in the upper left. In several instances on Billy's tapes, the barrel is rendered before Kong, as is consistent with some versions of MAME. Note that this identifier is not definitive, in that a camera's "rolling shutter" effect (more on that below) has produced these frames from valid game play, but only when pointing an external camera at a TV or monitor. The frame depicting the barrel without Kong should never appear in an original direct feed, as Billy's submissions are supposed to be.

BARREL BEFORE BONUS - On original hardware, the "Bonus" timer in the upper right is always rendered before the barrel in the bottom left.  On earlier versions of MAME, the opposite is true: The barrel is loaded before the timer.  In Billy's submissions, the barrel is loaded before the timer.  This is much less likely to be caused by camera distortion, given that the barrel side of the screen would have to be a full two frames ahead of the timer side.

While there is a lot more evidence to cover, I want to stress that these loading screen discrepancies have never been explained by Billy, despite earnest attempts to do so. From a technical perspective, it's already "Game Over" for Billy's claims that his tapes were produced from an original unmodified Donkey Kong PCB. But we shall continue.

SCREEN ORIENTATION - Earlier MAME output at the wrong screen orientation from arcade direct feed, requiring a television to be tilted the wrong way. Billy's first two tapes are output in this incorrect fashion. In the dispute, this was acknowledged by Jace Hall as proof that, no matter what else, an undisclosed computer had to have processed the video. Billy's 2010 score displayed at Big Bang was oriented in the correct fashion, but since it shows other MAME signatures, it is likely the error was since caught and corrected with a simple line command in MAME.

Billy's June 2020 legal filings attempted to address this by way of an "Orientation assessment" written by Billy's latest technician, Neil Hernandez. This filing included the above dual-image as an example. (Hi Neil! Hi Billy!) In this write-up, Neil lists a few things which could have possibly caused the vertical output to be flipped, such as internal cables being reversed or the monitor being installed upside-down, suggesting that perhaps two of these unlikely events happened simultaneously (canceling each other so Billy could play his game right-side up) while the direct feed could have been installed between the two manufacturing errors. (Note of course these dual faults would have had to happen on both the different machines Billy used for his 1.047m and 1.05m, while neither could have happened for the 1.062m score, which was recorded right-side up.) Neil also casually suggests that maybe the engineer at Nintendo changed a bunch of parts on Billy's game board without ever disclosing it, causing the board to work improperly (which, again, magically reversed itself for the later score).


In addition to MAME signatures, there also exist a small number of "arcade signatures" - things which should only be observed in games played on an original arcade board. In the investigation into Billy's tapes, none of these arcade signatures, definitive or conditional, were observed. Each indicator pointed toward MAME. In fact, a few key elements which could have established arcade origin were conspicuously absent from the provided tapes.

RIVET RAMP - When the rivet board is completed, the blue girders underneath Kong collapse into a neat pile. On MAME, this stacking is instantaneous, providing no special "identifier" screen. However, on arcade, there is a transitional screen where portions of girders are rendered in the form of a crude ramp. This arcade signature frame is never observed in Billy's submissions.

NO AUDIO - The versions of MAME available at the time had incorrect sound effects for Donkey Kong, which would have been a dead giveaway. Instead, the submissions simply lack audio, despite the fact that the Two Bit Score converter has an option for audio output.

INCORRECT LOADING SCREEN - As with the incorrect sound effects, an incorrect loading screen would have been a dead giveaway for MAME. Original arcade produces a chaotic and semi-randomized mess which has come to be known as a "rug pattern", whereas MAME shows a grid of discolored zeros. Again, like the sound effect issue, the matter is avoided in Billy's tapes by simply never showing the loading screen, with the tape beginning with the game already running. While the absence of the loading screen and the audio are not conclusive proof of anything, it's such a shame that these obvious differences which would have helped settle the matter right away were somehow left off the tapes.


A few other oddities were observed about Billy's tapes.

GRAY BORDER - When the original submission tapes were tracked down by Twin Galaxies, TG head custodian Jace Hall noted that the 1.05m score included a partial gray border, visible only with a VCR capable of showing the "overscan" area outside the normal television boundary. It would appear to be a digital frame, overwritten partially on one side by the actual game play window. The border was not present on Billy's previous submission of 1.047m. While Billy's longtime technician friend, Rob Childs, had claimed the only piece of equipment involved in their direct feed capture (other than the DK cabinet and the VCR) was a converter produced by Two Bit Score, this border suggested at the very least a computer capture which was not disclosed. (Ironically, Billy's defense tries to suggest this is proof someone came along and edited his tapes later, as if someone drew little MAME signatures over his otherwise valid game play.)

RECORDING IN COLOR - One issue that came up during the dispute was the inability to record a VCR tape in color using the method described by Rob Childs. The signal out from the Donkey Kong cabinet, running through the Two Bit Score converter, was not up to VCR specifications, resulting in a semi-monochrome recording. Attempts by multiple parties, including Twin Galaxies, could not produce the desired color signal to match Billy's tapes. During the original dispute, Carlos Pineiro, a volunteer technician assisting "Team Billy" in researching the case, announced that he was able to produce a color signal after replacing some dried out components on the Two Bit Score board. But what was not disclosed until much later was that, in order to record in color, someone had to press their finger down on the converter chip the entire time of the recording (possibly increasing electrical resistance). Jace Hall rightly considered this a "modification of the claimed process used", and reiterated their confidence that the process described by Rob Childs could not have produced a full color recording without modification.

GAME SPEED - Billy's tapes actually run a tiny bit slower than genuine Donkey Kong game play when paired side by side. For instance, on the King of Kong DVD extras, when paired against Steve Wiebe's tape, Billy's bonus timer ticks down slightly more slowly, most noticeably on the elevator stage. The flashing "1UP" also desyncs from Wiebe's tape, even though both are started at the same time.


The objective nature of the MAME-versus-arcade evidence was the proverbial smoking gun, proving to the public what many had already known. However, a number of other items had aroused suspicion over the years. While none of these are as definitive as the MAME evidence, they help illustrate the extent to which this hoax was perpetrated.

FAKE BOARD SWAP VIDEO - Part of the package of public evidence for Billy's 2010 score included three YouTube videos allegedly taken the day of his achievement at Boomers. Unfortunately for Billy, there's no getting around the fact that these videos are poorly staged and misrepresentative. For instance, in one video, purporting to occur just after Billy achieved his DK Junior score, Billy quickly backs up to block the arcade cabinet which should be showing his high score.

The most egregious of the three was the "board swap" video, depicting his technician friend Rob Childs swapping the circuit boards between Billy's games of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. However, both circuit boards shown are of DK Junior (likely the same board both times), with no original Donkey Kong board present. When this discrepancy was first pointed out, Childs replaced the audio with royalty free music to cover his own narration in the video. The unedited version was saved and later re-uploaded, but amidst all the legal threats in 2020, both versions were later set to private. As to what's seen in the video, Billy was forced to admit the board swap video was a stunt, filmed hours later, using the same arcade cabinet he claims he had achieved his scores on earlier. It was noted in the dispute that the cabinet showed no indication of any direct feed setup.

The problems with these videos didn't end there. The September 2019 evidence packet included signed statements from both Billy Mitchell and Rob Childs saying that the board swap video was done at the conclusion of Donkey Kong Junior (the latter of Billy's two claimed world records that day). Billy's statement adds that the DK Junior score ended some time around midnight. The problem is, the third video features Billy talking about having already broken the records: "It was a little slow getting started, but when the records came, they came." That's fine, except that this video was clearly filmed during full daylight, with bright exit doors visible behind Rob. They don't expect us to believe they all reconvened the next day, all wearing the same clothes as before, all to film a video which (based on the title "moments after breaking the Donkey Kong record") they would have to admit was staged anyway, do they?

NO PHOTOS - It is often customary for arcade players, after great gaming achievements, to get a photo of themselves with the cabinet showing their score, or even just of the score itself. However, no such photos exist at the sites of Billy's achievements. In fact, no photos have been published from any bystanders, despite claims that these feats were witnessed by large crowds who cheered and clapped. 2010 in particular was the era of the iPhone, and yet not one person thought to pull out their phone and photograph the occasion, nor to post it to social media? Billy has repeatedly claimed the existence of various photos and videos showing the crowds of onlookers, but none have been published as the staged videos were.

THE KONG OFF - Starting in 2011, several top Donkey Kong competitors were brought together to play in a high score tournament called the "Kong Off". Billy Mitchell, star of King of Kong, had been recognized as the on-and-off record holder over the years, and thus was naturally expected to play. However, his Kong Off performances never resembled his tape submissions, either in game play style or in scoring potential, raising yet more suspicion in the DK community.

EXCESSIVE LUCK - One might ask how the same person who was trailing the pack in live competition was able to produce world records allegedly at the drop of a hat. A careful analysis of Billy's 1.05m game revealed an astronomical string of luck pertaining to points from blue barrel smashes, with Billy consistently getting values higher than the average. The odds of getting his level of luck related to smash points were calculated to be in the 99.7th percentile. While a world record will always be a statistical outlier, world records by other top players were found to have middling luck with regards to hammer smashes, with a previous record of Robbie Lakeman's being as low as 21st percentile. Billy's "strategy", such as it was, would appear to have been getting as many of these smashes as possible, while relying on absurdly lucky yields from these smashes throughout the game. This luck is the kind of feature an emulator could provide, allowing a player to replay a level over and over until the desired outcome is achieved.

SUSPICIOUS GAME PLAY - In addition to the absurd luck, Billy's tapes also exhibited suspicious strategies and game play indicating a likely reliance on save state use. In some cases, deaths were needlessly risked deep into a world record run (such as by jumping into an approaching fireball). In other cases, strategies were employed which normally risk backfiring, either by death or by loss of points nullifying the strategy's gains, but which rarely actually backfired for Billy. Normally, the climb to the fifth girder directly under Kong (see: "Danger Zone") is precarious and requires careful timing, due to Kong's tendency to throw wild barrels while the player is on a ladder. However, Billy takes these moments casually, with these needless risks again never backfiring. An unusual strategy is also employed on the rivet boards, with Billy aggressively accumulating hammer smashes in situations most players find too hazardous. As with the luck, these all point to the ability to replay levels at will, nullifying the dangers honest competitors must account for.

