“Oh, boy” Part 2: Evolving Into the Wrong Thing

Can’t a writer monkey around?

I’m sorry about the terrible pun in the tagline.

It’s actually been quite some time since an article on this page caused a “major” upset, but judging by reactions on some of the message boards and pages that are directing to Pixeled Courier, this one , to my surprise, did.

Why? Well, it just didn’t portray the theory of evolution accurately. In fact, quite a few readers got upset, and when I submitted the article to the scientific journal Genome Biology , it was met with harsh criticism after being peer-reviewed. Jokes aside (I didn’t actually send it to a scientific journal), no one wants to feel that facts were misrepresented. The reason the theory of evolution wasn’t represented in an accurate way, is because this was meant to be an article about Donkey Kong. Does that mean that I can make up anything about anything and get away with it? No, but it does mean that I tried to adapt the concept of evolution to the narrative of the article – seeing how our priority is to be comedy-first – and even though I still think it’s not that big of a deal, some people do, and that’s fair. What I did try to do with the article, other than write puns like the one in the tagline, was these two things:

1.  Make the point that Donkey Kong is going nowhere these days!

2. Make a small point that huge chunks of the gaming world kind of isn’t either.

Now, in the process of making these two points, I managed to write at least ten times as many things about evolution that would have been utterly and entirely cray cray if written in a serious article. Well, I don’t want anyone to feel upset, or leave anyone thinking that the quotes were real, so here are some corrections to some of what I suggested/said about evolution.

  • Human beings didn’t evolve from monkeys . The article kind of says that in the “UPDATE”-section (which was also written as a joke), but still.
  • If Donkey Kong “evolved” in the sense that is described in the article, that’s really more of a metamorphosis, or just a specimen acquiring new abilities, more than anything else. It’s certainly not evolution in accordance with the theory of evolution.
  • Learning to compete in Mario Kart is not considered a part of evolution. Sadly. Gran Turismo, however…
  • Reggie Fils-Aime actually isn’t a renowned evolutionary scientist.
  • Richard Dawkins hasn’t actually made any statements on Donkey Kong, as far as I’m aware.
  • Donkey Kong is not a research project, it’s first and foremost a video game franchise.
  • Spore is also not a research project in the sense described in the article.
  • The events in Donkey Kong do not take place in real time, hence thirty years in the real world can represent a few minutes in the fictional video game world. It’s exactly like Narnia.
  • Donkey Kong does not change naturally in the sense apes in nature do. He’s actually designed and redesigned by game developers. Intelligent design, if you will.

So, my apologies to any hopeful creationists, but scientific consensus is still in on evolution, despite the upcoming release of Donkey Kong for Wii U. Most readers seemed to appreciate the joke about Donkey Kong, and not get too caught up in evolution, but since we have “disproves the theory of evolution” in the title, I can understand that the article might not have presented itself as the light-reading it was intended to be.

So yeah, that’s the second time we’ve given people the wrong impression on a “large” scale. The first time was definitely a more amusing and more widespread controversy, but we’ve got some articles about PETA and Nazi-Germany coming up, so I’m sure there’ll be a next time as well.

Until next time!

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