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Month Of Kong: What Donkey Kong Country Means To Me

Posted by Dave Letcavage

Dave Letcavage on growing up with Kong as company

We know what you're going to say. Our Month of Kong celebration should have ended with the close of February, and we're now two days into March. However, in very much the same way that Nintendo refuses to be tied down by conventional calendars when it comes to plotting The Year of Luigi, we're prepared to turn a blind eye and keep our Kong-related content alive for a little longer. With that in mind, we'll pass you over to Nintendo Life's resident DK expert Dave Letcavage, who has a few words to impart on the how much the franchise means to him on a personal level.


There comes a point in life when many of us get pulled in a direction we never expected to go. For most, this commonly occurs as we’re transitioning into adulthood, when the world puts forth expectations that we feel obligated to meet for fear of failure. Some people undergo this transition without missing a beat or compromising a modicum of their character, while others struggle to fit into the demanding mold crafted by the world around them. Friends and family are getting married, having kids and advancing in their line of work, while the rest of us feel like we're stuck standing in place just watching them race by. Those in the latter category then rush to catch up to the pack, sometimes leaving bits and pieces of themselves behind. I know this because I've experienced it first-hand.

A while back I had relocated across the United States for a more-than-promising position in a line of work I wasn't all that particularly interested in – because money and advancement, of course. As time went on and I was inching closer and closer to a lucrative career, I began inadvertently sacrificing nearly all of the things that made me happy throughout the years — things I was extremely passionate about. Life became synonymous with work, and money was taught to be a trophy indicative of success. These were never ideals that I sympathized with previously, but for whatever reason I was fully embracing them.

That is, until E3 2010.

The stage is set. Nintendo’s press briefing is underway and Reggie Fils-Aime is front and center, shifting gears and seemingly about to introduce a new game. “Retro Studios”, he says, and my full attention is his. Then that music played. Was it…Donkey Kong Country? My gut was fully aware of what I was hearing, but my brain was uncertain. Even though I was familiar with that iconic tune through-and-through, I was struck with confusion, laced with an equal measure of disbelief. When the trailer rolled and Donkey Kong came crashing onto that beach front, I felt something I hadn’t in ages – an uncontrollable dose of youthful excitement.

You see, the Donkey Kong Country series played a huge role in my development as a gamer. Prior to 1994, deciding on which video game to buy next was a family affair – either we were all interested, or we didn't get it. Donkey Kong Country was the first game I recall getting that appealed only to me. My sister and I didn't have to fight for playtime, making it a much more personal gaming experience. For the first time I could explore at my own pace without another person impatiently waiting or pleading for their turn. This level of focus meant I practiced, triumphed, and earned the confidence to finally see video games as a conquerable challenge. I grew into my gaming shoes that year, and the Super Nintendo was solidified as my main source of entertainment.

The next Christmas when Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest showed up under our tree, an unexpected thing happened – my sister was majorly interested. (In retrospect I would have to say the addition of playable female lead is what captured her attention, so way to go Rare!) Her level of enthusiasm was off the chart compared to any game before it. She was actually determined to prevail and earn success even when the going got tough – much like the original Donkey Kong Country thrust me forward in terms of skill, DKC2 was doing the same for her. It was the first time that I can recall us not only playing together amicably, but also working toward the greater good. A video game united a brother and sister separated by four years of age and an interest in completely different hobbies, and for that reason – on top of many others – I'll always remember it fondly.

When the trilogy was capped off with Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! at the end of 1996, my family was enduring tough times. Thankfully, the postcard-worthy Northern Kremisphere was a captivating place to escape when the weight of the world around me was a bit too heavy. Being able to traverse the inviting overworld by means of vehicles expanded upon the sense of adventure the series was known for, and I really dug that. I was so immensely into it that I completed the game in only a handful of days, which was a first for me. This accomplishment propelled me into the era of the Nintendo 64 with conviction, and cemented video games as commonplace in my lifestyle for the next 12 years.

But when the adult world came calling, I lost track of gaming for a while.

I was so consumed by that job I didn't like, and so focused on chasing a standard of living that I thought I had to meet, everything "trivial" faded out of sight. Everyone around me was making that major step into the next era of their lives and I was rushing to do the same. I was dabbling in a little creative writing at the time, but most days I didn't have the mental stamina to produce anything worthwhile after a busy day of work – which unfortunately was every day. Life was all work, and there was little time to pursue happiness.