VERIFIED WITHOUT REVIEW - Billy Mitchell's longtime connections to Twin Galaxies and its founder Walter Day afforded him privileged access to score adjudication. In 2004, while speaking at a New York City event in his capacity as an affiliate of TG, Billy announced that his 1.014m was the new world record and the first score of over one million points. This came as a surprise to TG staff, who had not received any such submission from Billy. All this despite the fact that Wiebe had submitted his million point game first, and despite the fact that Billy himself would later withdraw his submission after a reason was found to disqualify Wiebe's. In 2006, Wiebe's 1.049m (seen at the end of King of Kong) was subjected to scrutiny over a break in continuity between the game play and the filming of the circuit board, whereas Billy's tape was accepted despite showing no peripherals whatsoever. Lastly, Billy's 1.062m was accepted by a vote among TG staff, none of whom had actually watched the submission tape.  (More on the verification of that score and the referees involved below.)

THE MAGAZINE - This item's a bit odd, but certainly enough to raise an eyebrow. A complete issue of Video Game Collector magazine was available at the "Big Bang" event in 2010, where Billy's two new records on Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. were announced. This magazine featured the new records extensively, including a dedicated cover (although they did get Billy's DK Junior record wrong). Inside was an interview with Billy, alluding to a major feat he had achieved "last week", to be announced at Ottumwa. The problem is, allegedly, those scores were literally achieved "last week". The alleged date of the Boomers score was July 30, while the date of the announcement in Ottumwa, complete with magazine, was Saturday, August 7. Even if the achievement was the day before Billy spoke in that interview, that's incredibly short turnaround on laying out and printing a professional magazine with seven internal pages and three alternate covers dedicated to the Billy Mitchell / Steve Wiebe / Twin Galaxies theme. The magazine announcement of "new world records" was also authorized solely by Billy, with TG officials having yet to weigh in on the scores' verification status. For whatever it's worth, Video Game Collector Magazine was published by Shawn Paul Jones, Billy's longtime manager/agent. While this magazine is not solid proof of anything, it adds to the notion that Billy's inner circle were aware of his new "world record" scores before he allegedly achieved them.


We'll get into the bulk of Team Billy's rebuttals in a moment, but for now, let's talk about the TG dispute process. Since Billy's people have been woefully unable to address the objective MAME evidence, or to provide a reasonable explanation for why the only ancillary media from these supposed events was completely fake, Billy has instead taken to portraying the Twin Galaxies dispute process as unfair, or even biased against him personally. While this is not actually relevant to the question of whether Billy cheated (hence why he likes to focus on it instead of the evidence), it's worth discussing briefly.

"HOW TRANSPARENT WAS THE PROCESS?" - While the final "verdict" was decided by a unanimous vote among TG administrative staff, the process along the way was very open and informative. The dispute discussion was conducted on a public Internet thread, which anyone with a registered site account could immediately post to. Evidence had to be posted to the public dispute thread to be considered in TG's decision. In other words, TG was not basing their decision on secret evidence withheld from the public. Also important was that any technical assertions had to be replicated and verified by other parties. Someone couldn't just claim to have produced the "girder finger" on arcade hardware; they had to explain how they did it and show others how to replicate it themselves. (Of course, under those terms, nobody stepped up to claim they had done it.)

TG held a standard that the scores would only be removed if it could be objectively proven the evidence supporting them was not authentic, which is exactly what happened. Note that this is in contrast to other Twin Galaxies score disputes, most notably the infamous Todd Rogers Dragster dispute, which was allowed to drag on for months too long after Todd's record was proven impossible. For all of Billy's complaints of unfair treatment, his dispute was the most thoroughly examined and the most professionally administered. He was found guilty because the evidence was conclusive.

"WAS BILLY ALLOWED TO PRESENT A DEFENSE?" - The position of Twin Galaxies was that Billy's presence was not required, as his scores would only be removed if it could be proven conclusively that the evidence used to authenticate them in the first place (the tapes) were proven to be fake. That said, Billy was still allowed to submit anything he wanted in his defense, as long as he post it to the public dispute thread so it could be evaluated by the community. Billy did try to submit things (like witness statements) to Jace privately, but afterward complained that the requirement to post evidence to a public forum presented too big of a burden.

"DID TWIN GALAXIES SUPPRESS EVIDENCE IN BILLY'S FAVOR?" - Given that the evidence was collected in a public Internet thread, being watched at all hours of the day and night by various interested parties, which any registered user could immediately add to without preemptive moderation, it would have been very hard for Jace Hall to suppress Billy-favorable evidence without people seeing it.

"WAS TWIN GALAXIES LOOKING FOR A REASON TO REMOVE BILLY'S SCORES?" - This is another allegation coming straight from Billy's mouth. It's hard to take it seriously, given that the dispute was opened in August 2017, strictly on the basis that the corroborating board swap video was faked. The dispute sat open for months, with no action by TG administration. They only opened an investigation when the damning MAME evidence was published in February, 2018.

"DID TWIN GALAXIES MOVE THE GOALPOSTS?" - During a presentation at Southern Fried Gaming Expo in 2018, Billy gave this elaborate description of how Twin Galaxies allegedly moved the "goalposts". In reality, the dispute goalposts never moved. Some elements of technical analysis were explored and later abandoned, such as some unusual behavior of the flashing "1UP" which was deemed inconclusive. There were also discussions on whether the Two Bit Score converter could record in color. However, the core of the dispute never changed. The goal was always to see if genuine arcade hardware could be used to produce the MAME screens or MAME signatures seen on Billy's tapes, whether through the converter they claimed to have used, or through any means. No such method was ever found by anyone on any side.

"WHAT BROUGHT THE DISPUTE TO A CONCLUSION?" - During the course of the dispute, Billy had a small team of friends and volunteers working to establish the legitimacy of his submission tapes, which he was simultaneously claiming weren't his tapes after all. (More on that below.) Among them was Carlos Pineiro, a former Gameworks technician. At the time, Pineiro believed Billy and sought to produce evidence to exonerate him. However, Pineiro's work with an actual Donkey Kong cabinet still produced screen transitions consistent with established arcade transitions, and not consistent with the transitions seen on Billy's tapes. Eventually, Billy's own volunteer technician was forced to conclude the tapes could not have originated from authentic Donkey Kong hardware. While Twin Galaxies and interested third party Chris Gleed each did tests on Donkey Kong arcade equipment to verify the dispute assertions as well, as Billy's representative, this conclusion by Pineiro (posted two days prior to the verdict) featured prominently in Twin Galaxies' decision announcement.

The Carlos Pineiro story does get more complicated a year later, when he was coerced into signing a brief statement retracting his conclusion. However, Carlos later explained this statement was not presented in good faith. After hours of contention, Carlos signed the statement despite his objections and misgivings, in a misguided attempt to exempt himself from any potential lawsuit (which he says Billy was actively threatening him with), and under the belief that the statement would never be made public. Once that statement was immediately made public without his consent, he met with his lawyer and with Billy, signing a second such statement, which he also now disavows. Carlos has since clarified, including in recent court filings, that he does, in fact, stand behind his original conclusion.

(Billy is also now claiming Carlos never represented him in the first place, but as we show below, that's another lie.)


Before we get to Billy's rebuttals and deflections, let's address a few legitimate questions a curious bystander might have about this case.

"WHY ARE SOME OF THE TRANSITION SCREENS INCONCLUSIVE?" - One might wonder, if Billy's tapes originated from MAME, shouldn't all the screen transitions be definitively from MAME? There are actually many reasons why a given screen transition would appear inconclusive. First of all, the different pieces of equipment are not always operating at the same frequency (how many times they act per second), resulting in potentially lost frames. Some formats and platforms, including YouTube, employ video compression which can blend different frames together in unique ways. Another effect to be wary of is called "rolling shutter", where pieces of different frames are captured together in one sweep of the camera. Rolling shutter is introduced any time an external camera is aimed at a television or monitor, as is the case for early leaked copies of Billy's tapes available on YouTube, as well as some early misguided attempts to verify the dispute claims. Experts can often tease apart how these different distortions affect one another and the original images, but without that expertise, the garbled mess simply appears inconclusive. While many of the transitions on Billy's tapes appear inconclusive due to these distortions, many others are precisely consistent with identified MAME screens, and none are indicative of arcade origin.

"ISN'T MAME LEGAL?" - For many years, emulators like MAME have been legal in competition. Some score tracking organizations like Twin Galaxies have separate leaderboards for emulation, while Donkey Kong Forum lists MAME and arcade scores together. The difference is largely a matter of preference, with some players opting for the purity of original hardware. What aren't a matter of preference, however, are the strict protocols involved in verifying emulator scores, due to the myriad ways emulators can be manipulated. Only certain versions of MAME are allowed, and input files must be sent as part of the evidence package. One cannot simply move Billy's scores over to the MAME leaderboard, as some of his defenders have suggested. There is no resolving or verifying a score, recorded via playback, achieved on an unknown version of MAME, with many red flags and no supporting evidence, which the submitter insists was never done on MAME in the first place.

"BUT ISN'T BILLY A GOOD PLAYER?" - I'm not normally in the habit of praising cheaters, but sure, Billy is very good at Donkey Kong. The point of the dispute was not to assess whether Billy Mitchell was a talented player. The point was to assess whether he cheated (which he did).

There's a misconception that only bad players cheat. Therefore, if someone cheats, it must be because they're bad at the game. In truth, there are many reasons players cheat. Lance Armstrong and Mark McGwire were certainly good at their sports, but they still cheated. Some great players cheat because being great isn't enough to them; they can only accept being (seen as) the very best. Other times, competitors cheat not due to talent but because they aren't willing to put in the necessary work and make the necessary sacrifices. What gives one player the right to skip the months of score-grinding fairly required of their competitors? While the early days of competitive video gaming were a wild west of myths and lies, I struggle to imagine a modern day scoreboard that operates on the basis that someone need only show they're very good at a game before they can lay claim to any current and historical achievements they want.

