News Article

Game Boy Classic Donkey Kong Land Is Coming To The Japanese 3DS Virtual Console

Posted by Liam Doolan

You'll go bananas about this news

Fans of the naked ape wearing only a tie will be pleased to hear the 1995 Game Boy title Donkey Kong Land is being released in Japan on the 3DS Virtual Console early next month.

Released a year after the success of the Super Nintendo original, Donkey Kong Land has the Kongs recapturing their banana hoard when Cranky becomes jealous of their initial success.

With four worlds, and the same level archetypes as Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Land is considered just as ground-breaking in a multitude of different ways.

This news comes as a surprise considering Rare’s involvement with the original game’s development, and the removal of all three Super Nintendo Donkey Kong Country games from the Wii Virtual Console library in 2012.

It also blows any previous theories regarding possible conflicts between Nintendo and Rare out the window. With any luck, this release hopefully sheds light on the current relations between the old partners, and gives hope that Nintendo gamers are likely to see the beloved Donkey Kong Country series back on the Virtual Console library some time soon — perhaps on Wii U.

Whatever is currently going on behind closed doors, this is great news for Nintendo, Rare and Kong fans alike. Donkey Kong Land will be released on the Japanese Virtual Console April 4th, and is likely to make its way across to the West shortly after.

Let us know your thoughts about the latest Nintendo and Rare developments, and if you would like to get your hands on a digital version of this Game Boy classic.


From the web

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User Comments (70)



Goginho said:

..what can I say, this would be an ideal move, if Rare and Nintendo were on good terms (again, I suppose?) and we were to see an awesome comeback, with plenty of classic, maybe even fresh, new content in the years to come. I hope this is a sign of sorts, and above all, I hope we get this game too (not too long after). I remember borrowing it from a friend and loved playing that thing on my old Game Boy



Slionr said:

I never really got to play any of them (I think however I played one for the GBC). Are they a GB-versions of the SNES-games or are they different from them?^^



MeWario said:

These are the games that blew my tiny kid mind and got me into gaming I love the whole series! Seriously, they're equal to the 'Country' titles as far as gameplay goes and they looked amazing on the Gameboy.



MeWario said:

@Slionr different from the Snes titles but very very similar... I'm trying to think of another series that's similar but I'm blanking sorry



Kifa said:

Okay, now I'm interested. I still have the original cartridge locked up with other GB games and consoles in a solid box, but playing DKL on a backlit screen? I'm all for that! And really there seems to be no reason not to release it outside of Japan, unless some weird licensing is in play... O.o



allav866 said:

I would definitely buy these. I'm halfway through Hard mode in Tropical Freeze, so it'd be nice to have another DKC game to play once I'm done.



Kafei2006 said:

I always found that something was wrong with the gameplay in the first Game Boy one. I don't know what it is exactly but DK feels super stiff compared to the SNES game. The 2nd and 3rd games are absolutely awesome though!! I own all three in their original cartridge form, and to me, they range from very average for the first one to simply awesome for the third.



readyletsgo said:

I would think, they removed all Donkey Kong games from the Wii VC in 2012 as the Wii U VC was going to start up and they had DKCTF in the works so they could add the SNES/GBA port games to the WII U VC during the Summer and the GB/C games to the 3DS VC at some stage.

Makes sense to me. Pretty sure Rare would want to make money from their old games even if they are with Microsoft now.

But looking at the screens here, not sure if I would be too interested in getting it as the monocrome looks kinda horrible now sadly.



Franklin said:

Whilst this is very, very good news, I think DKL would have been an ideal choice for a 3D remake.



Pod said:

It's pretty insane to think back on how prolific Rare were. The DK Land series are different games all together from the Country games on SNES, and they kept producing quite a few handheld titles while spitting out 11 masterpieces for the N64.



Jimmy_G_Buckets said:

A DK Country and Land compilation physical disc release please. How's that song go; "Never gonna get it never gonna get it. Never gonna get it never gonna get it!". Good news though.



