I've long been a fan and perpetual booster of Nintendo's oft-overlooked Donkey Kong revival for the Game Boy released in 1994. Before Rare reinvented Nintendo's first real original video game character for the 16-bit era with Donkey Kong Country, Shigeru Miyamoto took one more opportunity to place his stamp on the big gorilla and his feud with everyone's favorite plumber. Over at USgamer, Jeremy Parish has looked back at Donkey Kong and marveled at why it endures as a true classic.
[T]he game itself initially appeared to be a decade out of date as well. By all appearances, it was nothing more than a greyscale rendition of the classic arcade game. Sure, it made up for its monochrome visuals by including the infamous cement factory (cut from the otherwise-faithful NES version due to storage limitations), but the idea that anyone was meant to care about that particular wrong being righted in the age of CD-ROMs and polygons seemed downright laughable.
This perception of Donkey Kong '94 lasted for the approximately 10 minutes it took for most players to complete the arcade game's four classic levels. But something strange happened once Mario plucked the final bolt from the 100m girders: Rather than plummeting to defeat and letting players start a new, harder loop of the game, Kong ran off. Mario followed... and suddenly a massive new map consisting of multiple new stages opened up before him. And once that map was completed, another appeared -- and then another, and another. All told, this version of Donkey Kong consisted not of four stages, but of more than 100.
I spent plenty of time playing Donkey Kong in the backseat of my parents' car on the way to temple each Friday night when I was thirteen years old and always made it a point to revisit it annually up until my Game Boy's screen succumbed to old age and heavy use. I gladly bought it (and finished it) again for the Nintendo 3DS when it hit the Virtual Console and then I happily tossed it into a used Super Game Boy I acquired not too long ago to finally see the game's colorized version. While the game did eventually see a sequel for the Game Boy Advance in the form of Mario vs Donkey Kong, the addition of the marching minis changed the formula for the worse, and then the series changed focus to fixate on the little toys as the stars of the game in a series of Lemmings-like puzzle challenges that, for all my attempts, I just cannot get behind. I miss the old Donkey Kong formula and would love to see another installment after all this time. It's long past time to reignite the DK/Mario rivalry beyond simple toys.
(Image via USgamer)