For a while now I’ve contemplated writing an article about why certain game series have stuck with me over the years, and what they really mean to me. Then I got thinking about the list of games that are truly important that I would want to spotlight. There’s a lot of games on that list. So many, in fact, I have decided to change the format of this article. If I was to write the article as it originally came to me, it would be a short novel. So what I’ve decided to do, is write a series of articles. Over the next several weeks, I will post 2 games a week. One on Sundays, one on Thursdays. This will help you all get to know me on a more personal level, and maybe inspire you to look at your favorite games and analyze what they mean to you and why they appeal to you. I feel like the right place to start is with Donkey Kong.
Everyone that has ever listened to Infendo Radio knows that I am a huge fan, especially of the Country iterations of the franchise. I remember distinctly one year for Christmas, receiving a Super Nintendo Entertainment System that came bundled with Donkey Kong Country. This was really awesome for me. Previously I had only known about Donkey Kong from the Atari port of the Donkey Kong arcade game I had played at my grandparents house. But I had seen the commercials for this game. It was Donkey Kong, but he had a little friend with him. And they were running around and jumping and having a good time. And the graphics! They were 3D computer rendered models of what I had known before. Absolutely amazing to see. Cutting edge for it’s time.
So my Dad hooked it up for me. He was always the one that hooked up the TV stuff. And we sat down and started playing the game, as a family. Crowded around the TV together, looking for secrets that were hidden throughout the game. I don’t remember much else specifically from that day. But I do remember the coming weeks. My parents and I would take turns playing levels. Each of us searching for secrets. Each of us trying to outdo the other by finding something no one else had. It was awesome. We would even play the two player competitive mode some times. I remember them always getting mad at me because I would get farther and faster. My mom used to always say I cheated, and that’s why I was so good at the game. So I guess to summarize, when I think of Donkey Kong, I think of all the fun times I had over the years playing the game with my parents. They don’t play games like they used to anymore, but I’m sure if I took over a copy of Donkey Kong Country, I could have an awesome evening with them.
Another fun memory for this game was going to a close friend of mine’s house one night for a sleepover. His name was Christoper Robinette. He also had this game. But he had completed the game. That was something my parents and I had not accomplished yet. He showed me the final boss battle. Credits rolled, and all of a sudden K Rool was back on his feet and it kept going. But that wasn’t what impressed me. I fell in love with the song that played. I later learned from cheat codes I had found from a friend at school, the song was called Gangplank Galleon. MP3s were a new file format back then, and they could be downloaded from file sharing sites. My site of choice was Limewire. Track by track, I found the entire Donkey Kong Country soundtrack, and put it on my MP3 player. I had fallen in love with video game music. Even today, I probably have as much video game music on my iPhone as I do “real” music. I enjoy it more because of the emotions and memories tied to the experiences. Even to this day, I have a Donkey Kong playlist loaded onto my phone that I put on when I’m in a bad mood, stressed, or angry. I find it calming, and it always puts me in a better mood. It reminds me of my parents, and my wife, because I’ve had good memories with that trilogy of games with all of them.
As the years went on, I also came to love Donkey Kong Country 2, and even Donkey Kong Country 3 with all it’s faults. I had strategy guides for 2 and 3, but I was never able to beat Donkey Kong Country with 100% until the GBA version came out and I got that strategy guide and found the 3 missing secrets my parents and I never found. To date I have 100% completed 1-3 on Super Nintendo, 1-3 on Game Boy Advance, Donkey Kong 64 on Nintendo 64, Country Returns on Wii and 3DS (yes, both), and Tropical Freeze on Switch (indecently on classic mode, not Funky mode). I have also completed several spin off games, including DK ’94, King Of Swing, Barrel Blast, and Jungle Beat. I am working on Donkey Kong Land 1, 2, and 3 on 3DS Virtual Console, and look forward to playing Donkey Kong Adventure DLC in Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle on Switch.
Curious to know the story behind Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and why it took me so long to beat it? Click here and read that story in it’s entirety. It might have something to do with “The Switch Effect“. Or maybe I just “got gud”.