6 thoughts on “Donkey Time”

  1. Well first of all I have to say congratulations on the thoroughness of that document. That’s a lot of research about Kong.

    For most of the dates you have the scores listed as VERIFIED RECORD, TG DATABASE, UNVERIFIED and (occasionally) OTHER. Could you define what you mean by those? Unverified seems like it means “submitted but not reviewed by TG staff” and Other is a catch all, but it might be helpful to distinguish what the difference between VERIFIED and TG DATABASE is since it’s not obviously apparent. As I’m sure you’re aware I personally would consider TG DATABASE to be ipso facto Verified, so clearing up how you are separating the two could shed some light.

  2. The main place where the database listing and the verified score diverges is October 2003 when Robert Mruczek announced that Steve Wiebe’s score had been reclassified. This follows on Walter Day’s public declaration that Wiebe would relinquish the “traditional” Donkey Kong record if his board was in doubt.

    In addition to the public announcements by Twin Galaxies invalidating his score, Wiebe was personally notified by phone and email that his score was invalid. TG was not ambiguous with him — he was seeking a new board in a effort to get a TG valid score. So Steve Wiebe was the ipso facto high score holder, but as of Fall 2003, he was no longer the de jure record holder.

    After King of Kong came out, Walter Day ignored his prior declarations and argued against the de jure decision of his chief referee, claiming that the failure to update the database makes the score ipso facto valid.

    This is a documented contradiction. But I want to track the contradictions over time rather than eliminate them, so… “validated” and “database” tracks.

  3. Ok, but that wasn’t my question. To put it more directly: I think that timeline would be even more useful than it currently is if you explicitly defined the terms “validated”, “unvalidated”, “tg database” et al at the beginning of the document and what the criteria is for something going in there or not.

    I think it’s clear that the intent was to split it, but it wasn’t done. (Robert Mruczek uses the future tense, and indeed Walter Day’s comments say “would be”.)

    But it evidently wasn’t done, as is evidenced by the score from the way-back machine on 20050325.

    So the question is, in what sense is the world record different from official record? What is the additional category that you are using, and how do you define it? TG as an institution is there to resolve these disputes; they set the standards and it’s to through them that these disputes are resolved, so data that they publish is definitive and both de facto and de jure.

    They have an internal process to go through a resolve things, which is what you are in large part linking to. And indeed it seems that in this case an internal process broke down and what they ended up doing wasn’t what they intended to do. But that’s what they did. Its not clear to me what that means then, that if they meant to do something that it changes what the record is or if he had it. What else to you appeal to if you have issues with the appeal process? Is there some sort of Platonic world-record book?

    That’s why I’m curious how you define the terms that you use, which separate out what should have been or what’s intended with what was.

  4. Is there some sort of Platonic world-record book?

    No, there’s not. That’s the point.

    TG database entries and TG verified scores have diverged at times for various reasons — some technical, some social-political, sometimes people just got too busy.

    I understand that you crave certainty, Will. But I’m interested in tracking the conflicting narratives around this particular thread of history. If you have a better term to describe the divergence, I’m open to suggestion.

  5. I doubt its possible to have things like this certain at all. What I’m more concerned about is the precision when describing things, because using vague terms makes it harder to communicate. Because a lot of the rather strong, blunt claims made rests upon what one means by “official” or “verified” or whatever. Depending upon how you slice that up in your own mind, then you can read Walter Day’s comments or whatever different ways.

    I think the way you are framing it is clearer now. And I recognize the irony of me saying that to someone who created that monster detailed document. Too bad the film makers didn’t include anything as thorough as this.

  6. Too bad the film makers didn’t include anything as thorough as this.

    I guess that’s why they made a film and not a timeline…

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