When I finally got my mitts on Donkey Kong Country Returns — the game that Reggie had unveiled at the aforementioned E3 2010 presentation — everything began to change. It was like a long-dormant portal to the past was reopened and I was getting back a part of myself that I hadn't been familiar with in ages. If I had an unlimited amount of time to accurately and appropriately express the overwhelming amount of satisfaction and happiness I extracted from my first playthrough of Returns, I don't think I could do it. I would concede to a loss for words. It was an experience that led to life-altering realizations and a major wake-up call.

Solely attributing this revelation to nostalgia would be inaccurate. In fact, it was Retro Studios’ dedication to distinguish Returns from the SNES trilogy that really resonated with me. While the core gameplay remained largely intact, the level design was elevated to all new heights, incorporating more secrets to unearth than ever before. There was a unprecedented degree of charm and personality apparent at every turn, which really reinvigorated my creative energies. I began making music again, drawing cartoons, and — as you may have guessed — I started writing about video games. Over the course of the next six months I had begun distancing myself from my job, and I made the decision to move back across the country to my hometown – ultimately resulting in me reconnecting with an old high-school crush and turning her into my wife.

“Take the thing you love and make it your life.”

I couldn't think of a quote more fitting to convey the effect Returns had on me. It’s a piece of dialog from an episode of the television show Californication, and it has stuck with me since the moment I first heard it. When DK and Diddy came swinging back into view, it reminded me of what I wanted in life before the world and societal standard attempted to sway me in other directions. I’m now not only fully aware of the things that make me the happiest in life, but I'm also constantly making an effort to keep those things an important part of my day-to-day. I may not be the richest man when it comes to money, but each and every day I'm surrounded only by things I'm infinitely passionate about, and when you’re always happy, well…I don't know what makes a man richer than that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I've got to go play through Tropical Freeze for the third time.

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User Comments (71)

GunstarHero234

#1

GunstarHero234 said:

These titles means more to me than the new "wannabe" DK versions Retro Studios keeps developing. -_-

Pit-Stain

#2

Pit-Stain said:

That was an interesting read. Thanks for bringing some memorable histories and moments about our favorite ape, I hope we get more of 'em.

johndevine

#3

johndevine said:

@GunstarHero234 wannabe?

They aren't shoving anything down your throat.

Nor are they pumping them out at the rate Rare were.

I am a huge fan of the SNES trilogy.

But will gladly admit to enjoying the newer kong titles even more. If the 11 year old me had played Tropical freeze. I'd have had a blast.
Returns and tropical freeze are both immense platformers.

Have you played them?

Or more importantly have you finished them.
They are brilliant and very worthy successors to the SNES Kongs.

Although I now hope that Retro don't put out another Kong sequel until the next Nintendo console.

One per console is enough for me. Variety is important.

GunstarHero234

#4

GunstarHero234 said:

@johndevine Yes I have and guess what I don't like them so why would I even try to finish them? I tryed them both time and time again and to my opinion they are mediocre compared to their successors.

Also I love variety in my games just Retro Studios are developing titles in the ways that I don't like from the classics like Metroid Prime another mediocre FPS wannabe trying to be something it isn't but getting overrated status which I rather have a Super Metroid style title that isn't Other M.

NintyMan

#5

NintyMan said:

I can completely understand this guy's affection for the Donkey Kong Country series, because I also grew up with the series. I was one year old when Donkey Kong Country came out and it may have even been the first video game I played, or among the first games I played anyway. I liked the characters so much that rhinos became my favorite animal because of Rambi and crocodiles were my second favorite because of King K. Rool and the Kremlings. Cranky Kong also made me laugh and the music really stuck with me. Unfortunately, I missed out on the second and third games and wouldn't get to play them until years later on the GBA and then SNES, but I did play Donkey Kong 64 and that also really impressed me. I like the author said he does creative writing, because my stories were about the Donkey Kong games.

