Dr. Hank Chien, a 35-year-old plastic surgeon from Queens, N.Y., set the new high score of 1,061,700, reports the New York Daily News. He bested by 10,000 the previous world record score set by Billy Mitchell. Chien's score was certified by Twin Galaxies, the official score keeper of video games.
Chien videotaped the machine on which he got his score before and after the record-setting game as required to make the score official. That, along with a 39-point checklist he completed, enabled Twin Galaxies to certify the new score.
A relative newcomer to Donkey Kong, Chien has only been playing since last September. On February 26 of this year, New York City was hit by a major snowstorm that dumped a massive 18 inches of snow on the city. Being home from work and snowed in provided the perfect opportunity for Chien to focus on gaming. The record-setting game lasted two and a half hours, starting late on February 26 and ending early the next day on a machine Chien owns and keeps in his apartment.
In addition to being a plastic surgeon, Chien is a Harvard graduate with degrees in mathematics and computer science (hardly the slacker living in his mom's basement one might imagine of some hard-core gamers). "People ask me for my autograph walking down the street, but I don't think it's going to change my life," Chien told the New York Daily News.
Chien began to play Donkey Kong after watching the 2007 documentary "King of Kong," which showcased the world of competitive Donkey Kong and the lengths people go to try to achieve the world record score.
"The film made me realize that there was a whole bunch of people that were playing the classics, the games from the '80s," Chien said. "Donkey Kong requires reflexes, it requires strategy, it requires foresight planning and timing. It requires everything, which is the beauty of the game."