This is an attempt by Billy and his supporters to reframe the question away from the objective examination of evidence, and toward a more subjective and malleable question of talent. Instead of asking "Did Billy lie and fabricate evidence to put a claimed score on the scoreboard?", Billy wants us to ask "Why would Billy cheat if he's good enough that he wouldn't have to?" The answer to that question is that the cheating is simply proven. Perhaps, as indicated by the bizarre game play on his tapes, he didn't know how to score one million at the time without chicanery. Perhaps he knew the secrets but was unable to consistently execute on them. Or maybe he was simply impatient and unwilling to dedicate the time and focus required to grind out a valid score. Only Billy can explain why he chose to cheat. All we can do is prove that he did.

"DIDN'T BILLY RECREATE ALL HIS CONTESTED SCORES?" - This is a more specific variation of the last item, so all the general arguments still apply. But there are more problems with this claim.

The first, most obvious one, is that none of his scores were "recreated", no matter how many times Billy and his supporters say otherwise. Yes, since the 2018 dispute Billy has streamed games on Twitch, which appear to be genuine, and yes, he has scored over one million a few times. But his "recreated" scores leave a lot to be desired. He never attempted to recreate the 1.014m score, the 1.047m score he overshot by 300 points due to a stray fireball, an untimely death caused the 1.05m attempt to come up 100 points short, and after two years of attempts he didn't even bother "recreating" the 1.062m score, zooming past it when he finally had the opportunity. (The above image from Billy was meant to commemorate his "redoing" his 1,050,200 score.) One might say "Well, it's close enough," except that Billy himself is out bragging about how he showed up his detractors by hitting his contested scores, in his own words, "exactly on the head".

But this is about more than just misrepresenting approximate recreations as exact. The original scores were meant to be demonstrations of overwhelming prowess, including the ability to hit exact scores on demand (such as getting exactly 100,000 more than Steve Wiebe), before flippantly killing off his multiple remaining lives, something which actual game luck has prevented him from so effortlessly doing. It should also be pointed out that, unsurprisingly, the game play Billy uses for these million point scores now is significantly different than in Billy's MAME submissions, relying on proven strategies (and more advanced knowledge of the game) rather than the hope of getting absurd luck and never dying in live arcade play.

But the biggest indictment of this claim has to do with something called score pace. Think of score pace like timing splits for a speedrunner. A comparison of Billy's 1.092m score of June 2020 to his contested 1.05m and 1.062m scores of yesteryear shows the old scores to be significantly ahead going into level 21. His 2007 tape was 5,200 points ahead at that point, and his 2010 score (from the footage seen at Big Bang) was 29,600 points ahead. Of course, Billy killed those scores off almost immediately, wasting multiple lives both times, with neither of those games even passing the first board of level 21, whereas in his 2020 score, Billy kept playing through to the kill screen. The only way in which Billy has "recreated" his contested performances is in attempting to arrive at the same final score, regardless of how he got there or how long it took, and he couldn't even do that right.

"WHY DID TG REMOVE ALL OF BILLY'S SCORES, EVEN PAC-MAN?" - When it comes to striking cheaters from any scoreboard, there are two schools of thought. One approach is to try to remove only the bogus scores while preserving any valid ones for the historical record. For instance, when Donkey Kong Forum removed Billy's cheated scores, they reverted his best score to 933,900, which was achieved live at Midwest Gaming Classic in 2004. Donkey Kong Forum is organized by experts in the Donkey Kong arcade franchise, and they felt confident the 2004 score was historically legitimate. The other approach taken by many leaderboards is to simply remove all of a cheater's scores entirely. This achieves a few things: It reduces the number of bogus scores from known liars that are allowed to stand simply because there's not enough proof against those particular scores, it saves the moderators' time and energy trying to tease apart which of a cheater's runs are valid and which are not, and it serves as a penalty to discourage cheating. The current Twin Galaxies has for years had a policy that deliberate cheating warrants a lifetime ban, and Billy Mitchell has not been the only player to see all their scores removed on the basis of cheating. While striking potentially valid runs can be considered anti-historical in a sense, the same could be said of banning a player from future submissions. A line simply has to be drawn somewhere for the sake of scoreboard integrity, lest a cheater continue to submit bogus runs in the hope some of them cannot be proven illegitimate. And in drawing such a line, there is no reason to give proven cheaters the benefit of the doubt. Trust is critical, and if someone has shown themselves capable of falsifying a submission, without the offender's contrition, there is no reason to believe that any of their other submissions, also based on trust, are not also falsified in some way. Moral of the story: If you don't want your scores removed, don't cheat.

"WHY DID GUINNESS REINSTATE BILLY'S SCORES?" - Why, indeed? The evidence to substantiate the scores was proven fraudulent, the corroborating evidence was also staged, witnesses were caught demonstrably lying (we'll get to that below), and the only competitive gaming scoreboard who still recognized his scores, a longtime partner with Guinness, disqualified him and no longer recognized his claims. So why did Guinness choose to ignore all that and forge their own path?

The honest answer to this question is, we don't entirely know. What we do know, as asserted by Billy's court filings, is that A) Guinness was supplied with evidence only under threat of lawsuit if they didn't arrive at Billy's preferred decision, and B) Guinness was supplied with the same September 2019 evidence packet that was supplied to Twin Galaxies (which TG chose to publish in the dispute thread). In stark contrast to TG's open dispute process and evidence collection, Guinness didn't highlight specific pieces of evidence, nor did it elaborate on how it reconciled vague witness statements with the evidence proving the submission tapes could not have been produced from a genuine arcade cabinet. While some have construed Guinness' statement to mean they conducted hardware tests (and that these mysterious closed door tests were somehow nearly as competent and as exhaustive as the tests publicly documented by multiple parties in the TG dispute thread), it is quite doubtful Guinness conducted any such tests with any arcade equipment at all, with the statement likely referring to Billy's own "hardware verification" included in his evidence packet. (More on that below.) Guinness also didn't reconcile Billy's and Walter Day's claims that the 1.047m score was never intended as a score submission with the fact that Billy now sought recognition for that score as the first million point game of Donkey Kong. (I'll get more into that later.) Guinness also didn't seek out any dispute participants (including the knowledgeable author of this lengthy post) for rebuttal to Billy's claims in the evidence packet, some of which were blatant and provable lies and many others of which are easily addressed. Naturally, in his legal briefs, Billy's lawyers talk up Guinness' supposedly superior investigative powers while disparaging Twin Galaxies' dispute process, when in reality, the latter was infinitely more transparent.

It's possible Guinness simply deferred to the judgment of former TG owner Walter Day, who has worked with Guinness going back to the '80s. Day still stands behind his longtime friend Billy (even being nice enough to lie to the court on his behalf). It's possible they caved simply because didn't want to be sued. It's possible Guinness decided Billy would be a better friend than Jace. It's possible Billy simply paid for Guinness' recognition (a not uncommon practice). It could have been Guinness' natural affinity for narcissistic con men. But it certainly was not on the basis that Billy's evidence was that compelling - not unless the people at Guinness really are that gullible.

(Also disturbing is that Guinness coordinated their announcement with Billy and may have even assisted in his attempts to sue a gaming scorekeeper, but that's a whole 'nother story.)

« Last Edit: September 20, 2022, 11:03:23 am by ersatz_cats »
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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2020, 09:13:02 pm »

As these things go, there were many attempts to shift the discussion into something other than a look at the objective evidence, or to get people to buy into unsubstantiated claims. (Note: The following bullet point items are paraphrases, and not direct quotes.)

"THERE WERE WITNESSES." - Out of all of Billy's lackluster rebuttals, the first and most important to address are the first-hand witnesses (both real and imaginary). Since witnesses are the only thing Billy really has going for him, his approach has been to promote them above everything else. In his SFGE presentation, Mr. Mitchell dismissed the prospect of scientific evidence, declaring "Both sides always have scientific [evidence]. It always comes down to eyewitness testimony." This was a rhetorical trick to mask the fact that he does not, in fact, have any compelling scientific evidence on his behalf of any kind. Billy has continued with this strategy in his lawsuit, suggesting that witness testimony itself is enough to prove authentic arcade hardware can produce the MAME screens on his tapes.

With the King of Kong on its way to theaters in 2007, along with Billy's repeated announcements that one should play live in front of witnesses, the tape submissions weren't going to cut it anymore. But rather than choose a gaming convention or tournament at which he most certainly would have been welcome, he chose the yearly convention of the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers. Aside from the designated referee (who we'll get to later), none of these mortgage brokers were qualified to adjudicate competitive video gaming. If I attended a sumo wrestling competition, I could certainly say I saw what happened and that a sumo contest did indeed occur, but I'd be hard-pressed to identify any improper procedures or fouls or records achieved by either competitor. Even if these non-gaming witnesses were impartial and totally honest, their testimony is not reliable when placed against a scientific examination of the objective permanent evidence (hence why Jace was much more interested in studying the tapes).

It's also fair to ask what these witnesses' personal relationship is to Billy, or how trustworthy they actually are. In his lawsuit filings, Billy includes a statement from Richard Mallion, a witness to his 2007 score. The statement seems nice and impartial, until you discover that Richard Mallion and Billy Mitchell went to high school together, even appearing opposite each other in their yearbook. (Oh, and whatever you do, don't google "Richard Mallion Florida". Don't do that.)

Recall also the story of Carlos Pineiro above. He was badgered into signing a statement he didn't agree with, and even threatened with a lawsuit if he didn't comply. We only know his story due to his connections in the gaming community. Were these mortgage brokers similarly "impartial" when presented with prepared statements for them to sign?