Returns was quite a break from the past with tikis instead of Kremlings and Rambi, Squawks, and Cranky only being it along with DK and Diddy even though they were my favorites from the first game, but I still really enjoyed the game. Tropical Freeze, however, is clearly better, and the Snowmads are much better enemies than the tikis and then all of my favorite Kongs are playable while Rambi is back and David Wise composed music for DK once again. Here's to a bright future for the Donkey Kong series!

Dinosaurs

#6

Dinosaurs said:

@DRL Powerful piece you've written here, thank you for sharing that stuff about your life. It's very fortunate I know, when things beyond our control and foresight come around almost like a strong magnet with a pull that centers us to a place, perhaps it's one we've left, and even sometimes away from directions that we thought were the best we could do but not the necessarily the best that we should be going in.

I am immensely enjoying Tropical Freeze. So far on the Wii U it's given me more new game excitement after the title screen than any so far. I think it's becoming one of my very top favorites and I've been playing Nintendo platformers since the release of Mario Bros. 3 (still waiting for that VC release BTW, Reggie..lol)

SuperZelda64

#7

SuperZelda64 said:

November is Donkey Kong Country's 20th anniversary.... And it's Diddy Kong's Debut.... Year of Diddy Kong?

Sixmillion

#8

Sixmillion said:

A nice touching story Dave. I remember when donkey kong was packaged with the NES. I would play it at our local Woolworths department store , excited to get mine for Xmas. Good times indeed !

antipop621

#9

antipop621 said:

I really liked the story! For me as well, the DKC trilogy is associated with some of my happiest childhood memories. I still proudly own the cartridges :)

I'll also never forget how I felt watching the E3 conference when Returns was revealed.

Shiryu

#10

Shiryu said:

"Californication", an amazing show!

Donkey Kong is my favourite Nintendo character of all time, even if I was never very good at the original arcade game. The SNES trilogy made me dream, dream of a world where 2D games would continue to evolve in such a terrific way as RARE's masterpieces. Sadly that was not to be, everyone went 3D mad and that was that. I'm quite happy that Retro is making new DKC keeping the original trilogy close for inspiration, because even two decades later, they play like a dream.

unrandomsam

#11

unrandomsam said:

@johndevine So have you finished Tropical Freeze already ? Having played Returns properly does it make it much easier than last time ? (If it very similar and doesn't raise the bar then I think I will get the most out of it when it was much longer since I played the last one). Rare made the second one harder or at least I thought so but it was pretty different.

daniruy

#12

daniruy said:

The game that made that for me, David, was Super Mario Galaxy. It changed the way I play and think videogames - and ultimately life. Thank God for that game.

khululy

#13

khululy said:

@GunstarHero234 I completely and wholeheartly disagree with everything you've said and will say about Donkey Kong country returns (I haven't played TF yet so can't judge but it looks delightful). That game is amazing and really faithfull to the original series.

The original Donkey Kong games truely felt like a new adventure back in the days I still have all 3 copies and play them now and then to experience them they way the should be, well minus the CRT TV.
My favorite is still the 2nd of the bunch but I love them all and then some,

retro_player_22

#14

retro_player_22 said:

@GunstarHero234

So you hate them for making a game franchise different from the old ones (Metroid Prime series) and again hate them for making a game franchise the same like the old ones (DKC Returns). Seem like you just hate them for who they are and not value any creativity they had brought to gaming. If that is so, then you aren't deserving of playing any games at all. Those who live to hate will never know the joy of happiness even if they had all the goodness of the world.

GunstarHero234

#15

GunstarHero234 said:

@retro_player_22 Meh the fact of it is their "creativity" isn't enough for me to change my mind in fact if I actually cared about their creativity they would win me over but no this is my opinion that Rare DK games are always going to be better to me so to end this because you are wasting your energy and my time trying to debate. I played many games from BOTH SEGA and Nintendo golden era and beyond to give me all the happiness I can positively desire in gaming sad for you though and the rest that miss out on many games and systems because of the "blind factor".

