Donkey Kong Country's Godly Promotional Tape

A fine game indeed
Donkey Kong Country has become a whipping boy over the years with the fallout and hard feelings that arose from Nintendo and Rare's ugly break-up. What was graphically the most important game in the 16-bit era, with a nice solid mascot platformer stapled to it, has been taking a beating for its sometimes "grotesque" character designs, "average" gameplay and its "collectathon"  mentality. Did the game have the same sublime control and tightness as Super Mario World? Not so much, but it made up for that with competent controls combined with a greater variety in gameplay with mine cart levels and animal friend "vehicles" and such. Was it a "collectathon"? It was in some sense, but that sense was essentially the same as Mario or Sonic, i.e. collecting things gave you more lives and perhaps could unlock mini-games but wasn't something you had to do. That's a complaint that should be made about Donkey Kong 64 and other latter Rare Nintendo products. And the character art? Well.... I guess the haters got me there Candy Kong and other characters created by Rare for this game are the stuff that breeds nightmares and probably secretly causes schizophrenia. Donkey Kong and Diddy were designed decently enough, and thats what counts...I guess.
Dear God, NO! NO! NO! NO!

The reason why I've brought up the subject is that Donkey Kong Country is the game I was most excited about playing when I was a kid. Even in the hard days of the N64, when Zelda OoT was the only shining beacon that sustained me while my friends were playing Final Fantasy VII, that level of excitement could never match DKC. That was for one simple reason. I had the Rare behind the scenes promotional video. That video was perhaps the most brilliant piece of advertising I've ever come across in my life. Donkey Kong Country, at the time, was the game that graphically set the SNES apart from the genesis. While some valid complaints can be made about the Rare cartoony style of art, the game itself was so beautiful. The backgrounds were so lush and Donkey Kong and Diddy looked so good running through that first level in that old VHS tape. The game was the one game that really turned the heads of the average audience, I don't think that any console game had that impact again until Mario 64 and Tomb Raider.

These Characters were fine
The best thing about the tape was that the marketing people knew what the best level was, the first mine cart level. Seeing that a level like that could exist on my SNES made my little head explode, I wanted to play that level soooooo badly that I always rewind the tape to look at it 3-4 times before I could continue on to the other stuff. The tape also did a nice job of introducing all of the secrets and making me excited about exploring every part of every world to find cool items and mini-games. I don't think the game ever fully lived up to my sky high expectations, but it was pretty close. That mine cart level was just as good as advertised, though the later ones didn't quite have the same charm. Donkey Kong Country deserves to remembered as one of the great platformers of the 16-bit era. Though perhaps not as adept gameplay wise as some of the Sonic and Mario games of the time, it was a great deal better then the other fare we were getting with Mascot platformers like Aero the Acro-bat and Bubsy. Now if you excuse me I've got an old VHS tape I need to become reacquainted with.     
32 Comments
33 Comments
Edited by TGB
A fine game indeed
Donkey Kong Country has become a whipping boy over the years with the fallout and hard feelings that arose from Nintendo and Rare's ugly break-up. What was graphically the most important game in the 16-bit era, with a nice solid mascot platformer stapled to it, has been taking a beating for its sometimes "grotesque" character designs, "average" gameplay and its "collectathon"  mentality. Did the game have the same sublime control and tightness as Super Mario World? Not so much, but it made up for that with competent controls combined with a greater variety in gameplay with mine cart levels and animal friend "vehicles" and such. Was it a "collectathon"? It was in some sense, but that sense was essentially the same as Mario or Sonic, i.e. collecting things gave you more lives and perhaps could unlock mini-games but wasn't something you had to do. That's a complaint that should be made about Donkey Kong 64 and other latter Rare Nintendo products. And the character art? Well.... I guess the haters got me there Candy Kong and other characters created by Rare for this game are the stuff that breeds nightmares and probably secretly causes schizophrenia. Donkey Kong and Diddy were designed decently enough, and thats what counts...I guess.
Dear God, NO! NO! NO! NO!

