Kettering graduate among the world’s best Donkey Kong players

Jan 16, 2014

Michael Groesbeck '02, whose degree is in Electrical Engineering, competed in Kong Off 3 in Denver, Colo., Nov. 16-17.

For the second straight year, Michael Groesbeck ‘02 has put his unique skills to the test against some of the best competition in the world. The competition? Donkey Kong players.

Michael Groesbeck ‘02Groesbeck, whose degree is in Electrical Engineering, competed in Kong Off 3 in Denver, Colo., Nov. 16-17. The competition, centered around the iconic arcade video game, featured 32 of the highest scoring players. Groesbeck finished in eighth place in this year’s competition with a score of 1,020,700. He also registered one of the top scores in Donkey Kong history earlier this year when he posted a 1,023,600.

“I've always been a competitive person, so it was only natural for me to take the game to the extreme,” Groesbeck said. “I put up a high ranking score, landing me at one point (June 2012) in the top 10 all-time. I was invited to the Kong Off 3 because of that score and competed with the best players in the world the last two years.”

Groesbeck also competed in last year’s competition, finishing in 13th place with a score of 829,000.

The tournament received extensive regional coverage, including a front page story in the Denver Post and stories by ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates. Vibe Media did a documentary on the event focused on a rivalry between two players, Hank Chien and Vincent Lemay. Some of the scenes in the documentary feature Groesbeck. Groesbeck was also featured in a profile in The Verge, centered on player Shaun Boyd, another Michigan native who Groesbeck traveled with.

Groesbeck is a Shelby Township, Mich., native who currently works for Takata. He became interested in the game after watching a documentary film entitled The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

“I realized that it was a fun and challenging game, and quickly got involved with the online community of Donkey Kong players,” Groesbeck said. “Many stream live play from their arcade machines at home (I stream at It's a fun way to socialize with the other players and push each other to get better at the game.”

Groesbeck is taking some time off from Donkey Kong, but still plans to pursue the world record.

“I am taking a break from the game, but I am planning to take a stab at the world record score in the near future,” he said. “Donkey Kong turns into an addiction, so I can't get away from it … at least not yet. I plan on being at the Kong Off 4 next year.  It's fun to hang out with all the great players live at the event. They're some of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of making friends with.”