One more thing where in my comment you read "I Hate Retro Studios" because I never stated that?

retro_player_22

#16

retro_player_22 said:

@GunstarHero234

Ha if Rare was to come back and make another Donkey Kong Country game today, it won't be like the ones you play as kids and some of the people who work on DKC with Rare at the time also work on DKCR so the games still had value. You are the kind of person who doesn't like new stuff unless it die, it's like you don't like them but then when they die you pretend to like them. I bet if Rare still make DKC games today you will still complain how they don't play like they use to. I had heard these kind of stuff all the time from the same people who grew up back then and are still alive now. Just be glad they make any game at all let alone a new DK and Metroid

Mk_II

#19

Mk_II said:

Back in the day, my ex-GF introduced me to Nintendo gaming by way of Super Mario Wprld but most of all Donkey Kong Country. She was way better than me and couldn't stand it when it kept making the same stupid mistakes... LOL. Those were the days!

NorthLightSuplx

#20

NorthLightSuplx said:

Dave thank you for sharing this story. I hope the younger readers keep this in mind as life starts hitting them full force. Money and fame is not everything in life... being happy ,loving what you do, and being content is what counts.

GunstarHero234

#21

GunstarHero234 said:

@retro_player_22 Same for the majority of your community you people buy or don't buy whatever it comes to a Nintendo system trash or not and still would defend, complain, hate, or state everything that is "Creative" from other platforms but won't let other people who have an open mindset have their opinions understanding what games or systems should be liked or not.

But the fact of it is Retro Studios didn't win me over their titles and I don't need to be a "Nintendo Puppet" to realize that sorry.

element187

#22

element187 said:

@GunstarHero234 shoving down your throat? In what way? Retro/Nintendo makes a game. You have the option to purchase it or not. Nobody is forcing you to purchase it, you are free to buy or not buy. That's how capitalism works.

GunstarHero234

#23

GunstarHero234 said:

@element187 Understandable but can I ask a question you could have just ignored my comment and moved on but ya'll have to bully me over one opinion or better yet i'll change it so my comment won't sound so "bad" sorry for the inconvenience NL.

element187

#24

element187 said:

@GunstarHero234 shoving something down someone's throat would be like what Obama did with healthcare, by forcing everyone into it and removing all matter of choice from the equation. Buying video games is still a matter of 100% free will, a voluntary agreement between two parties.

Kirk

#25

Kirk said:

You know, it's weird. I worked at Rare back in the day, on Donkey Kong Country Color for the Game Boy Color no less, and the Donkey Kong games just don't really mean that much to me. Well not the SNES game or the ones that came after it anyway.

I guess unless I genuinely think a game is brilliant fun to play and it really captures my imagination etc I just don't connect with it that much beyond a very superficial way and I don't actually consider the DKC games to be that special when it comes to actual gameplay. I mean they look good and the original was particularly visually/technically impressive for it's time but in all honestly the platforming has always felt very generic to me.

Without the visuals I really don't think these games would stand out much beyond the hundreds of other good, solid but pretty generic standard affair platformers out there.

Still, there's no debate that as a whole they are very solid titles but maybe I'm just more of a Mario guy (I'm talking more about his older classic games, likes SMB/SMB3/SMW/SMW2:YI/SM-AS, than the more recent ones).

GunstarHero234

#26

GunstarHero234 said:

@element187 Politics now which I don't give a damn about the fact of it is you always have your own complaints about the other consoles on here calling them what "oh yes Dudebro boxes or Ghetto boxes etc" but I ignore your comments but my comment which isn't that negative supposed to be so "evil" because I gave my blunt opinion about a Nintendo product.

ricklongo

#27

ricklongo said:

Fantastic read. I can identify in so many levels, from my recently rediscovered love for video games (I only became a daily video game site reader a little more than a year ago, when I was considering getting a Wii U), to my current process of trying to get a job that will allow me to tone down work hours, to my love of the Donkey Kong Country series. Kudos on finding happiness. :)

ChuJelly

#28

ChuJelly said:

Really great read, Dave. I played the DKC games as they came out with the GBA ports at around the age of four, and while I didn't have quite so much a wait after DKC3 to play another Country game as most others did, I am experiencing a similar transition to this with Tropical Freeze. I never did with Returns, for some reason; my guess is that it came out when I was still young and stupid, with the gameplay of the originals vividly fresh in my mind, so I was too stubborn to finish it.