Mr-DNA said:

I never played the sequels, but the original DKL always seemed to me like a case of "coulda" over "shoulda." The pre-rendered graphics lose quite a bit when your reduce them to four colors from the SNES' 256. Combine that with a tiny screen, and you've got a formula for running into Kremlings. The 8-bit renditions of the tunes were great, though.



NintyMan said:

I've been wanting Donkey Kong Land on 3DS since the 3DS VC was first announced three years ago. I had to end up getting the cartridge to play it on my GBA SP instead, but I will definitely get it again on 3DS when it eventually comes westward.

This also almost convinces me that the Donkey Kong Country trilogy will be added to the Wii U VC at some point too.



ricklongo said:

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Donkey Kong Country for the Wii U VC would be a dream come true. Let's hope I'm not getting my hopes up for nothing.



ULTRA-64 said:

Donkey Kong remix anyone!! All games, all formats, extreme challenges...... Well a man can dream =)



Dark-Link73 said:

"This news comes as a surprise considering Rare’s involvement with the original game’s development, and the removal of all three Super Nintendo Donkey Kong Country games from the Wii Virtual Console library in 2012."

Not to me. This only confirms what I've been saying all along: The Wii VC versions of DKC were removed because it was a console and the Rare buyout deal allows Rare to make games for Nintendo handhelds because M$ is not in that market.

This is a good game, I still have the original but I'd consider buying this one from the eShop if it makes it to NA.



FriedSquid said:

I remember playing that as a kid! Almost forgot it existed... If this comes to NA I'll definitely grab it.



Dark-Link73 said:

@readyletsgo @DestinyMan @readyletsgo @ricklongo @Zalbet @robaLEX

Sorry to burst your bubble guys but that's not going to happen as long as M$ has a console on the market. Rare, and M$ by proxy, own the SNES game engine but not the characters. Doesn't anyone find it peculiar that the only games Rare releases for Nintendo since the buyout are for portable only and the few that got put on console were removed?



NintyMan said:

@Dark-Link73: Then why was the Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the Wii VC for years until Nintendo suddenly decided to remove them? If what you stated is true, then the trilogy should have never been there in the first place.



Luffymcduck said:

The first one is okay but 2nd and 3rd are in top-5 Game Boy games.

I'm really surpirised of this news, maybe they can bring the original SNES trilogy on eShop too... or not.



KevTastic84 said:

To all Wii - Wii U owners. When transferring data over to the Wii U, Can i transfer all my Wii VC games over to a Wii U, even if they are not on the Wii U VC yet. Like my copy of DKC3



Starzsixty9 said:

I recently bought the original cart for my Game Boy off ebay but the internal battery is shot ill probably end up just trying to replace it since NA probably wont see it for another year or so following the other region releases... yes im talking about you smb3




@KevTastic84 Yes, but all your games will be on the wii channel, if a vc game is on the eshop already you can upgrade that game for a buck or 1.20 US.



Yoshi said:

But….but….but….could this mean that DKC will return to the Virtual Console?



Dr_Corndog said:

One of my childhood favorites. Replayed it about a year ago, and it doesn't hold up nearly as well as the SNES trilogy. It's still fun, though.



Gigan said:

I had (may still have if I dig through some boxes) this game, it was really good.
I wondered why the SNES games weren't on the VC. I hope this news means we'll get them soon. Tropical Freeze really has me wanting to play through the old games.



Beau_Skunk said:

I just hope it doesn't take MONTHS to come out over here, like most other Virtual Console games lately... (Still waiting for Bubble Bobble, Tetris Attack, and SMB3, all been out in Japan's 3DS VC for months... Whoever's in charge of the North American Virtual Console, should be fired) We especially need more Gameboy games on 3DS, as we haven't gotten many recent ones. Can't wait for "Donkey Kong Land 2," which is the only DKL game I don't already own. (I might get this game again anyways.)

