Andrew Barrow Claims $5K Bounty on Castle Kong

Jason Bennett,

June 13, 2020 9:01 PM

Following the reward for achieving the game's first kill screen, additional prizes for highest score to be claimed on September 5, 2020

Andrew realized there wasn't much time left.

"Most players knew who was getting close," he said, "there was a ton of pressure."

Released on June 5 by publisher Drowning Monkeys, Castle Kong already saw a cluster of players at the top of the game's on-line leaderboard closing in on the title's deliberately designed kill screen on level 22.

And hanging in the balance was a $5000 US bounty for the first gamer to reach it.

The game's retro feel -- based on the classic arcade era's simple but powerful credo of score chasing -- is built around a four stage, 22 level homage to Nintendo's Donkey Kong where you guide PauperBoy, a young kid who sets out to save PrincessGirl from the evil clutches of BaronMan.

To celebrate the game's release, Drowning Monkeys is offering a series of prizes worth $8000 US, with the biggest amount reserved for the first documented kill screen game. In short order, players jockeyed back and forth on the leaderboard in pursuit of the bounty. 

"A lot of us know each other from the DK scene," explained Andrew, also known by his on-line name Barra, "however there was a few others that we didn't know of that were streaming their attempts and also going really well."

Andrew had played the game a total of 27 hours, with most of the game time catalogued over the last few days. Additional hours were spent watching and reviewing streams as well as collaborating with fellow gamer Justin Elliott (Rayfinkel on Twitch) in analyzing the game and developing strategies.

Based in New Zealand, Andrew was at work when both Justin and Donkey Kong world record holder John McCurdy ( serphintizer on Twitch and TheMoneyAxiom on the Castle Kong leaderboard) died on level 21-4, which was only three boards away from the game's kill screen.

Andrew arrives at Castle Kong's kill screen 

"When I got home, I got right to work knowing it was most likely my last opportunity," Andrew recalled, "either John or Justin would have done it the next day."

A few promising starts on his quest to the kill screen ultimately fell short of the mark during the six hour session. With fatigue setting in, Andrew looked to retain focus and avoid simple mistakes.

"Knowing it was my last chance I decided to keep going," he said, "I had another good start [and] it ended up being my best, getting to [level] 15-1 on my first man."

One hour and 40 minutes later, Andrew arrived at level 22 to a few seconds of normal gameplay before the screen became distorted and finally displayed the words "Game Over" and a final score of 532,600.

"I'm shaking," said Andrew moments after reaching the kill screen, "I'm not going to sleep tonight."

With the kill screen bounty in Andrew's corner, there's still plenty of classic arcade action left as gamers turn their attention to the $3000 purse for the top 9 scores, including $1250 for first place.

John currently sits atop the leaderboard with a score of 620,800.

Castle Kong is available for Microsoft Windows on Steam and coming to the Nintendo Switch eShop on July 4, 2020.

For further information on prizes and contest rules, please visit the Castle Kong Bounty site

To see Andrew's Castle Kong kill screen game, please visit his Twitch channel Barrra


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