But when TF was announced, during a time when the pressures of high school life have taken over my life, my passion and nostalgia for the series flooded back, too. I went back to replay Returns, as well as the originals, enjoying every single minute of them with a huge child-like smile on my face. They helped keep me distracted from my constant life of school work and anxiety during those brief moments in the weekends, as well as kept me hyped for what is sure to be a new classic. The nostalgia trip spiraled out to me regaining the same dreams and wishes I used to have, and I have since took up drawing more often and now once again dream to enter the video game industry. They helped push me in the right direction away from my depression like nothing else did at the time, and I love it for that. :)

sinalefa

#29

sinalefa said:

This was an interesting story. Good thing you followed your heart in the end, Dave.

Of the three games I enjoyed the second one more. Maybe because I was playing it with a friend at the time, so we would help each other or compete to find secrets, specially the DK coins. I played the third one years after it was released, so I did not enjoy it as much.

Returns is also a great game. The way they tried to make new enemies and make something similar, yet different to what Rare did was nice. I should get Tropical Freeze in a few days, really looking forward to it.

khululy

#30

khululy said:

@GunstarHero234 Your comments sound so angry, go play some more donkey kong returns :)
The qualitiy of platforming in DKC returns is not better or worse then it is one the original SNES games (yes the wii controls are questionable but on the 3DS it controls like a charm.)
And while the current DKC titles are not as refreshing as the ones from the 90's it's platforming is still up to par with other modern (and old)platforming titles like Rayman or Mario.
I think your expectations conflicted with your experience and thus your opinion of the game is that it is a bad game but even if the game is not for you it's still a damn solid platformer.
The main reason, I think. dkc returns feels the way it does because it tried to bridge the gap between new and old. One can debate if they succeeded or not because there are always nitpicking people who are never satisfied regardless of what people try to do.
Zelda series is a great example of how people want new things but don't want change.

Agent721

#31

Agent721 said:

It sounds to me that you're much "richer" than you believe! Some things are priceless. Cheers to you!

SuperMalleo

#32

SuperMalleo said:

Retro Studios needs to own the DKC IP's so that they can be re-released on the Virtual Console.

Spartacus3765

#33

Spartacus3765 said:

That was fantastic. It also bums me out that I had missed the opportunity way back when when Nintendo had released the DKC titles on VC only later on to pull them off. Now I can only try and find their physical carts and find an SNES (or I guess emulate them - meh).

I just ordered DKC Returns yesterday, though, so hopefully I'll have that same youthful feeling when I boot it up as well.

I have to say, Dave, your life sounds very familiar to my own. And I recently embraced the same values after "settling down" with my wife. I think there's a big difference between people thinking you have to "grow up" some day vs. keeping something close to your heart that doesn't just mean childhood, but as you had said, is something you are passionate about.

FritzFrapp

#34

FritzFrapp said:

The Donkey Kong Country series, to me, was the start of Rare's slow decline. I always hated the collectathon elements the series introduced, particularly in the third game, and reaching a nadir in the awful Donkey Kong 64. Though not necessarily bad games, they're the most overrated games in history, in my opinion.

unrandomsam

#35

unrandomsam said:

@Frapp I also really dislike collecting stuff. Nintendo started it with Mario 64 for a legitimate reason but they should have dropped it after that and went back to just having more harder levels.

@GunstarHero234 You are exactly the same as them then. The best games are the ones where it is awful until a certain amount of skill is developed. Only way to find out is to play it for a reasonable amount of time. (I know I despise The Last of Us and Rayman Origins because I did exactly that hoping it was suddenly going to become great like Nights into Dreams / Ikuraga / Sonic Generations did.) Ones that I like immediately I usually don't end liking as much overall.

khululy

#36

khululy said:

@GunstarHero234 I think i'm missing the mark making my point. What I am saying is that your comments come across as if DKC returns is a bad game because it couldn't appeal to you wich is no problem at all but that fact doesn't make the game bad in itself or as you paint it to be.
and I never stated you "are mad" just that you sound so disgruntled to me. Again a personal experience that does not always coincide with that of another yet still remains untouched but that.

GunstarHero234

#37

GunstarHero234 said:

@unrandomsam "The best games are the ones where it is awful until a certain amount of skill is developed. Only way to find out is to play it for a reasonable amount of time".