Beyond old high school friends willing to claim they witnessed Billy's incredible achievements, Billy likes to cite crowds of people, all gathered behind him, watching, cheering him on, filming, and taking pictures. Somehow, none of these pictures or videos from parties unrelated to Billy have ever emerged, despite earnest attempts to track them down. Random people who filmed the Big Bang event did provide their footage, but none from these supposed crowds at these actual events. Did they not allow cameras inside the mortgage brokers convention? Did nobody have camera phones at Boomers in 2010?

There's a reason Billy sweepingly dismisses scientific evidence in favor of malleable witness statements from friends. Ultimately, the surviving objective evidence of the submitted video tapes, and the fact that those tapes conclusively could not have originated from authentic arcade hardware, trumps what Billy's friends think they saw or are willing to say they saw.

"IT WAS VERIFIED BY REFEREE." - This brings us to the designated referee(s) present for the 2007 and 2010 scores. The submission rules were a bit murkier under previous iterations of Twin Galaxies. The website only offered advice on how to submit scores by videotape, however allowances were granted to certified TG referees to adjudicate scores at live events, under the assumption that such events would be legitimate. Billy's 1.047 million was verified by video (more on that later), however his later 1.05 million score, allegedly achieved at a FAMB (mortgage brokers) convention, listed the verification method as "referee."

Historically, Todd Rogers was the only live referee indicated for this score. (That TG article does reference two expert referees who would later verify the submission tape.) Former TG head referee Robert Mruczek, that same month, suggests in multiple ways that Todd was the only referee for this event. (That was when Mruczek still trusted his longtime TG colleagues.) Heck, even Todd himself offered an account (seen above), trying to emphasize the extent to which Billy went to authenticate this score, while only citing himself as the referee.

While Todd used to be an official Twin Galaxies referee, his credibility has since fallen on hard times. In 2017, many of his former records were found to be either highly implausible or outright impossible, with the most famous being his claim of a time of 5.51 seconds on Dragster. Days before the MAME evidence package was published in this case, all of Todd's scores were removed from Twin Galaxies and Guinness on the basis that he had fraudulently self-entered scores. In other words, Todd lied for years about video game achievements, which makes his testimony in defense of his longtime friend fairly worthless.

It's perhaps for this reason that more recent witness statements have attempted to place a second referee at the site of the FAMB event, that referee being Todd's girlfriend Kimberly "Morningdove" Mahoney. In her signed statement, Mahoney claims to have been a TG referee from 2003 to 2012. However, further research shows that Mahoney was not added to TG's referee list until August 2008, even though the list was regularly updated over the years. Her presence at the event has also never been cited prior to these legal challenges. Maybe it's possible she was present at the event with Todd, but with all contemporary documentation emphasizing Todd alone, and with her absence from the official referee list, her supposed role in official adjudication of this score has all the signs of being a retcon.

Billy's 2010 score, featuring the faked videos filmed at Boomers (in which you can briefly see Morningdove dart away from the camera), involved the same stunt of simply having friends act as referees to spot-verify the score. However, by then, Donkey Kong submission rules had changed. This deviation of adjudication processes did not sit well with top TG staff, who reportedly wanted Billy's score to be subjected to the same review process as his competitors. However, after threats from Billy (as reported by multiple parties), the score was accepted by secret ballot among TG staff, who had not actually been allowed to review the tape prior to their vote.

So a referee who may not have been a referee at the time, and another referee with a severe credibility problem, both swear they saw their friend (who likes to threaten adjudicators with retaliation) achieve a Donkey Kong world record, while the only surviving objective evidence says otherwise. These circumstances already don't instill much faith in the adjudication of these scores. Either way, as before, the permanent objective evidence supersedes the word of partisan witnesses.

"THE BOARD WAS CERTIFIED BY NINTENDO." - One of Billy's responses to the MAME evidence has been to emphasize that he only plays on authentic hardware, and thus he explicitly suggests this alone is proof that an arcade board can produce MAME transitions. For his 2010 score, he relies only on witness statements from people who assure the reader there was a Donkey Kong game in the vicinity of Billy Mitchell around the time he claims to have played his back-to-back Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior games. For his 2007 score, Billy claims to have mailed the circuit board to Nintendo to have it verified by a technician. He has produced photos of the shipping label and the very box he claims to have used. The story of how that board arrived at the FAMB event has changed over time. In 2007, MTV reported that the board was sent to Billy, who brought it to the FAMB event, while someone filmed its installation and removal. In later retellings, the board was sent directly to a mysterious local Game Stop manager, who installed it and padlocked the cabinet without the board ever touching Billy's hands. This Game Stop manager has never been named, nor has any of this supposed video corroborating the board's installation ever been produced. In fact, no photos or videos of the FAMB event have been published. Ultimately, while one may grant that a Donkey Kong cabinet was probably present at the FAMB event, aside from the testimony of Billy's friends, there is simply no proof any actual board was used to produce the video tape. What we do know, thanks to the surviving submission tape, is that the video submitted could not have originated from a legitimate arcade board, whether verified by a Nintendo technician or not.

One other note on this board certification: In a recent court filing, Billy stated: "Following this re-verification, Shirk mailed me the hardware through UPS, and to this day, I retain the box of this final shipment with the associated shipping label and tracking number." Billy even included a photo of the box itself. This guy wants us to believe that he keeps shipping boxes for over a decade, just in case they might be useful in authenticating his Donkey Kong records, but doesn't keep any copies of actual tapes of those world records which he insists be historically recognized.

"WHAT IF BILLY PLAYED ON A MODIFIED OR BOOTLEG BOARD?" - To be clear, this defense does not come from Billy himself, who always bristles at the notion that his competitive games were played on anything but original, authentic arcade hardware. But you occasionally hear this from Billy's surrogates, in an apparent attempt to throw possibilities at the wall to see what sticks (sometimes even mere moments after stressing that the board Billy used was certified authentic by Nintendo). The question is, is it possible Billy simply walked up to an ordinary, legitimate looking Donkey Kong cabinet that had something other than an authentic arcade PCB hooked up inside? If so, it could be argued, the games Billy played could be legitimate one-time playthroughs, even if the product resembles MAME through no fault of his own.

Note that because a direct feed would have been involved, this gets much more complicated than at first blush. Despite what Walter Day puzzlingly claimed in his letter to Guinness on behalf of Billy, there have been emulation arcade cabinets for decades. Some of these have even been installed in cabinets built for original games. But cabinets running MAME have been shown to produce the same non-arcade transition screens as MAME on your computer does - understandably, as that is the process MAME uses to draw level boards. For this "bootleg board" defense to hold water, you'd have to have a theoretical impostor PCB, which has architecture different enough from arcade to draw boards in a completely different fashion from the real thing (drawing in snapshots rather than a left-to-right sweep), while at the same time being similar enough to original arcade to fool the technicians hooking it up to direct feed, assuming it was even capable of being hooked up to that feed in the intended fashion at all. You then have to remember the screen orientation issue. Were the monitors on the 2004 and 2007 cabinets Billy used installed upside-down, accommodating an upside-down signal from this "bootleg" board, but then the 2010 monitor was right-side up, and at the same time something magically happened to this bootleg board to make the 2010 direct feed output right-side up as well? Obviously, no examples of such a board or setup are ever provided, so it becomes an exercise in wild speculation, akin to dreaming of finding a rainbow unicorn on a snowy summer day. Even if such a board was found, it could not be reconciled with Billy's stories of hardware verification. Lastly, while straw-grasping speculation might hypothetically address some of the technical MAME evidence above, it does nothing to address the mountain of circumstantial evidence which also points to shenanigans.

"TWIN GALAXIES SAID IT WASN'T MAME." - You occasionally hear this from some of Billy's supporters, but this is a misrepresentation. Twin Galaxies did not say the tapes weren't MAME; they said they couldn't prove it was MAME, but that they could prove the tapes did not originate from authentic arcade hardware, which was all they needed to prove. What's more, the reason TG said they weren't comfortable declaring the tapes were MAME was because they would have to rule out other emulators, or even the possibility that the video was created out of whole cloth using video effects software. Lost on Billy's supporters is that there was a certain dry humor to that remark by TG, given that neither of those would exonerate Billy, and the latter theory would be a hilarious stretch. On a fundamental level, the actual weapon is not as important as the crime itself. Regardless, MAME is far and away the most likely tool one would have used, and is an exact match for the evidence we have.

"THE VERSION OF MAME THEY SAID I USED DIDN'T EXIST YET." - Recall above how I explained that the "girder finger" was not considered a critical part of the original MAME evidence package when it was first published. What was important was that MAME drew complete girders one by one (with the snapshot cycle interrupting the third girder halfway through), while arcade drew portions of five girders along the right side. What would come to be known as the "girder finger" was present, but not identified as a critical element until later. (It has, of course, confounded Billy's techs all the same; it just wasn't the singular linchpin some observers made it out to be.)

Billy's 1.047m and 1.05m tapes had the girder finger screen appear multiple times. However, halfway through the dispute, a flaw was identified in the original MAME evidence presentation. That particular screen only appears by default when MAME is set to a refresh rate of 60.6hz. The versions of MAME available when Billy produced his tapes (running at 60hz default) have a slightly different default transition screen (seen above), still with three girders, but with the third girder more fully drawn. Once this was identified, it took less than a day for dispute participants to track down this discrepancy, and to show how a simple change to MAME's refresh rate (perhaps in an attempt to match arcade or due to a preexisting MAME player's preference) does produce the exact girder finger screen on versions of MAME going back to 2001.

While it was a technical oversight in the original evidence presentation, Billy and his defenders seem more interested in harping on this peculiarity as a way of dismissing the totality of the MAME evidence outright. Billy's tapes are still an exact match for MAME, and they still do not match arcade either way. Technicians still haven't been able to reproduce the three-girder screen from original Donkey Kong hardware, with or without the girder finger. Of course, this hasn't stopped Billy from continuing to mislead.


A number of Team Billy's stories have changed over time, a phenomenon that somehow got even worse when legal threats started flying.

