"Nothing has changed" for Billy Mitchell's disputed Donkey Kong scores as the record-keepers start selling "educational t-shirts" explaining what cheating looks like

 A Donkey Kong t-shirt which reads "not arcade".
A Donkey Kong t-shirt which reads "not arcade".

Yesterday, notable arcade gamer Billy Mitchell celebrated on social media as his scores were, in his words, "reinstated" on score tracking database Twin Galaxies following the settlement of a lengthy defamation lawsuit. Twin Galaxies, however, wants you to know that its opinion on Mitchell's disputed scores has not changed, and it's now selling "educational t-shirts" poking fun at the whole ordeal.

Twin Galaxies has, indeed, brought back Billy Mitchell's old scores, but only in an archival version of the database intended to preserve the site's scores from before it changed ownership in 2014. "Twin Galaxies' mandate is to verify that submissions meet verification guidelines, not to investigate how they are produced," the site said in a statement that was otherwise pretty vague on the nature of Mitchell's scores. The announcement did acknowledge the opinion of USC's Dr. Michael Zyda, which noted that it would be difficult to determine the legitimacy of Mitchell's scores one way or the other after years of degradation to original arcade hardware.

In the vagueness of that statement, it was pretty unclear whether the lawsuit settlement was favoring Mitchell or Twin Galaxies, but the site has been making some attempts to clarify since the original announcement went up. The site posted a brief FAQ to help clear up any "confusion," which is posted verbatim below.

  • Is Billy still banned from Twin Galaxies competition?

    • Yes.

  • Are Billy's world records going back onto the main leaderboards?

    • No.

  • Has the opinion of Twin Galaxies changed regarding Billy's Donkey Kong scores?

    • No.

"Twin Galaxies has no problem acknowledging that there is an expert out there that has a different opinion than the one Twin Galaxies has," site admins explained. "We very much believe that it is important that people are aware of all the information so they can make their own judgements. If people have questions about what that expert has to say, then they can inquire with that person. On the Twin Galaxies side of things, nothing has changed - except that we are excited to have the old historic database publicly available so people can see what used to be. That's something that TG should always have as part of history."

The Twin Galaxies stance might seem a little bit more clear if you check out the site's newly-opened merch store, which sells items like "educational t-shirts" and mugs. These items show two different versions of the girders that make up the first level of Donkey Kong. One is the original arcade version, while the other is labeled "not arcade" and displays the anomalies alleged to have appeared in Mitchell's original score videos.

There's also a shirt mocking Mitchell's "player of the century" title, and one depicting South Park style versions of YouTubers MoistCr1TiKaL and Karl Jobst, who both posted extensive videos reporting on the allegations against Mitchell.

"We are amazed by those who push boundaries with groundbreaking achievements backed by meticulous evidence," the store page for that last shirt reads. "And we are grateful beyond words for brilliant voices like MoistCr1TiKaL and Karl Jobst (depicted on the t-shirt!), who epitomize courage and honesty. Their meticulous analysis and willingness to spotlight vital issues - even when inconvenient, - sets a shining example of transparency and honor. The gaming world overflows with those speaking truth through their outstanding contributions. To all who motivate us to improve through their selfless dedication, we are deeply thankful."

Since the statement yesterday, Mitchell has made his Twitter account private, indicating in the bio that he's "on Twitter break." His original statement on Twin Galaxies is still visible on Instagram.

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