Even if the movements are a bit slower/choppier then the SNES games, it's still a good game, with some good unique locations, and enemies in it. (the play control was improved in the DKL sequels, DKL3 feels almost exactly like the SNES games when played on Super Gameboy) Also, another improvement, Expresso the ostrich can STOMP enemies now, and not get hurt.



Superryanworld said:

@DestinyMan I agree.The original trilogy was on the wii for a good amount of time,and i agree with Nintendo life that if ms&rare had a issue with the rare produced dkc games we wouldn't see this.



Superryanworld said:

@Dark-Link73 Many of your posts make sense,but not this time.Do you really believe that Microsoft cares if Nintendo throws a few games on the vc that are twenty years old?Do you know how absurd that sounds?If the evil Microsoft company had such a issue with this we wouldn't be seeing this article.How does it matter if land was on gb and country was on snes ?Because Microsoft doesn't compete in the handheld market?I get so tired of fanboy conspiracies.



dumedum said:

well, this removes doubts that there was any "legal problem" about publishing the games and their removal in the VC. Of course these games are owned by Nintendo and they can do whatever they want with them.



Dark-Link73 said:

@DestinyMan I can't tell you for sure why the trilogy made it to the VC, I was shocked back in 07 when it happened; but I can tell you that because Rare owns the engine is the reason the trilogy is no longer there.

My best guess is that when Nintendo put the trilogy on VC, they actually came out with an agreement with M$ After all DKC is a Nintendo IP so probably M$ didn't mind getting some money out of it; besides, it's not like Rare would be making a full game for the Wii, it's just a ROM. So when M$ tried to bring GoldenEye 007 to Live, sources close to Rare started that Nintendo and M$ couldn't agree on a deal (GE007 for Love was just going to be a port using Nintendo's code), SO when it came time for Nintendo to renew the license with M$, as vindictive as M$ is, they asked Nintendo for more money and Nintendo said no.

Here is are a couple of links:
On Rare "changing platforms" but still making games for GBA

And on the possible reason of goldeneye not making it to Live

As for the theory by some that the Trilogy got removed from VC in anticipation of the Wii U release, I seriously doubt that because Nintendo hasn't removed any other big games from VC, on the contrary, Nintendo is being releasing some of the same titles "double-dipping" the sales on both, Nintendo Wii Shop Channel and the eShop.



Dpishere said:

Being a pretty big Donkey Kong fan, this news makes me hopeful that it comes to the NA e-shop soon, as I would totally buy it!



Dark-Link73 said:

@Superryanworld So I go from "many of your posts make sense" to "fanboy-conspiracy theorist" after only one post with which you did not agree? Dang! Tough crowd!

You ask if I believe that "...Microsoft cares if Nintendo throws a few games on the vc that are twenty years old?" Let me ask you something before I answer your question: Do YOU believe that a company is going to stop caring about a product they own (Rare OWNS the engine) that has the potential to bring them revenue even if it is 20 years old? Nintendo does, otherwise they wouldn't be releasing all these VC games, and certainly MICROSOFT CARES TOO, otherwise they wouldn't have re-released Perfect Dark on Live after 10 years. Do YOU realize how absurd YOU sound by asking such questions? M$ is a business looking to make money, and if a property can make them money, old or new, THEY'LL CARE.

Listen bud, the business world is not so "vanilla", otherwise companies wouldn't sue reach other out for patents and intellectual rights of properties that are decades old. As for the "conspiracy theory", I love them as much as the next person but I don't embrace them enough to swear and live by them. My theory is just a theory (which I disclosed), backed by some research (links provided), that happen to fit the facts. It's just "food-for-thought".

If you like to think outside the box, take it and analyze it, tweak it if you want. I don't own it. But if you don't like to accept other ideas, that's ok too. Just don't get too worked up about it calling people names and making counter arguments that, within themselves, sound absurd. It's not worth it.



JaxonH said:

Nintendo didn't need Rare's partnership to release this. We've known for quite a while now that Rare had nothing to do with DKC trilogy being pulled from the WiiShop. They made a statement specifically pointing out that they hold zero legal rights to the game, and that fans would have to ask Nintendo why the games were taken down. Most speculated that licensing ran out, and with the Wii U on the scene, there was little reason to pay for renewal (of course this is just speculation, however likely).