WHERE DID THE 1.047M HAPPEN? - In a 2016 interview, Billy claimed his 1.047m submission was done "at a convention". Starting in 2018, he claimed that same score was done "at Rob's arcade" (referring to Rob Childs' arcade repair business). And of that same score, in the movie King of Kong Billy said "I'm doing it just for the fun of it. When I do an actual score, I'll do it in person." (That was before choosing to submit it, anyway - more on that in a moment.)

WHERE WAS PETE? - Another changing story regards the presence of then-owner of Twin Galaxies Pete Bouvier for the 2010 score. In 2010, Billy said multiple times that Bouvier was not in attendance. However in 2018, after Bouvier's passing, the story from Billy and his team became that Bouvier was there for the million point rollover as well as to shake Billy's hand at the conclusion of his game.

WHO SET UP THE DIRECT FEED? - In February 2018, with the score dispute gaining traction, Billy's longtime friend and technician Rob Childs posted to Donkey Kong Forum a tech analysis, describing himself as "a witness to the event and technician who performed the game/equipment set-up for Billy Mitchell", while giving a detailed description of the specific setup used. So confident was Childs in his work that he offered a $5,000 bounty to anyone willing to come to his shop and prove his described setup does not produce the intended results. A year and a half later though, his tune changed. When called to provide written testimony for Billy's legal threat, he now knew "very little" about the direct feed setup, which apparently his technicians (who can't be located) set up on his behalf. He now claims he "did not have a part in the set-up of these performances, because my employees had already done it," while lamenting that Twin Galaxies "twisted" his previous statements to suggest he knew more about the setup than he did.

"JOEL WEST AND CARLOS PINEIRO NEVER REPRESENTED ME" - Billy probably wasn't happy with the legal threats of his now deceased friend Joel West, and he certainly isn't happy with Carlos' conclusion that Billy's tapes could not have been produced by authentic arcade hardware. So instead, Billy has disavowed both of them. Specifically, in his recent court filings, Billy now says that he denied to Jace Hall that others spoke on his behalf, going so far as to call TG defense statements to the opposite effect "a lie". Billy also says he never provided Pineiro "equipment or compensation of any form", that he never asked for a deadline extension during the dispute, and that there never was a "Team Billy".

Unfortunately for Billy, the permanent record disagrees with him. There's Billy telling Jace that Joel West absolutely was speaking for him, and clarifying that Carlos was heading up his technical efforts, while also confirming that they were indeed asking for more time. (More on that text in a moment.) Here was the late Joel West, in his capacity as Billy's spokesperson, announcing recent findings of "Team Billy". Here's Billy providing Carlos with a television for his testing. Here's Steve Kleisath, a former friend of Billy's who assisted Carlos in his work, testifying that Billy was "an integral part" of their testing efforts, and that he and Carlos were provided the exact equipment Billy had allegedly used in his "direct feed" recording setup. Here's Carlos testifying the same thing. You can read Carlos' declaration yourself, which includes 22 pages of text messages between him and Billy just during the time span of the original dispute alone, most of which were discussing the dispute and their defense strategy. Here's Billy forwarding a message confirming their possession of the same equipment Billy claims he'd used for these scores. Lastly, here's Carlos testifying that Billy paid for his plane flight and hotel to an event in California where Carlos was to give a presentation on his efforts to exonerate Billy (something which Billy and his allies now dispute).

Regarding the above text, Billy now audaciously claims Joel West (who has since passed away) wrote the text to Billy asking him to forward it to Jace, and that Billy "accidentally" forwarded it without ever reading it first. Billy claims he soon after called Jace and told him verbally that he meant the exact opposite of that text (on a call of which there is no recording). However this is belied by the fact that A) Billy sorta gives himself away by saying he, quote, "re-read" the message, B) Billy deleted the signature Joel had written and added his own, C) Billy didn't just send it to Jace but also forwarded it to Carlos and back to Joel, suggesting he understood the message's contents, and D) Billy sent a text to Joel and Carlos two minutes later asking them to coordinate with him on their request to Jace for - guess what - an extension.

Going back to the topic of witness statements, one might ask, "Are people really willing to commit perjury over this?" Well, I don't know about Billy's friends, but Billy himself certainly seems to be willing to. Narcissism: It's a hell of a drug.

"I NEVER SUBMITTED THOSE TAPES BECAUSE I NEVER SUBMIT TAPED SCORES." - I know the last item was pretty crazy, but this one has to be the most preposterous walk-back (and then double-walk-back) yet. Put your seatbelts on for this one.

In their September 2019 legal threat, Billy introduced the claim that his 1.014m and 1.047m tapes were never intended as official score submissions at all, regardless of how Twin Galaxies staff chose to treat them. This was emphasized not only by Billy himself in his own signed statement, but also supported by Walter Day in a personalized letter to Twin Galaxies and to Guinness.

Let's make no mistake about how ludicrous this claim is.  It is an utter, bald-faced lie.

First, assuming you've seen King of Kong and this makes actual literal no sense to you, set aside the lie itself and consider its purpose. From Billy's perspective, the point of this argument is to disavow the videotape evidence entirely. The idea is, the tape of the 1.047m cannot be scrutinized, because it was never a "submission", while the 1.05m and 1.062m were verified live by his referee friends, and thus the tapes in those cases were merely incidental. In other words, he wishes to put all the videotape evidence in a special box and send that box to some state of exile where none of it can be used against him. Thus, only the word of his friends who helped organize these charades can be considered. The problem is, he can't disavow the tapes unless he disavows the 1.047m score altogether, as that score was only entered on the basis of a tape. (Same for the 1.014m score, but there is no surviving tape for him to disavow.) Billy's September 2019 evidence submission included a whole 14-page section titled "1,047,200 Was Not A Score Submission". The only piece of corroboration offered is a claim that Brian Kuh, in announcing the 1.047m tape at Funspot, declared to all that the tape was not a submission and was for entertainment purposes only. Team Billy claims to have video proving this declaration, but of course yet again no such video is provided. (And of course, such a declaration would not prevent Billy from later submitting the score anyway, which is what happened.)

Regardless, this ridiculous claim is shot down in so many ways. First, while the later two scores were officially verified by referee, the tapes were presented as part of the evidence package substantiating those scores, making them fair game for scrutiny. Of the mortgage brokers score, Day's announcement said the score was "backed up by video tape of his gameplay," while adding that the tape itself was going through a verification process. Billy himself, at the "Big Bang" event, stood over a TV playing his 1.062m submission, complete with MAME signatures, claiming it to be an authentic representation of his score. There is no rule, technical or moral or even legal, which compels anyone in TG or in the public to consider this evidence "out of bounds" for scrutiny.

But more to the point, Billy's earlier taped scores (the ones without any referee present) were absolutely intended as official score submissions. In a 2004 interview, Billy and Steve both acknowledge their early tape submissions, with Billy saying "They're both being verified now." In 2008, Walter Day, as part of his official statement on the events seen in King of Kong, said that "Billy requested recognition for the score over the phone, asking that it be viewed as an official submission", as we see in the movie. (This contradicts statements he makes on Billy's behalf today, such that he "chose to input the score for The King of Kong's entertainment purposes." He now claims he removed the score himself after the event, something again contradicting his past self as well as documented statements of others.) In 2007, the Guinness Book of World Records published the 30 greatest "arcade game scores of all time, as chosen by Twin Galaxies", with Billy's 1.047m on the list. How could this be on the list if Billy did not submit it? Why would Billy (a close friend with Walter) allow a score he disavows as a submission to continue to be recognized?

As if this wasn't already laughable enough, after the dispute closed it was discovered that, in March 2006, Billy Mitchell himself commissioned a poster commemorating a "Coronation Day" event hosted in his Florida restaurant where he crowned himself "Donkey Kong Champion of the World" based on his 1.047m score "achieved on June 7, 2004 as verified through videotaped documentation."

This strategy apparently didn't go so well for them, as they've totally abandoned it in their actual court filings. This does, however, leave us with one hilarious discontinuity. Along with his declaration to the court, Walter Day attached his letter to Guinness as an example of his attempts to urge Guinness to reconsider. But since this letter went all in on the now-abandoned "1.047m was not a submission" angle, Day backpedals from that argument by including a lengthy footnote clarifying that Billy really did "vacillate" back and forth between submitting and not submitting. The problem is, this footnote is never identified as having been added later. The letter and footnote are simply presented as an example of how he confronted Guinness (and by extension TG, as it was sent to them as well) about "the undeniable falsity of the Twin Galaxies allegations." The willful misrepresentation of evidence to a court of law is... an interesting strategy. Maybe one day they'll make up their minds?

Much as I would love to end this here, one last thing must be pointed out. Billy's two "direct feed" submissions of 1.014m and 1.047m were his only submitted scores over one million prior to Wiebe's 1.049m seen at the end of King of Kong. Recall that, at the time of their September 2019 legal threat to TG and to Guinness, Team Billy was all in on the "1.047m was not a submission" argument. For the sake of your sanity, don't think too long on the fact that A) Billy claimed those were strictly for entertainment purposes and denying they were ever intended as score submissions, B) Billy simultaneously demanded that Guinness reinstate his record for "First Million-Point Game on Donkey Kong", and C) Guinness looked at this mess and said "Yup, seems legit."

"THE CONVERTER MUST HAVE MADE THE SIGNAL LOOK LIKE MAME." - Getting back to the technical evidence, this was an early argument put forward by Billy's tech Rob Childs. The idea is that the direct feed equipment itself somehow altered the signal composition to give it MAME signatures that weren't present in the original. While this sort of thing is the domain of the experts, this explanation was roundly rejected by experts not affiliated with Billy. Also, as the dispute ran its course, no method was ever shown to replicate this alleged phenomenon, despite multiple parties using the same equipment Childs claimed to have used to set up Billy's direct feeds. This argument was later abandoned by Billy and his colleagues, in favor of the following, more convenient explanation.