You hit right on the money and guess what I agree with you fully I have no problem with your opinions of what titles you like or despise just this community think that every title Nintendo pushes on us we as the consumer suppose to throw the red carpet down and bow to the master and throw them money not me sorry.

If a title I play isn't what my standing at least of a classic or just isn't my cup of tea i'm dropping it like a bad habit great game or not same with the other consoles as well. Regardless it's the experience like you said which I already had from the classics DKC which was far more challenging with the fun.

Nowadays Nintendo most of their titles are just too authentic and easy for a gamer like me sadly and I too hate collecting stuff but that's the authenticity I was talking about trying to hide the truth how easy the game really is by throwing collectibles in the games.

(I have a collection of Shrumps on DC and Ikuraga is one of my favorite titles after Under Defeat and Nights)

WiiLovePeace

#39

WiiLovePeace said:

I'm really glad to hear DKCR saved the author's life. Without DKCR I don't think he would be living, rather, he'd just be existing. Congratulations Retro Studios on a job well done! It really is an amazingly fun game :D

JaxonH

#40

JaxonH said:

Nice article!

I can't say I had THAT kind of experience, but Donkey Kong Country Returns did cement gaming as a permanent hobby for me as an adult. I grew up on Mega Man 3 and DKC trilogy, and eventually Mario Kart 64. After a few years of N64 gaming with my friends, I hit my later teenage years and forgot about gaming. It wasn't until 5 years later that I picked up a Metroid Prime Gamecube Bundle. I remember getting psyched for Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3 and the new Nintendo Wii, and those games were great! But I backed off gaming a couple years again, until of course, DKC released.

DKC Returns was so good- it was SO good. I remember playing through the entire game in one weekend. From dusk til dawn I played that game. That's when I realized Nintendo never actually STOPPED making great games. That's when I realized the games of the present were actually BETTER than the ones I grew up with. Been a hardcore Nintendo fan ever since. Tropical Freeze was like reliving that experience all over again. It was great.

CanisWolfred

#42

CanisWolfred said:

Funny that you guys do this whole month of Kong thing around the same time I get the urge to play Donkey Kong Country again and wind up buying the whole trilogy on GBA.

sleepinglion

#43

sleepinglion said:

Great article!
As a kid in the 80s the original 'Donkey Kong' was one of my earliest video game memories. Heck, on the NES I even broke down and purchased DK3. Why?! Why?!
I'm glad to see the DKR saga made such a positive impact on you. I'm loving the new title.

sleepinglion

#44

sleepinglion said:

PS I love that your website is making a bigger deal out of Donkey Kong this month than Nintnendo. This would have been a GREAT time for them to roll out some DKC VC titles.

CanisWolfred

#46

CanisWolfred said:

@GunstarHero234 Pro-Tip - There's a reason why it's called "blunt". You're pretty much asking for a heated argument when say things like that. If you honestly made those comments and expected not to ruffle some feathers, you might want to rethink how it is you say things.

cfgk24

#47

cfgk24 said:

Revisiting DKCR on my 3ds as I never completed it last summer. Loving every daily play!

JaxonH

#48

JaxonH said:

I don't see how people liking current Nintendo titles is a problem for certain members. Everyone here is free to like what they like, but to get upset because others like games that you don't, well, that doesn't seem right to me. If you don't like a game, fine, don't like it, but why take issue with other peoples' taste in gaming if they happen to disagree? If I like every single game on the Wii U Nintendo has released, who is anyone to say I'm wrong for that?

I love most everything Nintendo releases nowadays. Not because I think we're supposed to bow to everything Nintendo does, but because the games are actually just really good. I can't help the fact NSMBU was a really awesome, fun game to play. I can't help that Pikmin 3 was a fresh, amazing experience to me. I can't help that Zelda Windwaker HD is a classic I'd never played before. I can't help liking Super Mario 3D World as much as I do. And I certainly can't help that DKC Returns and Tropical Freeze are two of the best video games I've ever played in my entire life.

If a person disagrees with my opinions, and doesn't like those games, hey that's fine. Like what you like. I have no problem with anyone not liking those games. I might seriously question your judgement, but I have no beef with it. Likewise, if persons here DO like all those games, no one should take issue with that. Most people here who DO like those games, don't like them because they think everything Nintendo does is automatically golden, they like them because the games are actually just really fun games.

