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Reviews, reflections, rants and other such writings...

Donkey Kong Country Concerns

An article by Jomingo

26 July '10

As you all know, the Donkey Kong Country fandom is about to be greeted by a new installment. After many years of upheaval, I believed that the fans had finally reached a place of unified optimism and peace. I was wrong. In fact, I've seen a lot of things happening this past month, things that are beginning to concern me. I consider myself a very dedicated fan. I've at least tried to retain an air of optimism no matter how bleak our situation became. There are some out there who have done, and are doing, the opposite. The past month has brought great joy to many of those dedicated fans who have stood by through a very rough patch, and with that it has brought many dormant fans out of the woodwork. Fans that did not stick around when times were tough. There was an unknown legion of so called "fans" that stood by during the days of Jungle Beat and Donkey Konga and never said a word, and yet when we are finally being catered to by a very capable studio who's only intentions are to please us, they are outraged! Why is that? Well, one possibility is that this game has brought with it higher expectations than any game before it.

When I was enduring the Jungle Beats and Kongas of the world, these dormant fans were not. They played Donkey Kong Country, and they liked it, but when nothing else came out that was similar to the DKC's, they just went about their lives without having a second thought about Donkey Kong. Now, Nintendo is advertising this game as Donkey Kong Country. Those that haven't played a DK game in a decade came out calling themselves fans, and critiquing every nook and cranny of what little we've seen of the game. Donkey Kong Country Returns does not have Kremlings. This is a disappointment for many real fans, but a deal breaker to these "faux fans". Here we have a game that's entire purpose is to emulate the gameplay and aesthetic of Donkey Kong Country, that just happens to incorporate a new villain. Regardless of who the enemy is, this game is Donkey Kong Country. It's got the music, it's got all the major gameplay mechanics, it's got the natural and extremely detailed design, and it has DK and Diddy. What could possibly be wrong with that?

At first I believed that these faux fans had taken a legitimate complaint and overreacted. I completely empathize with the disappointment at the lack of Kremlings. It has not hindered my anticipation or excitement in the slightest, but I can see where the anger comes from. Then, it was revealed that the game would not feature any aquatic levels, and I realized that these fans are not justly upset over the missing antagonists, they are irrationally upset over anything that is absent from the game. The lack of water levels should not in anyway been seen as some important missing piece and that the game can't possibly be good without them. Sure, I loved Aquatic Ambience, but underwater levels have never been a defining feature of DKC gameplay in the vein of Minecarts or barrel cannons. They are just another archetype of Donkey Kong Country, and the notion that one can be reasonably upset over the absence of one archetype of DKC that's not even that popular or defining of the series is just ludicrous. Never mind the glaring hints that both Kong helpers and Animal Buddies will be present, these people are devastated at the loss of water levels, and that is something that I find hard to comprehend. Further thought has led me to believe that these so called fans are not really upset at the lack of water levels. No, they are just intent on hating this game.

I may not ever understand why they operate the way they do, but I've figured out how they operate. These people came out of nowhere calling themselves fans, only to completely dismiss and ostracize the greatest effort to please fans we'll ever get. I do not know why they came out of the woodwork for the soul purpose of illogically criticizing this game and those that defend it. I don't know why they call themselves fans. The only thing I do know is that this series is full of surprises, and it will never cease to amaze me the amount of drama and upheaval this fanbase is constantly in, no matter how promising the future looks.

- by Jomingo -

This article was written by a DKC Atlas Forum staff member. All opinions expressed within this article are those of the writer, and are not necessarily shared by DKC Atlas, or the DKC gaming community.
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