"THOSE AREN'T MY REAL TAPES." - While Billy and his supporters have expended great energy trying to prove why his tapes aren't MAME and why they do represent his legitimate game play, Billy also likes to run with the wholly unsubstantiated claim that those aren't his actual submission tapes at all. Rather, we are to believe these tapes are elaborate forgeries, produced at great effort by some malicious malfeasant for no other purpose than to make Billy Mitchell look bad. Team Billy have gone so far as to suggest that someone may have unwound his VHS tape and used some sort of magic tool to draw little MAME signatures on each transition frame, or perhaps ripped the video to a computer and digitally altered each transition screen without any noticeable change in variable VHS quality of the surrounding image or the rest of the tape, then rerecorded it to that VHS tape without any subsequent loss in quality, all while never missing a single arcade transition screen or arcade signature anywhere throughout the two-and-a-half hour tape. Such a person of course would have had to have extensive knowledge of minute MAME irregularities many years before the community at large stumbled upon them, and yet for some reason decided to sit on this knowledge and never tell a soul. (Either that, or Billy cheated.)

For what it's worth, Twin Galaxies administration cited internal emails and documentation certifying those exact tapes as the same ones used to verify Billy's 2005 and 2007 scores at that time. If you prefer not to take former TG staffers at their word, and if you're still not convinced of the ludicrous impossibility of what Team Billy are suggesting, see the next item below.


With the evidence laid out and all substantive rebuttals addressed, the fact of Billy's guilt has heretofore been proven. However, rather than take responsibility for their actions, Billy and his colleagues set up others to take the blame instead. (Again, all headlines are paraphrases.)

"DWAYNE RICHARD SAID IN 2009 HE WOULD MAKE FAKE TAPES TO FRAME ME." - While "I never submitted tapes" was the most ridiculous of Billy's attempted defenses, this has to be the most offensive. First of all, to be clear, what Dwayne said was that he was interested in making fake direct feed videos using MAME to see if TG referees were apt enough to tell the difference. Both parties stipulate this happened in 2009.

However, long buried in the MTV website, a 2006 video interview with Robert Mruczek was rediscovered, showing clips of Billy's 1.047m "King of Kong" submission. The video observed in the interview is the exact same tape Mruczek used to verify Billy's score one month earlier, which he recalls receiving from Billy himself. The clips in the interview are identical to the tape examined in the dispute, and (surprise, surprise) they show many of the same MAME signatures previously observed, and no arcade signatures. By Billy's and his colleagues' own admission, Dwayne did not speak of his desire to pull any ruse with MAME until 2009, years after Billy had already successfully passed MAME play off as arcade. (It is not believed at this time that Dwayne Richard has a time machine.)

Rather than come up with any coherent explanation for why Billy's tapes were documented with MAME signatures all the way back in 2006, or at least dropping the "Dwayne tried to frame me" angle altogether, they've instead chosen to ignore the evidence and continue repeating this opportunistic lie, over and over. It was a major theme of the September 2019 legal threat (months after the MTV interview discovery), and it appeared again in Billy's recent court declaration. (The fact that Billy continues slandering Dwayne, a foreign citizen, with allegations disproven over a year ago, would appear to be another thing Guinness didn't bother to reconcile.)

"ROBERT MRUCZEK SUBMITTED MY TAPE AGAINST MY WISHES." - You might be asking, if Mr. Mitchell doesn't submit tape scores, how did the 1.047m find its way onto the scoreboard? (Setting aside that he very much did submit that tape and others, as he acknowledged many times.) Team Billy's answer, courtesy of the September 2019 evidence packet, was that Robert Mruczek submitted the tape against Billy's wishes! This fantastic claim includes the suggestion that Mruczek effectively stole the tape shown by Brian Kuh at Funspot in June 2005, choosing months later to process it as a score submission strictly to spite Steve Wiebe. The evidence packet author suggests (while conveniently not saying outright) that Billy couldn't have sent Mruczek another copy because there didn't exist another copy to send him.

Of course, the notion that the tape seen in the MTV interview above is the same as the Funspot tape actually bodes worse for Billy, as it's well documented in the movie that that tape came directly from him, and thus MAME signatures on the tape are more easily attributable to him. But in truth, Brian Kuh left Funspot with that tape, and the tape Mruczek reviews later was a cleaner copy of the same performance, sent directly from Billy himself at a later date.

As if this claim wasn't already silly enough, it was even further debunked by yet another discovery of lost footage, this time from the Classic Gaming Expo in the United Kingdom in August 2005, wherein Billy Mitchell (along with Brian Kuh and others) play the same tape from Funspot (incorrect rotation and all), still in their possession two months later.

Notably, this claim has since disappeared from their 2020 court filings.

"JACE HALL DID THIS ALL FOR MONEY." - When needing to address the question of why Twin Galaxies would rule against him if he's supposedly innocent, Billy laid the blame for that strictly at the feet of Jace Hall, the current head custodian of Twin Galaxies. Billy described the increased number of website clicks related to the ongoing dispute, suggesting Jace saw the entire venture as a way to generate money at Billy's expense. Noteworthy is that clicks do not necessarily equate to money, and that traffic directly to the dispute thread generated no ad revenue because ads did not load on the dispute page at the time of the active dispute. Nevertheless, the dispute was handled according to the established rules. Jace Hall and Twin Galaxies simply allowed the dispute to occur, and ruled according to the evidence. The dispute would have generated many fewer clicks for Twin Galaxies if Billy had simply confessed straight away.

"DAVID RACE IS TRYING TO SEEK REVENGE BY LYING ABOUT ME." - Billy's longtime friend David Race, current world record holder for the fastest perfect Pac-Man, tried to defend Billy longer than most. Even as Billy assembled evidence for his September 2019 legal threat, David assisted with two items, including his interview with Josh Harmon of Electronic Gaming Monthly, restating his position that the dispute claims had not been sufficiently proven. However, the publication of the legal threat led to David learning about the 2006 MTV footage discovered earlier that year (which shot down Billy's claims that the tapes had been doctored years later). David was also disturbed by many dubious claims in the legal threat, especially relating to Billy's 1999 Pac-Man stunt (a topic David was familiar with). This led to David conducting more research, changing his conclusion, and eventually assisting Twin Galaxies with testimony and evidence in their defense.

Billy's response has been to outright slander David in subsequent legal filings, saying he "sets forth these lies in an act of revenge toward me". Billy continues to say that "Race has only now decided to attempt to retroactively rewrite history for his own malicious motives." The only basis Billy cites for David's alleged "immeasurable hatred" is Billy's decision to sue TG, which in reality David had provided material on behalf of. Billy's son, "Billy Junior", also filed a declaration, repeating many of the same claims about David as his father. This seems to be what happens when Billy no longer considers someone useful and their change of conclusion needs to be explained away. Billy also claimed David was never formally part of his defense, a claim which was undercut by, among other things, a voice mail thanking David for his work and a (legally recorded) phone call in which Billy tells David about his "Top Secret" plan to plant bogus evidence in the hopes of making Twin Galaxies look foolish. (More on that below.)

"YOU CAN'T JUST BLAME ME, YOU HAVE TO BLAME THE TECHNICIANS AND DISTRIBUTORS, TOO." - The claim is that, if the scores are faked, then everyone tangentially related to those events must have been in on the misdeed and thus stand just as accused as Billy. In reality, while some small number of people were certainly in on it with Billy, most of those involved in the logistics likely trusted Billy to be honest. A DK cabinet supplier would have no way of knowing if Billy's submission tape came from his cabinet or if Billy created it through other means. Attendees of the Mortgage Brokers convention surely assumed Billy and Todd knew what they were doing. The actual number of people implicated with Billy is quite small. As happens, Billy throws other innocent people in the way of accusations.

"THE FAKE BOARD SWAP WAS ROB'S FAULT." - This one's amusing. Billy threw his own friend Rob Childs under the bus for the obviously fake board swap video, despite Billy's own participation in it, and the fact that it was presented for years as genuine. Billy claims it was a stunt to build up Rob's YouTube channel, a channel which did not appear to be the focus of any other such "building" efforts any other time. Of course, one may wonder if they would have been so forthcoming in 2018 about the video's inauthenticity had they actually used the correct circuit boards. As one dispute participant put it, "Billy Mitchell made that video at his own peril."


Moving well beyond the boundaries of reasonable discourse, there were many attempts by Billy Mitchell and his defenders to mischaracterize events and to reframe the matter as something else entirely. (Again, the following headlines are paraphrases.)

"BUT WHY WOULD BILLY LIE?" - Because some people still choose to believe him? Or to put it another way, has Billy actually faced any consequences for his actions yet?

"BILLY'S SCORE WASN'T EVEN 10TH PLACE WHEN THEY CHALLENGED IT." - This was an early response from Billy, presented in a way to suggest his accusers are petty for choosing to go after him, despite his relatively lower standing on the scoreboard at the time. First, this does nothing to actually address the evidence, which proves him a cheater. Second, it's proper to remove any cheater from the scoreboard, regardless of their standing. Third, as for gaming history, (aside from Guinness' blunder) this resolved a legitimate question of who to verify as the first one-million point player on Donkey Kong, even if that score has since been surpassed. Billy himself promoted each of these as major achievements in their day. The historical significance was likely why these scores were fabricated in the first place.

"MY SECRET EVIDENCE WILL EXONERATE ME." - Mere days after the 2018 dispute concluded, Billy professed that the exonerating evidence was on its way. This was followed that summer with Billy at SFGE waving around a stack of papers which he assured people would exonerate him. The first version of this post lamented the lack of provision of these papers, adding: "If Billy wishes to actually publish evidence to support his case, that evidence can be considered at that time." Billy did finally begin providing this "evidence", by way of his legal threats and lawsuit filings. While dispute participants were excited to actually have Team Billy material to consider, as far as affecting the body of evidence, each of these has been a complete flop. Outside of witness statements from his friends, these submissions were filled with proven lies, ever-changing stories, wacky conspiracy theories, and more slander against Dwayne Richard, Wes Copeland, Robert Mruczek, and whoever else has been added to Billy's revenge list. And yet still, you hear suggestions that the "real" evidence, the "real" bombshells, are on their way. If Billy does actually have exonerating evidence which somehow explains all of this, he's free to publish it for our consideration at any time. (Besides, who knows, maybe Dwayne Richard really does have a time machine?)

