Donkey Kong king takes on queen of Ms. Pac-Man

Tue, Mar 30

It was on like Donkey Kong when New York's Hank Chien recently set the world record in the video game in two and a half hours with a whopping score of 1,061,700.

Donkey Kong
Katie BarryHank Chien set the world record in Donkey Kong with a score of 1,061,700.

"People said I came out of nowhere," the 35-year-old Harvard-educated plastic surgeon said. "But it's not true! I was No. 3. They were only looking at one and two."

He's referring to Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe, famous rivals in the 2007 documentary "King of Kong," which chronicled the fight for the world record.

And the idea that there were world rankings is blowing my mind.

"I think it was such a big deal because I'm the first to beat Billy Mitchell's score," Chien said. "If someone breaks my record, people will say, 'Who's Hank Chien?'"

Chien's addiction to the game started with an arcade machine emulator version. He then progressed to arcades. And then he bought a cabinet for his apartment where he learned point-scoring strategies.

Donkey Kong to him is what Ms. Pac-Man is to me.

I used to have heated battles with an ex-boyfriend. We bought a Pac-Man console and did spreadsheets and line graphs for our scores, mapping out where we died. We tallied which ghosts were the deadliest. We were totally addicted.

I ran into Chien at Barcade in Brooklyn, N.Y. We challenged each other.

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