TierZoo

TierZoo YouTube

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Kennedy Unthank

YouTube Channel Review

It’s no secret that some animals are much more powerful than others. There’s a reason why we’re much more afraid of a hippopotamus than a guinea pig. But just why is the hippopotamus a bigger threat than a guinea pig, and by how much?

That’s where Patrick Lacey, the creator of TierZoo, comes in.

TierZoo treats rating the survival strategies of animals as if he was talking about top strategies of a video game—as if animals were various classes that players could choose from in the game of life. He talks through the different animal “builds,” explaining their overall strengths and weaknesses, telling viewers which animals they shouldn’t choose to play as and which are overpowered. So, if you’ve ever wanted to know where rodents rank amongst one another, which animals are the best “support class” for human players or whether or not geese are overpowered, TierZoo answers those questions and more for you.

POSITIVE CONTENT

Patrick studied microbiology in college, and he has the goal to “get gamers interested in zoology.” And for the most part, it works, as he describes animals with “gamer” words, and he edits videos to look as if they’re from a video game.

For instance, he will often overlay text from games such as Runescape, Overwatch, Dark Souls and others in order to make the videos more entertaining. He also often takes music and visual effects from games such as Super Smash Bros, Halo and Darkest Dungeon to visualize effects, such as providing animals with health bars and putting Call of Duty-like hit markers when an animal attacks another. By mixing comedy with factual analysis, we can laugh and learn at the same time.

In essence, instead of simply talking about the strengths and weaknesses of animals, TierZoo discusses it as if they were different playstyles in a video game. Then, he ranks them on a tier list, with S-tier being best and F-tier being the worst “animal builds.” And with each build (the make-up of a strategy), he displays their animal stats through ranking them on intelligence, power, defense, mobility, health points and stealth. All of this makes learning zoology feel less like a textbook assignment and more like learning the best strategies to win in a game, which will likely interest children much more than that heaping 600-plus-page biology book.

CONTENT CONCERNS

TierZoo’s biggest drawback is that the channel often talks about evolution. It describes animals using their “evolution points” in order to “spec” – allocate points into – various skills. For instance, in talking about humans, TierZoo explains that the reason why humans have high endurance is their choice to not spec into the “fur ability” like “other” monkeys, which unlocked the unique “sweat ability,” allowing them to recharge stamina when moving. TierZoo often compares humans to primates – perhaps unintentionally – rejecting the unique and inherent value o human life by doing so.

On TierZoo’s “About” page, Patrick writes “Evolution has produced some bizarre traits, strategies, and life cycles that I feel need to be given the spotlight once in a while. I don’t shy away from keeping the brutal with the beautiful, so if you’re new to my content, be warned.”

The warning is warranted. In example videos, animals attack, bite and kill one another occasionally. In a video ranking various fish strategies, fish tear at one another and eat each other. In a video ranking cat builds, we see various big cats like leopards and tigers sinking their teeth into prey.

CHANNEL SUMMARY

TierZoo provides an entertaining way to learn about zoology by comparing the world to a video game in which only the most optimal gaming strategies survive. However, parents and viewers should be aware of the channel’s violence, as well as its dependency on evolution in order to prove its points.

kennedy-unthank
Kennedy Unthank

Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. His favorite movie is La La Land.