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The '00s Decade in Review/'10s Decade in Preview
An article by Jomingo
3 January '10
Yeah, I went there. In the spirit of my last article (posted several minutes ago), in which I wrapped up the past year and looked toward the next, I will now be doing the same but of course I am now wrapping up a decade. The past 10 years have seen great change for the series, nay the world. We now live in "a post 9/11 world" with more problems than a math book. We ended the '90s with a booming economy, and are now left in the worst economic turmoil since the Great Depression. This situation can also be used as an analogy for the DK series; we ended the '90s with DK64, a huge hit, and were looking forward to other Rare games like Banjo-Tooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day, and of course we were optimistic about what future games to expect. And then "9/11" happened, or in our case Microsoft bought Rare, thus splitting the fandom and sending the DK series into chaos. So let me break it down one step at a time for you:
. . .
The decade started off quiet for DK. We went a year without anything while Rare finished off other N64 titles. In the mean time we had some cameo appearances in the form of Mario Tennis and Mario Party 2. Then in 2001 we learned of three DK games on the horizon; Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers, Diddy Kong Pilot, and Donkey Kong Racing. Throughout the year we also saw the release of Mario Party 3 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. But most importantly it brought the release of the Nintendo Gamecube (yes, that Dolphin we were all excited about), bringing with it Super Smash Bros. Melee. Sure, we didn't see Diddy Kong or Banjo Kazooie in this one, but surely they would put them in the sequel that was just a few years away, right? Little did we know it would take 7 years for a sequel to be made.
2002 saw a huge change for the series. The Stamper Bros. sold their 51% percent stake in Rare to Microsoft, and Nintendo was forced to give up the rest for a whopping total of 375 million dollars, a record at the time. Rare was no longer permitted to make DK games when they jumped over to the Xbox, and they took DK's friends B-K and Conker with them. Of the three DK games in development at the time two were retooled with different characters and the best one of all, Donkey Kong Racing, was cancelled. Later that year Mario Party 4 came out and we were no longer amused by these party games. This had been the fourth one in four years, and DK didn't deserve to be relegated to silly cameo titles for eternity.
Of course, Nintendo thought otherwise, and in 2003 we saw all of the N64 sport titles being brought to the Gamecube starting with Mario Golf (and Mario Tennis later in 2004) and Mario Kart, the latter being the first to feature Diddy Kong. We also got (shocker) another Mario Party that year.
2004 saw for the first time this decade DK in a semi-starring role: Mario Vs. Donkey Kong. This title showed that since Rare was gone Nintendo was going to try to revert DK to his mindless villain role he played in the arcades. It also saw the release of Donkey Konga, a rhythm game developed by Namco. It created a special Bongo shaped controller that we would soon realize was a curse more than a blessing. Oh, and did I mention Mario Party 6?
In 2005 we got Mario Superstar Baseball, which was notably the first Mario game to feature Dixie Kong. There was also Donkey Konga 2, which also brought back Dixie Kong. Not to mention the Japanese only release of Donkey Konga 3. Lastly, there was Super Mario Strikers, and (you guessed it) Mario Party 7. But most importantly this year saw two major DK titles that couldn't be any more different: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and DK: King of Swing. The former was a sidescrolling platformer that had little to nothing to do with the DKC series as a whole, while the latter was a unique swinging game developed by a company called Paon that featured the entire DK cast.
In the next couple years we would see several other titles, such as Mario Hoops, Mario Vs Donkey Kong 2, and Yoshi's Island DS. By the end of 2006 we would see the release of Nintendo's Wii, and with it would be several 2007 titles, including Mario Party 8, Mario Party DS (the first to feature Diddy), and Mario Strikers Charged. Most importantly it gave us two more Paon games, both with as much fanfare as the first. Donkey Kong Jungle Climber was like a hybrid of King of Swing with the original DKC, and what we got was awesome. Donkey Kong Barrel Blast was a racing game on the Wii. It couldn't fill the gap left by Donkey Kong Racing, but it did feature the return of several great characters. There was also Diddy Kong Racing DS.
And then came 2008. For a full year at least leading up to 2008, we could talk about nothing but the impending release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This one finally had Diddy Kong, with a very respectable moveset no less. This could very well be considered the best game to feature DK of the decade. Later we got Mario Kart Wii, and complaints aside it did have the milestone of featuring Funky Kong for the first time in a Mario game, though seemed much less impressive when Mario Super Sluggers came out. Super Sluggers, the sequel to Superstar Baseball, featured not only DK, Diddy, and Dixie, but also Tiny, Funky, 4 different Kritters, and King K. Rool, the last of which having a new costumer change for the first time since 1999.
2009 started off with a couple of Gamecube remakes in the form of New Play Control! Titles, including Mario Power Tennis and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. The latter added many gameplay elements from DKC to redeem it's lack of any the first time around. Later that year we would see DK pop his head up in Punch Out and Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games, and make his DSiWare debut in Mario Vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again.
So there you have it, ten years of uncertainty. When DK wasn't cameoing in places he didn't belong, he was being tossed from developer to developer going through a very long experimental phase that perhaps is finally coming to an end. We started the decade optimistic, and then uncertain, and at one point suicidal. But finally we've reached a point in which almost every major character from the series has returned in one way or another, and they are unlikely to go away at least for quite a while.
. . .
Now for the second half of the feature, the preview of the next 10 years. Well, lucky for you, I'm psychic. So I'll just tell you all what's going to happen, ok?
First of all, we will see the release of a new Donkey Kong Country that has returned to it's roots after all these years. It will also sell trillions, yes trillions. Nintendo will be forced to put Paon on permanently to keep making DK games to keep up with the demand. By 2011 Nintendo will release their next console, the Virtual Wii, which is a pair of small red goggles that you put on your head to be put in the game world. 2012 will see Nintendo repurchasing Rare back with all that money they made on NDKC. There reunion will be so touching that God won't destroy the world. Rare will absorb Paon, and together they will make Donkey Kong Island, the most successful game of all time. In 2015 we will see the release of Super Smash Bros. Tussle, which will have the inclusion of not only King K. Rool, and Dixie Kong, but Banjo-Kazooie too, that is, after his big comeback in '14. Throughout the rest of the decade the world will be at peace, and enjoy all the great games Rare makes after they takeover Nintendo and they themselves start running the show. Most of the original Nintendo staff has already committed suicide by now, so it wasn't too hard. And then we all live happily ever after...
OK, just kidding. Do you want me to be honest about what the decade holds? Ok, here it is:
So that's it for my big decade feature. In a nutshell, this decade sucked. Maybe the next one will be better, maybe not. The good news is, we've got so much great content on DKC Atlas, you never have to worry about leaving your computer again. Just keep reading. I mean, this is my third feature today. Plus there's tons of other stuff in the works. The thing you don't know is that I've cleverly hidden subliminal messages throughout this feature, so I already know that you can't stop reading. We've got you in our iron fist, and there's nothing you can do about it.
A Jomingo Feature..
- 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.