"I'LL PLANT BOGUS EVIDENCE AND I'LL MAKE EVERYONE IN THE DISPUTE LOOK FOOLISH!" - This one is so hilariously misguided. In October, Twin Galaxies submitted to the court a legally recorded phone call between David Race and Billy Mitchell wherein Billy outlines his "Top Secret" plan. He would produce a new tape of 1,062,800 on arcade, allow it to surface as the long lost Boomers tape, wait for everyone to declare it MAME, and then show a wider room shot proving it was a new score done on arcade, and thus (in Billy's mind) Twin Galaxies and dispute participants would all be discredited. This thing is bananas in so many ways. Billy seems to think the MAME evidence is speculation and guesswork, and that people would not have identified the tape's platform of origin immediately. Billy also seems to forget that we do have some footage of the Boomers score to compare any "resurfaced" tape to. While others have tried submitting bogus runs to Twin Galaxies or as a way of generally testing adjudication, this is much more pernicious in that it's a direct attempt by Billy to delegitimize a scorekeeping community which was in the process of putting his scores under scrutiny. (But I guess when you don't have evidence supporting your scores, this is the kind of stuff you resort to.)

"YOU SAW ME PLAY DONKEY KONG, SO THEY'RE CALLING YOU A LIAR, TOO." - This one's... weird? This plays back into the "I'm good at Donkey Kong, so I couldn't have cheated" bit from before. Billy opportunistically plays into that misconception, misrepresenting the dispute as "They said I couldn't do it," touting above all else the fact that he's demonstrated talent at Donkey Kong. In some cases, Billy even goes so far as to charismatically suggest to eager interviewers that dispute participants are calling these bystanders liars just for having witnessed Billy play Donkey Kong. I'm not even really sure how to respond, because in the end I can't stop anyone from being a sucker for this sort of rhetorical sleight-of-hand. I would just remind readers that this is about Billy's choice to fabricate evidence to substantiate his claim to three historical world records (including the historical milestone of "First million point player on Donkey Kong") which rightfully belonged to others. This has nothing to do with how well Billy does or does not play Donkey Kong today.

"WHEN I SCORE ONE MILLION, THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SAY." - There are a lot of silly variations on this theme. The idea is that Billy's critics vanish into thin air when forced to acknowledge inconvenient circumstances that don't fit their narrative, only to reemerge later as if nothing ever happened. In reality, it's just the opposite. Much was said at the time of Billy's one million scores on Twitch, and why they bore no relevance to the question of his fraudulent scores a decade earlier. It is Billy who fails to address key pieces of evidence as they emerge, such as the discovery of the MTV interview or the footage from CGE UK.


"I'VE KNOWN BILLY FOR 30 YEARS, HE LOOKED ME IN THE EYE AND SWORE TO ME HE DIDN'T CHEAT." - Good for you.  The evidence says he did.

"WHY WON'T PEOPLE LEAVE BILLY ALONE?" - Apparently this is a thing some people say? Those of us reporting on Billy's cheating want to close this matter more than anyone. But it's hard to do when Billy's suing individuals and scorekeepers to get his scores reinstated, and when he continues to disparage and defame his critics as well as his former colleagues who gave up trying to defend him. Since isolating the bully with his target is obviously not the answer, the story keeps getting reported, unfavorable to Billy as it may be. If he had simply come clean in the first place, we wouldn't still be sitting here rehashing this, and Billy would not have wasted a lot of peoples' time and resources.

"THEY'RE JUST WHINY CRYBABIES / KEYBOARD WARRIORS / JEALOUS HATERS / ETC." - Does this even need to be responded to? There are many more famous people and more accomplished gamers to "tear down", if this were a matter of jealousy. If one wishes to find jealousy or insecurity in this story, one need only look at the person who lied about a video game score, fabricated evidence to back up his lie, compelled colleagues to lie on his behalf, slandered those who refused to lie for him, and sued the Internet for saying mean things about him, all while ceaselessly and grandstandingly taking credit and honors for accomplishments he knows he didn't earn. Reporting on this story is simply journalism, a matter of setting the record straight on this piece of video gaming history. While Billy has certainly antagonized some people over the years, most involved in this (including myself) would be defending Billy if the evidence supported him. We continue to stress the fact of Billy Mitchell's guilt because, despite incessant denials, deflections, and recriminations, all substantial evidence confirms it.


We have established the means, we have established plausible motives, we have established the opportunity, we have an actual mountain of circumstantial evidence indicating intent to deceive, and most importantly, we have objective scientific evidence proving that such a deception was indeed carried out. While Billy was involved in various media promoting Donkey Kong competition to the world, he turned around and leeched off that competition, stealing other peoples' rightful glory for years. And when caught, rather than simply admit what he did and ask the community's forgiveness, he doubled and tripled down, lying, changing his stories, accusing innocent people, and compelling others to lie on his behalf. He has even taken a scorekeeper to court to force them to recognize his lies as legitimate. The only things that have kept this from being a consensus open-and-shut case are Billy's assertive denials, and the decision by some to ignore the evidence and believe Billy's word. Don't fall for con artists. You're better than that.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 09:13:53 pm by ersatz_cats »
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Offline ZedIsDead

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2020, 07:11:17 am »
Nice wrap-up of the situation, Ersatz. You'd have to either be delusional or in denial(or both!) to take Hot Sauce Man's side in this. I don't pretend to know the inner workings of a Donkey Kong cabinet, but I think, even to a layman, Billy's guilty as hell.
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Offline furrykef

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2020, 02:28:09 pm »
I find this whole affair very sad. I admired Billy until the allegations broke out a couple years ago, but the evidence against him was overwhelming even then, let alone now. And the way he denied it, and continues to deny it, reminds me of this:

To hear that he's been throwing other people under the bus makes me sick. Some part of me still wants it to be revealed that this was all a huge, improbable misunderstanding, but at this point the odds of that happening are about the same as me running across Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and a unicorn all at the same time.

Be a big man, Billy. Just admit it so we all can finally move on. The healing won't begin until you admit you have a problem.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2020, 02:49:01 pm by furrykef »
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Offline colecomeister

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2020, 03:22:27 pm »
Thanks for the updated evidence review, ersatz_cats - it's really valuable to have this information brought together as a resource for the curious or anyone in the future who is new to the subject.
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Offline francoisadt

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2020, 07:53:46 am »

Hi Ersatz_cats

This is not a true statement.

The comparison test between Arcade and specific released versions from MAME-DEV Team site, to match the time frame of when these games of Billy were produced, are not complete or impartially tested by only looking at the standard versions of MAME released that do exist at the time of submissions.

It is a "known" fact to hard core MAME hobbyist and Mame based Arcade Cabinet Builders that other versions and custom ports of MAME exist which are not the standard MAME releases.

Custom versions of MAME that are able to change refresh rate to look more like arcade and are able to slow down the emulation
to effect the graphics/sprites to display differently in sequence than normal MAME are:
- ShmupMame
- GroovyMame
- AdvancedMame
- TurboMame
- custom Apple versions using SDL

NOTE: [There were a few others I did found a few months ago on but have lost those links. Someone else can go and dig to find other nonstandard MAME versions on]

Those that are more technical inclined and want to change the behavior of standard v-sync and horizontal sync with lowering refresh rate rendered through video cards, may start reading the links below. It is NOT an inclusive list but is enough evidence that tweaks could have been done by custom MAME versions at that time. Some links even contain the code what need to be done.

About FPS, Refresh Rates, Smoothness And Mame:
"Disabling throttle and enabling "sync to monitor refresh", it should generate the "right" number of frames to ensure 1:1 ratio. Since I use a common mainstream LCD monitor, this means that MAME forces the game to render 60 fps (to sync to my monitor's 60Hz refresh rate). In case of a game running @ 59.12 Hz on original hardware, this leads to a tiny 1% of more speed. And pressing F11 while ingame I can effectively verifiy that I have 0 skip and 101 to 102% of original speed."

"I know there is a MAME flavour, named GroovyMAME, focused on this but if I correctly understood an AMD card (I have Nvidia) and a CRT monitor are required for it to give the best results."

Emulation vs Framemeister a few questions:
"MAME attempts to faithfully emulate the amount of time it takes for the actual arcade game to process an input and provide output - in some well-regarded arcade games there's already a couple frames of latency between the moment an input travels through the JAMMA connector, and the moment the RGB signals are sent back out across that connector. As far as I know, it's the MAME vision that this timing be represented reasonably accurately (whatever that means). However, MAME as a program runs in non-realtime OSes like Windows and (most variants of) Linux. There are all sorts of tricks one can try to reduce the time inputs and outputs spend within the operating system, but this will never get to an "instantaneous" level. In fact it's been quite a challenge for many users to get it to the sub-frame level (which would be "more than good enough" for many users) in many cases, especially when the monitor is concerned.

Long story short - ShmupMAME tried to eliminate some actually original sources of lag as a way of finding some "free" performance in games, to counteract the lag from the program within the OS. As it turns out, a number of arcade games cannot simply be hacked like this while remaining faithful to the originals. I know that visuals were affected in some cases.

There are a number of things that are possible or should shortly become possible to help fight these new sources of latency, without compromising MAME's ability to present the games accurately."

"MAME can be lagless--you just can't enable v-sync.

V-sync is the only thing that really introduces lag with MAME. Like I said before, if you run fast enough, the extra frames compensate for any lag introduced by the OS or the emulation itself."


ShmupMAME hacked MAME to shit in an attempt to reduce input lag and still enable v-sync.
"precisazione importante sul funzionamento di GroovyMAME":
For instance, 1942 won't run at 60 Hz with CGA settings. 256 are too many lines, it will only reach 58 Hz or so. However, if you use the H9110 settings, that game will be rendered at 16.6 kHz hfreq, so it will run at exact 60 Hz.


