The sun rose on a new King of Kong this morning: Wes Copeland, and I bet he feels grateful.
Wes has been chasing the title of highest Donkey Kong scorer for a while, briefly attaining it at the Donkey Kong Online Open 2015 before having his own record beat mere HOURS later. Copeland had scored 1,170,500; soon after, his rival Robbie Lakeman beat him at the same event with 1,172,100. On January 3, 2016, Copeland struck back with a 1,190,000 score, putting him back on top. Lakeman will not be responding to this challenge, declaring his retirement for the time being from arcade competition.
There is an absolute limit to how much one can score in a game of Donkey Kong, due to the game having a “kill screen” like most other arcade classics. If you can guide Mario (or Jumpman, whichever) through 21 rounds of the four stages, his 22nd trip up the girders will result in an instant death for no reason. The goal has now become to rack up as many points as possible before the player hits Level 22.
An analysis of the game puts the maximum score possible in Donkey Kong somewhere above 1,200,000, so eventually, someone is going to win the King of Kong title for life. Currently the highest score ever registered in the game (done on an emulator with save states) is 1,206,800.