NEW YORK - Former Senator George J. Mitchell released a blistering report Monday that tied 23 former Famicom and NES action/adventure game characters, including the Lord of King, to the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. The report relied upon a mix of informant testimony and documentary evidence to provide a richly detailed portrait of what Mr. Mitchell described as "the genre's steroids era."
The Lord of King, pictured above, was the most prominent name on a list that also included Lance "Scorpion" Bean of Contra, Soda Popinski from Mike Tyson's Punchout, and a number of henchmen from the Double Dragon series.
The report directly contradicts the claims made by the Lord of King in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee looking into allegations of doping among action/adventure lead characters in 2008 when he declared: "Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH. Never."
The Lord of King, best known for his role as the lead character in the 1988 Jaleco release that bears his name, was unavailable for comment Tuesday morning as a small army of reporters descended on his Malibu residence. He did however issue a comment through his Twitter account, stating:
"I never took HGH or steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the allegations contained in the report in a court of law and I hope my fans and the retro gaming community will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. Peace, Out."
Ralf Jones Vindicated
The allegations contained in the report seem to validate claims made by former Ikari Warrior Ralf Jones in his controversial 2006 tell all book "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant Roids, Smash Hits and How Video Games Got BIG". In the book, Jones claimed that he and Lord of King injected each other with steroids in the locker room while the two were training together for the Nintendo World Championships in 1991, an allegation that Lord of King has vehemently denied.
"I've been saying this for years" Jones, who has been out of the video game world for seven years now, was quoted as saying by a Rolling Stone Reporter. "These twenty three guys named in the report are just the tip of the iceberg, I would guess that about eighty percent of them are juiced. I mean, just look at them. You don't get arms that are wider than your chest naturally."
Records Called Into Question
The revelations contained in the report have also provided more fodder for those who claim the steroids era in video games that began in the late 1980s has tarnished the much revered video game record books.
"I mean, back in the late 70s or early 80s high scores on the most popular games like Space Invaders would barely break the 100,000 barrier" commented Dr. Paul Winterhoffer, professor of American History at UCLA "then these guys in games like Contra came along in the late 80s and suddenly they are clearing that many points in the first stage alone. I mean, come on, you didn't have to be a genius to know that something was going on."
A number of bloggers and video game writers have suggested that all records tainted by the steroids era should have an asterisk placed next to them in the Twin Galaxies record listing. Though the records remain as they are, this movement has gotten support in recent months from noted anti-steroids crusader Snake from Metal Gear.
"I played the game the way it was supposed to be" Snake said in an interview broadcast Tuesday on a Minneapolis area radio show "I mean, I never put any of that stuff into me. Never. I knew other guys were doing it. It'd be like this rookie would go from barely being able to lift a rifle to having a neck the size of a frigging basketball overnight. And suddenly he'd be ripping people's heads off - literally - left, right and center. I didn't play that way though. I can sleep at night knowing my records are clean. Those guys who didn't, well they don' t deserve to have those records if you ask me."
In the meantime the release of the Mitchell Report has led to greater calls for performance enhancing drug testing amongst game characters, a move that the character's union has steadfastly opposed in the past.