I must say, I'm THRILLED to hear this news. I've been impatiently waiting for the SNES DKC trilogy to come to VC since I bought my 3DS and Wii U. I know this isn't the GBA ports of the trilogy, and certainly not the SNES trilogy themselves, and I know it's a Japan-only release atm, BUT, this brings hope. With DK Land released, the road will be paved for the trilogy, which would actually be fitting considering they are on the GBA, and GBA games are landing on Wii U VC. I would be ok with that, but at some point I'm gonna want to see the SNES games on VC, for both Wii U and 3DS. Then I'll shut up about it



Superryanworld said:

@Dark-Link73 Understood.I apologize for the fanboy remark.You could stop the whole "m$ "thing.All three console company's are in this industry to make $$money$$,and they all have made bad calls that have angered consumers at one point or another.



Flash-Jordan said:

Gd idea! Was just thinking this the other day funnily enough when booting my cart up on my super game boy



Flash-Jordan said:

Ps gba versions are inferior due to gamma issues relating to the original gbas non backlit screen



SparkOfSpirit said:

Awesome! Can't wait for the SNES games to come to the VC next! (Also the GBA ports so I can get the GBA soundtrack and extra world for DKC3)



SonataAndante said:

I hope this means we'll see re-releases of all of Rare's Donkey Kong games in some form. It'd be good to get them all back out there again. A distant dream for me would be Rare allowing Nintendo to take DK64 and remake it, that and Nintendo actually wanting to do it. It'll never happen, realistically speaking. I think DK64 had some great ideas and an excellent world to explore, but it's a bloated mess in other ways.



ICEknight said:

Why the Super Game Boy screens? That's not how it's going to look like on the 3DS.



flightsaber said:

My save battery on DKCII for GB died last year, and after a failed soldering attempt to replace it, I'll be looking forward to returning to my favorite portable games soon.

Hopefully they'll release the Pokemon TCG RPG on VC before that battery dies out too...



Henmii said:

Yeah, this is quite a surprise! Does this mean Nintendo owns the Kremlins after all?!



Beau_Skunk said:

DK64 is kinda doubtful for 2 reasons. The old Rareware game "JetPac" included is now owned by Microsoft, leading to licensing issues, and the arcade DK game is also included for free, And the NES version is on VC for 5 bucks. Nintendo probably also fears that fans who already payed 5 bucks for the DK NES game would be upset that this game has it for free. (And with the 4th level not included in the NES version.)

I hear Nintendo only allows one version of their games to be released on the Virtual Console, this is why we have "Pokemon Puzzle League," but not the SNES "Tetris Attack," or why we have only the NES version of "Wario's Woods," and such.
This is probably why we don't see "ExciteBike 64" on VC either, because the original "Excitebike" was included for free in it to, and it's already on VC, as well.
Though, seeing how "Super Mario Bros. Deluxe" is out in Europe now on it's VC, maybe Nintendo is gradually getting over that.



Beau_Skunk said:

@Henmii To my knowledge yes, Rare gave Nintendo all the rights to the DKC characters, and such. In fact, the Kremlings were featured in several non-Rare DK games like, DK: King of Swing, it's sequel DK: Jungle Climber, DK: Barrel Blast, and even a few Mario sports games like Super Mario Strikers.
Why Nintendo/Retro doesn't use them in the new DKC Returns games is unknown, but the fact "Barrel Blast," and such didn't do as well may be the reason. They probably thought the games would do better with fresh new enemies. They don't even have the Gnawties, Necky buzzards, or others either.



Dark-Link73 said:

@Superryanworld No worries. I use "M$" as an abbreviation that is commonly used by many (kind of like "ain't" [which I actually hate]). I never thought of "M$" as a derogatory term. If that's the case then I could use "MS" or I can simply stop being lazy and just the entire word "Microsoft".

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