Equity In Video Gaming

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Jul
  • 24
  • 2008

I just watched King of Kong and loved it. It’s about 75 minutes, so would take two class periods to show. Using the idea that a single set of texts can produce multiple writing styles (and that a single writing assignment can encompass several styles), students begin with the obvious: was Steve Wiebe treated fairly? This encourages simple summary, but also complex synthesis of the text.

  1. Who are Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell?
  2. What is the conflict between Wiebe and Mitchell?
  3. How was Wiebe’s video of his record-breaking Donkey Kong game received by the video-game playing world depicted in the film?
  4. What action did Wiebe take to change that reaction?
  5. What did Wiebe accomplish there?
  6. How did Billy Mitchell respond?
  7. Describe the different reactions to Wiebe’s video and Mitchell’s video.
  8. Was Wiebe treated fairly, both by Mitchell and Twin Galaxies?

On The Other Hand………

The interesting thing about documentaries is that they are meant to be objective in theory, but we all know that’s impossible. Language is subjective and film is language. In the editing, subjective decisions are made.

There’s another side to the story presented in this film. Pull some of that information into a concise handout after the first essay is written. How does this inform your decisions about the story presented in this documentary?

There’s a special feature on the disc that would also add to the discussion. In “Bonus Footage,” select “Steve Reacts” and watch until about the three-minute mark (watch the full six minutes, if you’d like). Does that help explain why Wiebe and Mitchell were treated differently? Does it justify the difference?

Students probably won’t care about Donkey Kong. Some won’t even care about video games at all. But the drama of the interaction between the two characters will likely grab them. There’s more to be done with this idea, but I’m curious what you think so far.


1. andar909 says:

[8/10/2008 - 1:41 pm]

hi, andar here, i just read your post. i like very much. agree to you, sir.

2. skseitz says:

[8/11/2008 - 7:07 am]

Great ideas – I think the material WILL hook students; it gives them material to understand mom and dad’s generation. My daughter (17, much smarter than I, and aces IB English) immediately wanted to view “Steve reacts” and asked us many questions about the “arcade” scene. My son, (14, athletic boy that will only read magazines about sports)immediately found our home Donkey Kong game and played for the next four days.