Another week, another video… specifically, another video about Donkey Kong.
Might as well get used to it. Good Nintentions is about to hit a thick patch of Nintendo arcade classics, including two more Donkey Kong games, Mario’s first solo outing (which is, of course, a Donkey Kong spinoff), and Popeye, which is what Shigeru Miyamoto originally wanted Donkey Kong to be. That big ape cast a big shadow over Nintendo’s early console days.
I appreciate the fact that this video has sparked comment debate over which home version of Donkey Kong was best — Nintendo’s NES game looked most faithful, but plenty of people will vouch for other platforms where the game included all levels, animations, and music. Of course, Nintendo could easily put this debate to rest by releasing an official version of the arcade game that isn’t locked inside a grindingly tedious 3D platformer, or by making Donkey Kong Original Edition widely available. Wouldn’t that be swell?
The ongoing absence of a proper release of such a pivotal title remains pretty baffling. Knowing Nintendo, they’re going to make Original Edition one of their “free” sample titles for the Switch’s subscriber service, which ceases to be freely playable after one month, but not actually offer the game for sale. That would be awful, but somehow perfectly in keeping with the way things have been going for the archival travails of Donkey Kong.
In the course of my chronological console library video projects, there are certain Big Ones: Games that carry considerable weight, whether that’s historic or merely psychological. This week’s Good Nintentions tackles a game that possesses both kinds of weight: The original Donkey Kong.
This video is ostensibly about the NES version of the game, but in practice I barely even touch on that adaptation. There’s a great deal to be said about Donkey Kong, and I tried to say as much as I could here. The NES version analysis will have to wait until next week’s episode, I’m afraid.
I’ve written quite a lot about Donkey Kong over the years, and I’m perfectly happy to make this video retrospective a sort of final statement on the subject. It probably won’t be, but it could be, is what I’m saying. Anyway, please enjoy.
Update: The stream has ended and you can watch the archived version below! Thanks to all who joined in.
Last week’s Gintendo trial stream seems to have gone over quite well, so I’m going to try another test flight this evening. Several people didn’t like the fact that I had my streaming software set to mute the game audio whenever I spoke, so this time around I’ll see how it goes when I adjust the broadcast to keep the game action audible beneath my mutterings.
The game featured this time around will fall into my Game Boy specialty wheel house: Nothing less than Donkey Kong ’94. I’ve been capturing footage for the Donkey Kong NES retrospective episode of Good Nintentions, and this process has reminded me how danged great the Game Boy remake/sequel/reinvention was. Seriously, it’s exceptional. So! I’ll spend an hour farting around with it tonight, maybe make some progress, who knows.
The stream will go live at 5:30 p.m. ET (that’s 2:30 p.m. PT and Super Gol-danged Late GMT) on my YouTube channel. Or, you know, you could just watch it here.
This is, of course, a Gintendo stream. Tonight’s drink will be a gin and tonic made with Cardinal American Dry gin, which is distilled here in North Carolina — like the saying goes, “Think globally, drink locally.” Or something like that. And if you enjoy this follow-up test stream and would like to help make it a regular, weekly affair, it’s the next funding goal for the Retronauts Video Chronicles campaign. (There’s less than $200 to go before I commit myself to streaming once or twice a week.)
Filed under Gintendo, Video
For this week’s Retronauts Micro episode, I’ve formally visited a topic that’s popped up on the show from time to time, but which we’ve never discussed in any real depth. It’s been pretty well documented over the past decade that Donkey Kong — the arcade version, that is — was co-created by a third party, and this knowledge has led to speculation that the original coin-op game never shows up as an archived release due to this legal dispute.
While no new information has actually emerged since the Game Developers Research Institute posted its write-up of the situation about five or six years ago, with this episode I’ve attempted to put together a “what we know” synopsis that contextualizes the few hard facts that have emerged with some valuable context… including Nintendo’s reliance on outside contractors in its early video game days, and the uncertainty of copyright law as concerned game code back at the time of Donkey Kong‘s debut. Hopefully you’ll find it enlightening — and if not, well, you can look forward to next week’s episode, wherein we have an actually listenable conversation about Sonic the Hedgehog. For once.
Episode description: Enjoy this delightful yarn about the legal wrangling over the matter of Donkey Kong’s true parents. Is Shigeru Miyamoto really his dad? And who has custody over this simian tyke, anyway?
Libsyn (14:42 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)
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