Donkey Kong is Nintendo's first major star, having made his début in the arcade game that effectively turned the company into the global monster it is today. However, when Mario decided to become Super on the NES and take his place as Nintendo's number one mascot, DK was bumped down the pecking order and relegated to a secondary role — until 1994, that is.
UK studio Rare — now part of the Microsoft family but back in the '90s a key Nintendo ally — took the popular primate and gave him his own platforming adventure on the SNES. Donkey Kong Country was remarkable not only for the fact that it played brilliantly, but also because it used ground-breaking CGI visuals which looked leagues ahead of other 2D games on 16-bit consoles.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the game's North American launch (it arrived in Europe on November 24th and Japan on the 26th), and if you're keen to celebrate this moment in style then you can download the game on the Wii U Virtual Console (provided you're in Europe). Also, don't forget to check out our exclusive "making of" feature from earlier this year.
It's not often you see a western studio bring so much identity to a Nintendo franchise. I'd say it's quite... Rare.
(C'mon, someone had to do it!)
Are those Runts and Kit Kats? Whoever baked that cake, I will pay them 100$ just to make me a metroid themed cake.
Actually Nintendo's Game Boy game came a few months before this title
Happy birthday to Donkey Kong Country! Easily one of my favorite game series of all time, even though I wasn't alive for it's release and originally played the GBA ports. Every game in the series is a masterpiece, both Rare's and Retro's, and the original who has it's birthday will always live on in my heart
Now, if only I could actually play the trilogy on VC instead of Jungle Climber, to celebrate it's 20th anniversary.... (coughs at Nintendo of America)
@TheAceofMystery I believe the baker is Rosanna Pansino. Search her name on YouTube, she makes loads of video game-related cakes.
Back in the day RARE was one of my favorite developers and a large part of that was due to these games. The DKC games hold up marvelously today mostly thanks to the classic soundtrack and fun gameplay, that coupled with quirky characters makes those games one of the best examples of platforming done well, so thanks RARE!
Oh it's DKC´s 20th birthday already! Maybe I should play DKC2 to celebrate that.
Happy Birthday Donkey Kong Country! 20 years since the beginning of the beautiful partnership between Nintendo and Rare! What a golden era that was, I'll never stop hoping that Rare along with all the old teams come back one day.
The Donkey Kong series was pretty much dead at the time. Nintendo didn't trust Rare to touch Mario or other big name star back then. So they gave Rare a character that if they screwed up wouldn't hurt Nintendo's main series.
Bring the DKC trilogy to North America
@komodo182 I second this! I only downloaded the first one on the Wii's VC because I still have a working SNES with DKC 2 and 3.
And to celebrate, Nintendo plans on releasing all three DKC games from the SNES on eShop today!!! Right.....?
Donkey Kong Country is my favorite franchise! Everything from the beautiful graphics to the music to the gameplay is all just so good! So happy 20th Birthday Donkey Kong Country! I hope we get to see many more installments in the future!
Okay, I need that cake in my life.
Ahem, either way, Donkey Kong Country is, tied with Zelda and Mother/Earthbound, my favorite Nintendo series. I got a chance to first experience the original in December, 1994, and it changed the way I looked at games forever.
Long live this awesome franchise. May Nintendo of America give us Virtual Console entries in the near future, and may Retro include animal buddies in the next title of the series.
YAY! now if only there was something special planned.... for NoA, I'll even take them releasing the other 3 today regardless of what other regions do but I doubt they'll do anything anywhere
Happy Birthday resurrected Donkey Kong
Happy birthday to one of my favorite games/series! Now let's get 'em on the VC in the US!
@WaLzgi Are you trying to say that Donkey Kong '94 was responsible for the rebirth of the brand, and not DKC?
ohh rareee what happened to you , either way, REtro studios had done an amazing job with the new donkey kong games, do i dare to say even better then rare? hmm i think so.
Talk about pushing a console beyond expectations! This game was a breakthrough in graphics and sound, surpassing systems that were supposedly more powerful like the 3DO and Atari Jaguar. The soundtrack is still beautiful - I love the underwater theme in particular.
I used to have nightmares about the mine cart level.
20 years already? Wow! You haven't aged a bit, DKC!!
... "a bit"... ha!
Eagerly awaiting the trilogy to show up here in the US...
cheers to the mascot that made Nintendo what it is today!
IT'S NOT ON CD-ROM OR ANY 32X ADAPTERS!
I remember my local Blockbuster having what looked like 50 copies of the game and they were all rented!
RIP RARE ;-;
DK has the best platformers. It's a shame none of my friends seem to agree.
Put all 3 up on the VC in NA and I will buy all 3.
It'd be nice if NoA would let us celebrate the anniversary on the Wii U VC, but we probably won't get them until 2015 at the earliest.
@MasterWario No offense but your friends are idiots
@NintyMan I love those old commercials where Sega and Nintendo used to take jabs at each other. "Sega does what NintenDONT". LOL!! 😂
It is good that he was revived, but I miss the charm of the originals. However, what Rare did was worlds above what Nintendo eventually did (Mario vs Donkey Kong: Yet Another Puzzle Game).
Great memories of playing the donkey Kong country games and most other Rare games. I think Rare actually kept other developers on their toes with what they could do with there games.
Happy Birthday DKC!!! If I could marry a video game franchise it would be you!!
I drove 60 miles in a blizzard so my son would have a copy for his birthday. When he started it up, there was already a save file...I told him I had just wanted to make sure it was a good game.
Nice Kit Kat cake with bananas XD.
"Wuuhuu! Wuuhuu! Wuuhuu!"
Yea yea happy birthday DKC whatever just get em on the vc in the USA damn NOA!! U guys just Drag your asses with wii u virtual console man!! My lord!! Arghh!!!
Didn't it take some ridiculous amount of money in the USA in 1994? Seems mad that they're not on the American VC.
Good games though, I remember first reading about it in UK magazine Super Play who claimed that on its reveal at E3 everyone in the hall had thought it was an Ultra 64 game.
Never really thought of the modern updates as highly myself.
You could have typed a message expressing disagreement with MasterWario's friends in a nice way rather than a message that insults them.
did someone mention rare games?
I would have happily bought all three if Nintendo's VC prices weren't so offensive in my territory. Nevermind, i'll just keep them on my wishlist until they are either discounted or I give in
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