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Gamers battle it out in the Donkey Kong world championship

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Forget about the Broncos’ win over the Chiefs yesterday. The real sports action was at Denver's 1Up Arcade and Bar.

That was the site of the third annual Donkey Kong world championship, where hardcore fans of the famous quarter-gobbler battled for arcade supremacy.

Ontario's Jeff Wilms ultimately took home the bragging rights, racking up a score of 1,096,200. That was just 29,100 ahead of the competition.

All totaled, 22 competitors battled the giant gorilla in the Kong Off. This was Wilms’s second victory in the tournament.

Certainly, 1,096,200 is an impressive number - but it falls short of the world record. Dr. Hank Chien of New York holds on to those honors, having scored 1,138,600 last November.

Billy Mitchell, meanwhile, whom many consider the best arcade gamer of all time and who was featured in the 2007 documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters," came in last in the competition, scoring just 598,800. Mitchell’s rival in that film, Steve Wiebe, placed 5th in this tourney with a score of 1,048,800.

"Donkey Kong has always played a pivotal role in arcade culture, both historically and in modern times," said Chien. "It has always held a mystical status because of its ‘kill screen’ [a stage in a videogame which stops player progress due to a software bug] which was only known to have been achieved by one player for nearly 20 years. ... Donkey Kong is the most-contended arcade title. In many ways, it's also the ideal game for a live competition. It's random enough so that the best player won't always win. There's no pattern, so it's always interesting to watch. The strategy is more complex than just trying to score as high as possible.”

Wilms may not have beaten Chien's high score, but he's still a force to be reckoned with. In addition to now twice besting the record holder, he holds the fourth-highest recorded score on the game. He also won a $3,000 cash prize at the event.

That's not a bad return on a 25-cent investment

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