Issue# 15 - Was Billy Mitchell a Referee?
Issue# 15 - Was Billy Mitchell a Referee?
At (Timer: 20.29) in the movie, the film makers begin to introduce an important theme, one which they believe proves that Steve has been treated unjustly because of Twin Galaxies' "Conflict of Interest." They wish to demonstrate that:
- 1. Billy is a Referee
2. Billy is allowed to see Steve's tapes and learn his secrets while Steve can't see Billy's tapes.
3. That it is unfair that Billy is a judge of Steve's tapes while being Steve's chief rival at the same time: an "ethical conflict of interest."
They start this process by introducing a chart that displays thirteen different names: Mike, Steve, Tim, Brian, Trey, Jeff, Billy, Mark, Greg, Chris, Perry, Kelly and Adam. Then, at 20:33, the words "Video Game Referees" appears above the names. At (Timer: 20.32) the chart incorrectly identifies Perry Rodgers as a Twin Galaxies Referee (he has never been a referee). (Also see 26.25). It becomes clear why this misinformation is being promoted at this point in the movie when the plot, as it develops, later claims that Perry Rodgers, who visits Steve's garage, is a Twin Galaxies Referee. This is wrong, of course. But, in looking closer at the aforementioned chart, it emphasizes Billy's name in the middle, written in larger, capitalized letters. This scene clearly shows the intent to identify Billy as a referee. The motive for this becomes clearer later in the film as Michael Thompson and Roy Shildt claim Billy was a referee who was judging Steve's tapes, pointing out how unfair this is since Steve is his alleged rival on Donkey Kong. At different points in the King of Kong movie, Roy Shildt and Mike Thompson infer that Billy Mitchell is a Twin Galaxies Referee and has unfair access to Steve's videotaped gameplay while Steve has no access to Billy's gameplay. At 30.03 on the movie's timeclock, Mike Thompson alludes to the unfairness of Billy being an an "evaluator" of Steve's videotapes and at 50.22 he states that Billy is watching Steve's videotapes.
It's only normal that these scenes get the audience upset and the movie, which claims to be a documentary, fails to show a moment when someone from the Twin Galaxies side of the debate is allowed the chance to hear and answer these charges. It's all one-sided, delivered by friends and supporters of Steve and, unfortunately, the audience completely buys into these unfounded statements. Neither Roy Shildt nor Michael Thompson would have any idea whether or not Billy was watching Steve's videotapes and they are testifying from hearsay and their own biased emotions. Here are the facts:
Was Billy Mitchell a Referee?
Yes, Billy Mitchell was a referee for Twin Galaxies. However, his time as a referee was a long time ago, long before the era of "videotaped submissions."
Billy Mitchell was our first referee, as discussed in Chapter 11 ("The Scoreboard Gets Tough") of "The Golden Age of Video Game Arcades," a 200-page story that appeared in the 1998 edition of Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records. Go here to read about Billy Mitchell's exploits as our first active referee:
Billy Mitchell - The "On Again," "Off Again" Referee
By the time that the era of "videotaped submissions" dawned, Billy was married, had a hot sauce business, a restaurant to manage and numerous children. As a result, he was never available to referee events and never received a single videotape to verify. There are a few instances that we can remember when he watched some gameplay performed at public events so as to help the referees. This was done at the Mall of America 2001, at the Classic Gaming Expo 2000, and at the Midwest Gaming Classic 2004. But he never functioned as a referee who reviewed videotapes.
Billy's "On Again," "Off Again" Referee Status can be Confirmed at Archive.Org
The website, Archive.org, is famous for documenting the history of the Internet. It automatically gathers and collects web pages from millions of sites and claims that it has already stored in its archives more than 150 billion pages. The history of the Twin Galaxies website is also included in its holdings. You can find these holdings by going to Archive.org:
Click on this particular link below and you can see the dates on which the Archives collected pages from the Twin Galaxies website. :
Starting with the May 10, 2001 pages maintained by Archive.org, Twin Galaxies lists its Referee staff at the following page. As you will see at this link, there is no Billy Mitchell listed as a referee. For many years straight (1997-2002), Billy was not included as a referee http://web.archive.org/web/200105060...bmit_scores.pl
Then, as late as the pages of September 30, 2002, the referee roster remains the same, with no Billy Mitchell functioning as a referee.
However, the pages for November 21, 2002, start listing Billy Mitchell as a Referee. It was clearly understood by me at this time that it was highly unlikely that Billy would do any refereeing. He was being added more as an honorary position based on the immense contributions of the past as as well as him being an expert consultant on many, many different game titles. He, essentially, was making himself available as a consultant to give advice, but not to review videotapes.
The listing says this about him:
The reason Billy Mitchell was listed is because he was an invaluable resource that could give us advice on many, many different games. However, Billy Mitchell was never available to referee videotapes. Then, on April 24, 2004, a new roster of Referees was created and Billy was permanently dropped from the list. This new roster began to appear on the new (our current website) website which went live July 11, 2004. Billy is no longer listed as a referee, as shown by this sample Referee page from the December 2, 2004 web page stored at Archive.org:
"Billy Mitchell - Referee - Living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a member of Twin Galaxies' Rules Committee, in addition to celebrity appearances as the "World's Most Famous Videogame Player," Billy is TG's oldest referee...Email."
So, as historically demonstrated by the pages stored at Archive.org, Billy Mitchell was temporarily listed as a referee for sometime but has not held that status since April, 2004. And, it is important to note that the controversies between Twin Galaxies and Steve Wiebe did not start until later in 2004.
Did Billy Watch Any Videotapes?
Not only has Billy not seen videotapes of Steve Wiebe's gameplay, he has never received videotapes of ANYBODY'S gameplay. In the movie, at 20.29 on the counter, Billy describes the structure of referees who help Walter Day monitor the validity of submitted game play. As he speaks, a flow-chart-like structure appears, clearly establishing a structural heirarchy of players who are involved in refereeing. Billy mentions himself because he is generally alluding to the long-time contributions he has offered over the years in helping create rules and enforcing them.
However, once again, Billy was not actually functioning as a referee and has never received a single videotape to review. He was never available to watch tapes and had no interest in watching tapes. This is why he was permanently dropped from the Referee's Roster that was published on July 11, 2004.