Input Lag - MAME iteration comparisons vs. the real thing?,133194.0/all.html
Minimizing input lag is HUGE (as many already know) especially when it comes to very time sensitive game types like shmups and fighters.  The "tricks" used by ShmupMAME has garnered it the "unofficial" non-actual-hardware choice method of playing the game Super Street Fighter II Turbo.  In fact, some work had been done to draw direct comparisons to actual hardware:

"sometimes i have to play with the sync to monitor refresh , triple buffering settings for some games to run smooth. sometimes emulation speed
time crisis , ace driver , ridge racer , mortal kombat 4 all dont run smooth from the getgo
sometimes if i start mame the first time it runs slow as hell then after restart it runs smooth again"

Various resolutions used in video game monitors...(that are used as input to tweak parameters)


Making twin cobra/kyukyoku tiger smooth in MAME?:
As for the refresh rate issue, yeah I put my monitor in 58 to 60 hz for most games as it makes to image visibly smoother to me and deal with the tearing. Or if it's an old game with no precision dodging I just turn on tripple buffer because I can deal with a frame of lag in those.


MAME Mac OS X savestate trouble in DDP:
try experimenting with the following:
samplerate: i use 48000 (same as what i run pulseaudio at (i'm on linux), which is also my sound cards native sample rate). if you still have sound issues at 48000 try lowering this to 44100.
audio_latency: default is 2, though i have it set to 1 with no problems. if it's skipping try increasing this a bit.
waitvsync: i'd suggest only disabling this if it gives you problems or if your concerned about input lag.
syncrefresh: i have this disabled. when combined with waitvsync this will cause mame to sync the game to your monitors refresh rate (~60 fps for most monitors) rather than the games actual rate. this may provide a smoother experience, but if the games actual refresh rate is different from your monitors it will come at the cost of the game running a little faster or slower then it was intended to (faster in the case of ddp).


Shmupmame 4.2: Lagless Mars Matrix, Strikers 1945, Galaga 88
There is no other method of reliably showing the entire emulated frame exactly once per frame. If you turn off vsync you will get tearing or frame skipping or frame duplication. Vsync will add *at worst* one frame of lag. Depending on how exactly the CPU based timing works it might not add any lag at all. You can reduce the lag to almost nothing if your CPU is fast enough and your OS scheduler is good enough by adding a delay (preferably spinning the CPU, not yielding to the OS) just before the input polling. My black frame insertion hack does this as a side effect of its simple CPU time wasting implementation. I've actually made a version of MAME with both black frame insertion and extra pre-input-polling delay, but the delay needs to be carefully tuned to remove as much lag as possible without being too long and causing frame duplication, so it has to be carefully tuned for each game and CPU combo, and I never got round to figuring out MAME slider controls and I got annoyed with having to recompile to change the delay so I gave up on that idea for now. It's only a few milliseconds at stake. If you're running at 60Hz then it's more serious.


SHMUPMAME & Front-end
For what it's worth, that speed inaccuracy also comes up if you play MAME with VSync on. If you remove that inaccuracy, you get screen tearing. You have to choose the lesser evil. Obviously for a console port, screen tearing is something you just don't want to happen, so they opt for turning on VSync. The only way to avoid screen tearing AND have the same speed, is to be able to set your monitor's vertical refresh to the game's original refresh rate, which happens to typically be quite difficult. MAME tends to be inaccurate often times. Many of the CPU cores don't count cycles properly or wait-states are not emulated (most importantly, the 68000 core that's used by more than half the games that MAME runs; this issue is particularly obvious in almost every CPS1/CPS2 game), and the sound emulation is pretty mediocre (MAME .99 [base of SM3.0b] was much much worse in this regard, and was downright awful for many sound chips).

What is the point of playing gimped arcade ports?
No, throttle just keeps the emulation speed at 100%. IIRC, to force the game to 60hz (or whatever your monitor's native refresh is), you have to enable "Sync to Monitor Refresh" and disable multi-threading. This can be a neat thing to play around with, but I don't use it because the sound is weird.


Article: What is ShmupArch? Why Does it Matter?
 GroovyMAME is only for CRT's/15KHz and only works with old AMD GPU's; no, not only it can provide the same benefits with LCDs (100% refresh accuracy on everything and lag reduction) and of course assuming your own flat panel is flexible enough to accept many if not every modes (mine does from 50 to 75Hz and it's a basic full-hd not even freesync, it's worth trying) but it's been expanded to work with 4K and the upcoming version of CRT_Emudriver will support up to Vega.
 What I made for GroovyMAME is to create a third thread of execution to deal with video updates (draw + wait for v-sync), so the window thread is always free to process input messages as soon as they come. This *seems* to keep input lag as low as what you get with -throttle alone.

Split from ITALY v.s. SHMUPS.COM thread:
 "I'm sure they already know. Fact is, if you've got a display that refreshes at 60hz (for example, an LCD), and you want to display a game that updates at 59hz, you are going to have tearing or jumping somewhere. You can try this with 19XX for example. Someone tried to tell me I was wrong, and that the original board suffers the jumping issue. Er.. whatever (I own one, it doesn't ;-) ) Only way around this is a setup where the refresh rate is fully controllable. That very much depends on your graphics card, monitor, OS, and IIRC using AdvanceMAME."
 "Even with a graphics card that can be tweaked to a specific refresh rate, you will still not be able to get it "perfect" as the card has one clock, and your CPU another. I've worked for a month trying to get the perfect mame setup with perfect picture, and always have a ripple running through the display because DDP uses a 57.550644Hz refresh rate :? Even speeding up the emulated framerate to lock everything in at 60hz, my tri-res monitor sees it as 59.99998...and still get a slow ripple"
 "Nothing comparable to the 1 frame of input lag you could find on non-shmupMAME (which has 0), it's like 3 or 4 there, it's ridiculous."

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Offline dnickolas

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2020, 09:31:56 pm »
So you're saying that even back then there were other versions available or custom builds easily made that could have shown the artifacts in question?

Kinda weird to start with saying that the claimed "bs" statement is false and then support the rebuttal in a different way.

Am I interpreting this properly?
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Offline francoisadt

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2020, 01:48:23 am »
So you're saying that even back then there were other versions available or custom builds easily made that could have shown the artifacts in question?

Kinda weird to start with saying that the claimed "bs" statement is false and then support the rebuttal in a different way.

Am I interpreting this properly?
Yes that is correct, one cannot just look at standard MAME version as any other non-standard MAME versions/custom ones could have been used. As described in the links above, custom MAME build can be tweaked changed to show the sprites and refresh rate and rendering differently than standard MAME.
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Offline francoisadt

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2020, 04:41:15 am »
So you're saying that even back then there were other versions available or custom builds easily made that could have shown the artifacts in question?

Kinda weird to start with saying that the claimed "bs" statement is false and then support the rebuttal in a different way.

Am I interpreting this properly?
Yes that is correct, one cannot just look at standard MAME version as any other non-standard MAME versions/custom ones could have been used. As described in the links above, custom MAME build can be tweaked changed to show the sprites and refresh rate and rendering differently than standard MAME.
To clarify those reading:

If frames and sprites are not from an Arcade (those that occur as per Billy Mitchell's game play) as per TG claim and DK Forum and the emulator versions TG has test / compare against, were MAME standard versions, to test/compare of MAME able to produce same images for Billy Mitchell submissions, I do mention it now (maybe too late) but that a non-standard MAME version could have been used by the gamer instead of assuming that a standard release version of MAME from MAME-Dev site would have been the one would have been used by the gamer.

Therefore it is very easy for the gamer then to claim: "MAME Version" does not exist.

Of course such a MAME version would not exist if you only look at standard versions and IF the gamer did use a non-standard version which can be tweaked produce different results.

Instead : The what if analysis have not been done if non-standard emulators produce these same non-Arcade images and frames.

Non - standard emulators are proven to produce different frames with different sprites in different screen video refresh rate sequences than what is hard coded in standard MAME version.

Non standard MAME ports were created exactly to enable a gamer to do this:
Manipulate the input lag and output sequence of graphics in higher speeds that reflect and rendering different than what standard release versions of MAME do.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 08:56:36 am by francoisadt »
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Offline hooch66

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2020, 01:25:52 pm »
So, has Billy dropped the lawsuit? I'll be honest I don't follow him at all, but it seems to have quieted once everyone realized his "evidence" was BS.
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Offline johnbart

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2020, 03:35:18 pm »
I don't think he ever actually filed a lawsuit. He just threatened to do it with his scantily clad women package of BS. Once that didn't elicit the response he wanted it didn't go anywhere. The risk of counter-suit by TG probably made him more excited to fade into the background and just live in his den of lies.
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Offline Bounty Bob

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Offline johnbart

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2020, 10:15:43 am »
You need to be very worried about lawsuits when they can't even spell the name of the company they are suing correctly.

 <Billy> FailFish
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Offline FBX

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2020, 04:32:45 am »
Just wanted to log in and say that summary by ersatz is a fantastic recount of the whole sordid affair. And I'm sure Billy knows full well he doesn't have a leg to stand on in these lawsuits. Rather I suspect it's just his last desperate way to still get attention. Once the suits are thrown out, he'll find some other controversial nonsense to stir things up. Hell he even threatened to sue me, and I let him know two things:

1. Courts don't like their time wasted by a public figure suing a random forum poster giving his/her opinion about what transpired. I would say it would get laughed out of court, but the judge is more likely to get pissed off at Billy for being a vexatious litigant. Billy may find himself on the wrong end of an "Extended Civil Restraining Order", which would prevent him from filing further vexatious lawsuits.

2. I'm not scared in the slightest by a lawsuit threat over frikken forum posts. I've got nothing to lose. Like Stallone said at the end of Rocky V: "Sue me for what?"
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Offline Bob Frias

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Re: The evidence against Billy Mitchell: 2020 edition
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2020, 12:56:44 pm »
I guess it can now be filed in the "it happened then" category and we can all move on. He is historically shamed and defamed. His smug face is now for all times associated with cheating to be recognized as the de-facto Donkey Kong master.

Court adjourned.
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