LONDON — Primatologist Jane Goodall unveiled findings from her study on the 20-year video game franchise Super Monkey Ball at the Linnean Society “Perspectives on Speciation” conference yesterday.
“Nature never ceases to amaze me,” Dr. Goodall said to a crowd of fellow researchers. “For years, I’ve lived with, learned from, and wrote about these magnificent Monkey Balls.”
In her presentation, Dr. Goodall showed images and data visualization on the various characters in the games and many previously unknown observations about their natural behavior.
“This is AiAi, the alpha of the group,” said Dr. Goodall, displaying the main character of the Super Monkey Ball series. “But AiAi differs greatly from other alphas observed in the field. There’s no obligation to establish dominance. Any so-called violence is limited to playful spars with oversized boxing gloves. AiAi is an egalitarian monkey, leading others like MeeMee or GonGon toward their literal goal with an unprecedented smile.”
Harvard Professor of Biological Anthropology Richard Wrangham, who attended the conference, warned of jumping to conclusions too quickly.
“What Jane Goodall says is always worth listening to,” said Wrangham. “Though I worry that in her usual optimism, she has glossed over concerning developments. The 2021 title Super Moneky Ball Banana Mania is a mere remake of the first three games, and the remastered graphics don’t even look that good.
“If intervention isn’t taken, these super monkeys might roll themselves into deevolution, or even extinction,” added Wrangham.
Beyond Dr. Goodall’s presentation, the Linnean Society conference also included research on chinchilla mating rituals, climate change restoration, and the Brazilian monkey Amigo who can somehow play maracas to samba music.