“What happened to Donkey Kong?”
That was our lament since 2000– through the entire GameCube cycle and the first three years of Wii’s. After Rare’s love-it-or-hate-it Donkey Kong 64, the great ape became a bit of an experimental sideshow for Nintendo: he popped up in puzzle games, rhythm games, random what-were-they-thinking games (Barrel Blast and King of Swing— never asked for and may we never hear of them again). Donkey Kong seemed to no longer be relevant for Nintendo, except for random spin-offs and being a selectable character in all the Mario sports games and Smash Bros. titles.
So we’re a little surprised to finally anticipate a return to the series that cemented him as a favorite: when his villainy was put aside in favor of heroics in Rare’s visually stunning Donkey Kong Country platforming games. And yet with Rare’s departure to Microsoft, the British developer isn’t behind Donkey Kong Country Returns: instead, Metroid Prime creator and developer Retro Studios is. So I guess we’re still not completely out of the Donkey Kong Twilight Zone, but at least next week’s game is one that people have actually hungered for, and the developer’s resume is solid.
Will a first-person adventure/shooter developer make something magical in a Donkey Kong Country revival? Based on our runs through the E3 demo we think so. The game’s lovely to look at, occasionally very difficult and follows the expected DKC formula to a tee. Whether or not Retro stretches the template’s boundaries to deliver additional special moments remains to be seen and will likely determine how high of a conglomerate rating the game gets. Nostalgia will take this project pretty far, but it can’t do everything. Fortunately, Retro’s proven it’s more than qualified to reimagine a classic series, so we can’t wait to see how they restore Donkey Kong’s reputation and pride.
In the meantime, we’ll spend this week getting further psyched up for the impending release, with a set of amusing stories related to the Kong family, as well as one or two serious looks at the series.
Issue 24: Rumble in the Jungle
Making It to the Top by Aaron D. “The Machine” Roberts
A look back at DK’s first game.
A Few Good Apes by Andrew Hsieh
The Kongs are a notoriously quiet family, but Nintendojo’s finally managed to score some exclusive interviews with the most important of the Krew. Cranky tells all.
The Search for Donkey Kong by Kevin Knezevic
Where did Donkey Kong go after Donkey Kong 64? An investigative report on his mysterious disappearance from the Kongo Jungle.
Nester64x: Nester in the Mist by Andy Hoover
Nester’s excitement for DK inspires him to find his inner Jane Goodall.
Hot Air: Konged by Aaron Roberts
Donkey Kong does more than just collect bananas — he was a constant threat to the N team back in the day.
Cinemadojo: The King of Kong: a Fist Full of Quarters by Matthew Tidman
The movie about classic gaming features one of Nintendo’s best-known classic games.
Jungle Tech by Adam Sorice
How does he make everything out of barrels?
Additional features in this issue…
- Nightly News Roundup by James Labalokie
- Dojo-Show-Go! Episode 117 by M. Noah Ward
- Nightly News Roundup by Matthew Tidman
- Nightly News Roundup by James Stank
- Nightly News Roundup by M. Noah Ward
Coming Up Next Week…
Issue 25: Tales of Gaming Past
And on this week, we give thanks and get nostalgic about favorite gaming moments with our families and friends.