Pj1

#49

Pj1 said:

@Kawaii_Neko

Yes please, I hope they can make it happen!! the games were on VC but were taken off because Rare is owned by Microsoft. Ive read on this article that Donkey Kong country in November is celebrating it's 20th Birthday an NTSC 3 game version would be great with the soundtrack. If only Nintendo and Retro Studios could work out a deal with Rare, I know this sounds random but I still have the video tape that was released at the time. It's weird because the game was developed in the UK but NOA took a lot of the credit for it. I think they tested it (a lot) and gave it quality assurances. Also the game was destined to be a release for the N64 but that console was no where near being completed. It played well and looked stunning, it also gave the SNES a new leash of life. Not that the SNES needed it.

Nintendo please celebrate Donkey Kong Countries 20th Birthdat!!

WaveyChristmas

#50

WaveyChristmas said:

@Kirk
100% agree.
Strip away those unique flashy prerendered visuals and you're left with a mediocre watered down primitive bare bornes platformer that's more suitable or at least gels better with the 8-bit NES library. Side it with super mario world, and DKC falls incredibly flat. DKC feels a smidge mechanical and a bit lifeless imo and doesn't capture the magic, charm, technical brilliance and imagination of Super Mario World the dozen of other Nintendo SNES titles that hit the system throughout the years. The game play simply put feels a little cheap.

Miyamoto never liked the SNES DKC series either, most likely for the reasons you and i mentioned above. DKC means nothing to me. :P didn't spark one ounce of magic that super Mario world did I think it's safe to say that DKC is a fine example of visuals over gameplay.

Sure the visuals(at the time) and soundtrack were great, but core game design didn't match up and i realised this from the very beginning, Anyhoo, i'm about to give DKC Returns a go on the Wii in a few days here. I got it Christmas 2011, and haven't even touched it yet! there's something seriously wrong with me. :P

And how dare you Kirk, for not including the oh so great and most fabulous Super mario of all time(Cough, SMB2 USA) ;)
But back to DKC, i actually kind of liked DKCII: Diddy's Quest....Better than the first outing at least!

AugustusOxy

#54

AugustusOxy said:

Donkey Kong Country games for me always seemed horribly over-rated. They lacked the whimsy of super mario world, or other superior side scrollers. They just felt... too western for my tastes.

GC-161

#55

GC-161 said:

@GunstarHero234

"... just this community think that every title Nintendo pushes on us we as the consumer suppose to throw the red carpet down and bow to the master and throw them money not me sorry"

^^^^ What is this #@%?!

So according to you, every Nintendo fan out there just accepts whatever Nintendo throws at us? Gahahaahahahahaaa! Since when?

So that's why we ALL firmly believe that METROID: OTHER M was an instant classic that should be revered for years to come, amiright? And we all agree that Skyward Sword's motion controls are flawless and the constant handholding was absolutely phenomenal. And lets not forget how we're big fans of the region lock and games being tied to a console/handheld.

Sheeeesh! I sense some serious arrested development issues from this user.

Anyway, enough about giving attention to that guy.....

I loved this article and it brought back a ton of good memories from back in the days. Me and a school mate would play this series every summer. It was a tradition. Hopefully, new players will be able to enjoy the new DK games the same way.

Happy gaming days are here again!

cfgk24

#56

cfgk24 said:

Revisiting DKCR on my 3ds as I never completed it last summer. Loving every daily play!

cfgk24

#57

cfgk24 said:

Revisiting DKCR on my 3ds as I never completed it last summer. Loving every daily play!

atomicjuicer

#59

atomicjuicer said:

Great story and DKC: TF is phenomenal too. The music, the art style, the flawless gameplay.

It's a perfect continuation of a beautiful series!

ICHIkatakuri

#60

ICHIkatakuri said:

This made me smile to read, I have been.in the same situation here in the UK chasing the almighty money god. Given it up now and have gone back to uni to become a biologist rather than a Web designing accountant lol. Though I personally loved the first DKC it wasn't the best game to me or the one that got me through my childhood hardships. That crown goes to the Zelda series, always struck a chord with my imagination a bit more than any other franchise.

