Updated: Apr 14, 2018
Twin Galaxies has officially announced that they have made a decision on the allegations regarding Billy Mitchell. A once upon a time mullet on top of the world, has been stripped of not just his Donkey Kong world records, but all records he had listed on the Twingalaxies.com website.
I ran a livestream yesterday to open this up for community discussion, and see where everyone was at with their opinions on it. That can be viewed here (unlisted link, Smashers only): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vYcPEMUTgU
Billy Mitchell most likely cheated. All evidence points to that fact, and he has done nothing to give his side of the story. It seems like a pretty open and shut case that should have concluded months ago but due to the leadership of TwinGalaxies.com, he had been given every chance and excuse for this to pass. Billy Mitchell was their Babe Ruth. Their golden child. The very person who gave legitimacy and credibility to an otherwise average arcade and website. He had lifted the entire TwinGalaxies into the stratosphere of fame and fortune. Bringing him down had to be the hardest thing they will ever do.
Did TwinGalaxies handle this situation well? Yes... and no. Ultimately, they came to the right decision; stripping him of his world records. But their reasoning for why was a bit confusing. The TwinGalaxies press release discusses how his scores were submitted via an unacceptable format (MAME). It doesn't go into any detail as to why they were accepted in the first place, why they stood for so long, and what safeguards have been put in place to assure this activity won't happen with others in the future. Not once is the word "cheating" even mentioned in the entire press release. Nothing that even hints in that direction.
There was no formal dispute process in place at TwinGalaxies prior to this situation, so hopefully going forward this helps pave the path of trust. Having a consistent set of rules and acceptable formats for scores to be presented and reviewed should be the only thing they are focused on going forward.
The biggest frustration with how TwinGalaxies handled this situation was how they released the biggest story of their life at 1 am on a Thursday morning, then proceeded to bury the story on their homepage with 5 useless, unrelated articles, one right after another shortly after publishing this bomb drop. This kind of story should be pinned to their homepage, showing full transparency, and coming clean with how it had been mishandled leading up to this point.
Youtube is to videos, as TwinGalaxies is to high scores in the video game world. They have no legitimate competition and as such, will arise from this situation looking like the good guys, because they're the only real option for professional high score keeping at this time. Leaving me with only two questions:
1) Where does Billy Mitchell go from here?
2) Does anyone care?
I imagine Mitchell feels exactly how the duo Milli Vanilli felt when their record started skipping live on stage during an MTV concert. Let's hope he doesn't suffer the same fate as Rob Pilatus; the half of Milli Vanilli who struggled with substance abuse and suicide attempts. In 1996, Rob Pilatus served three months in prison for assault, vandalism, and attempted robbery. Pilatus ultimately ended up taking his own life at the age of 33.
Only time will tell.