Donkey Kong High Score Record Shattered By Wes Copeland’s Perfect Run

It's often said that records are meant to be broken, and that's certainly been true of the high scores in Donkey Kong, one of several classic arcade games in which players are still actively trying to set high marks in. But the record Wes Copeland set in Donkey Kong on May 5, 2016, might never be topped, not without a whole lot of luck.

Copeland achieved a staggering score of 1,218,000 in Donkey Kong, an all-time high on any eligible platform, be it MAME or an arcade cabinet. His feat was achieved on the latter, though equally remarkable is that he reclaimed the record with a perfect run. For more than three hours of jumping over and dodging barrels, Copeland never lost life.

Donkey Kong High Score
The score counter in Donkey Kong resets to "0" after reaching 1 million points

"This will be my last record score," Copeland stated on a Facebook post. "I don't believe I can put up a game any higher than this."

There's a lot of history leading up to this point. Copeland first attained the world record on September 17, 2015, with a score 1,170,500. Hours later, previous record holder Robbie Lakeman retook the title with a score 1,172,100, and then added to it a few months later just for good measure.

That wasn't the end of it. Copeland again retook the record from Lakeman with a score of 1,190,000 on January 4, 2016. Then in April, Lakeman topped Copeman's record by 200 points before Copeland once again leapfrogged in front, scoring 1,195,1000 on April 19, 2016. That was the last official high score until Copeland completed a perfect run on May 5.


Lakeman indicated on Facebook that he won't even attempt to reclaim the high score. In response to Copeland's achievement and whether he could beat it, Lakeman said "I'm not lucky enough. Good enough, but not lucky enough."

You'll get no dispute from Copeland in that regard. Copeland told IGN that his new high score "could conceivably be beaten with a lot of luck" but doesn't think he could top it himself, even if he played every single day for the next five years.

"It's the equivalent of playing poker and being dealt 10 royal flushes in a row," Copeland said.

There's a rich and interesting history of players trying to set high scores on old school arcade games. If you haven't done so already, we highly recommend watching The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a documentary that focuses on arcade game culture and specifically the rivalry between Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell.

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