Kirk

#63

Kirk said:

@WaveBoy

I mean all the Donkey Kong Country games are still very solid platformers in their own right, not all platformers can achieve the truly stunning levels of greatness that the best Mario games have obviously, but I just never found that special "thing" in the Donkey Kong Country games in terms of gameplay or level design etc that resonated with me.

There's basically a lot of good platformers out there, of which the DKC games are some imo, but there's only a handful that are truly great, truly magical and truly timeless classics for all the ages and most of them star Mario imo.

King_Johobo

#64

King_Johobo said:

Awwwwwwww :) I really liked that article/story. Donkey Kong Country was a great part of my childhood too and I can see a lot of other people's too. I remember staying up late with my brother's trying to beat Diddy's Kong Quest. Always got stuck at that Toxic Tower level haha Good times :)

Action51

#65

Action51 said:

@GunstarHero234 I know how you feel about certain titles being over-rated and you like the originals compared to the newer versions of something...that's how I feel about the Castlevania: Lords of God of War series compared to classic Castlevania.

That being said: I think the Retro Donkey Kong games blow the Rare games developed for SNES away in every conceivable way. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the best Donkey Kong Country to date. Not only that, but the "Snomads" are Retro's own creation and they are so much more creative and interestingly designed then Rare's Kremlings.

Now I can get that you don't like the DKC: Returns and Tropical Freeze...we all have preferences. When you call the Metroid Prime series "mediocre shooters" I know you have either never played them or you are just trolling. Come on! Like them or not, the Prime series are unique and exceptional shooters. I have a hard time taking you seriously.

Action51

#66

Action51 said:

@JaxonH I have to agree.

While there are Nintendo series I just don't get into and probably never will, the ones I do like are all of consistently high quality. Even still, there are occasionally weak entries in a franchise, like Metroid Prime 2: Echoes being good, but feeling like a slog in many parts compared to Prime 1 and Prime 3. Metroid: Other M was a decent action game with lame cut scenes that didn't quite live up to the high standards of the series.

I get tired of hearing the usual malcontents whine about every blessed, tiny, little detail and then call us fanboys or butt-kissers if we dare to actually like games for the Nintendo systems we own...go figure!

Fact of the matter: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is an amazing game and a real winner...and that really irks the haters.

Dr_Corndog

#67

Dr_Corndog said:

Rare's three DKC titles are some of the best games ever made.

Retro's DKCR is even better.

MrHeli

#68

MrHeli said:

👌nice article brother. So many memories with my SNES. Secret of Mana was a special one for me, Castlevania & Zelda too..not to mention SM4, F-Zero, Pilotwings... Goeman, Super G&G. Special console, special time

SparkOfSpirit

#69

SparkOfSpirit said:

DKC2 is still one of the best games ever made and Tropical Freeze might be better.

Great article, shame about some of the comments but not much can be done about that.

sdelfin

#71

sdelfin said:

Mr. Dave Letcavage, thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it a lot and can relate to many aspects of it. I belong to the second category of people, who "struggle" to fit the mold. In reality, I'm not trying. I've been that way my whole life and I love it. I have more well-adjusted friends who wish they could be in my shoes. The real trick is to remain authentic while finding a way to make a reasonable living without literally surrendering your whole life for work. What good is money without any time? And it's hard to sell out my current happiness for the "promise" of greater things in the future which may not even materialize. I also left gaming behind a bit for a while, in a way. Part of that was slowly realizing that 3D is less fun for me and that games were getting too large and too open for my tastes. The GBA was my last link to gaming, and still one of my favorite systems ever. It eventually reeled me back in and I realized I belonged in the 16-bit era. I'm sure part of it is nostalgia, but it's also an appreciation for simpler, smart game design that is timeless. I prefer well-defined games to realistic, virtual adventures that resemble films. Since digging my Genesis and SNES out of storage recently and finding ways to hook them up to modern TVs without them looking horrible, I've been much happier and my quality of life has improved on several levels. DKC didn't have such an impact on me, but I have my own games that spoke to me. Gaming didn't quite have the same effect on my brother and me either. Rather, it was the opposite, but I'm quite fine with that. Congratulations on finding what is really important. A lot realize it too late, if they ever do.

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