The reason why I've brought up the subject is that Donkey Kong Country is the game I was most excited about playing when I was a kid. Even in the hard days of the N64, when Zelda OoT was the only shining beacon that sustained me while my friends were playing Final Fantasy VII, that level of excitement could never match DKC. That was for one simple reason. I had the Rare behind the scenes promotional video. That video was perhaps the most brilliant piece of advertising I've ever come across in my life. Donkey Kong Country, at the time, was the game that graphically set the SNES apart from the genesis. While some valid complaints can be made about the Rare cartoony style of art, the game itself was so beautiful. The backgrounds were so lush and Donkey Kong and Diddy looked so good running through that first level in that old VHS tape. The game was the one game that really turned the heads of the average audience, I don't think that any console game had that impact again until Mario 64 and Tomb Raider.

These Characters were fine
The best thing about the tape was that the marketing people knew what the best level was, the first mine cart level. Seeing that a level like that could exist on my SNES made my little head explode, I wanted to play that level soooooo badly that I always rewind the tape to look at it 3-4 times before I could continue on to the other stuff. The tape also did a nice job of introducing all of the secrets and making me excited about exploring every part of every world to find cool items and mini-games. I don't think the game ever fully lived up to my sky high expectations, but it was pretty close. That mine cart level was just as good as advertised, though the later ones didn't quite have the same charm. Donkey Kong Country deserves to remembered as one of the great platformers of the 16-bit era. Though perhaps not as adept gameplay wise as some of the Sonic and Mario games of the time, it was a great deal better then the other fare we were getting with Mascot platformers like Aero the Acro-bat and Bubsy. Now if you excuse me I've got an old VHS tape I need to become reacquainted with.     
Posted by Jeff

Pretty sure I have a sealed copy of this tape (or at least one that's never been played) out in my garage somewhere. I somehow ended up with two copies.

Staff
Posted by Geno

I think Donkey Kong is also one of the few video game franchises that has direct sequels and new characters that don't suck. Besides Super Mario RPG it was probably the best looking game on the SNES.

Edited by TGB
Jeff said:
"Pretty sure I have a sealed copy of this tape (or at least one that's never been played) out in my garage somewhere. I somehow ended up with two copies."
Sad epilogue to my blog, my copy was so old and I played it so often, the Mine cart part isn't even watchable anymore :(
Posted by SpaceInsomniac

Oh, you mean THIS!?

  

Posted by Geno

LOL

"Warning: The video you are about to see contains scenes of a graphic and animal nature. Anyone who may be offended by such material should leave the room now"

I'm not sure if they meant that as a joke or not XD

Posted by TGB
SpaceInsomniac said:
"Oh, you mean THIS!?

Bingo!
Posted by Geno

Seeing that video again reminds me how badass the 90's were. Check out all the backwards caps.

Posted by TGB

The sheer ratitude was a thing of beauty. 

Edited by Linkyshinks

Aww man I love the early DK games!, all of them....I've never seen that promo before.

I recently bought the undervalued gem that is DK: Junglebeat, and love it also. It's made by those that made Super Mario Galaxy (Tokyo EAD), and it clearly shows.


Posted by thatguy

I think calling the gameplay competent is a bit of an understatement.  For me, at least, Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2 are the only games that can rival Super Mario World as my favorite 2D platformers.  Excellent art design, varied and extremely fun gameplay, and a great sense of humor really made the Donkey Kong Country series stand out.

Posted by Superchris129

I've got a copy of this tape in my basement too. I've got NO idea where it came from though.

Posted by Dalai

I've still got it, but I'm not sure where it is at the moment.

Posted by Diamond

I at least had a copy, forget if I still have it, tape might have died a while ago.  I actually kept count how many times I watched it when I first got the tape, got up to about 23 views before the game came out and lost count.  Not the first game I ever got super hyped for though.

Edited by TripMasterMunky

Yes! I'm glad to know other people own this awesome tape like I do. Man I watched that tape so many times when I was a kid. It was so cool. And to this day, DKC is one of my favorite games ever, if not my most favorite. I personally think that the DKC series and Yoshi's Island has the best graphics on SNES. DKC is underrated nowadays. I'd play a DKC game over Mario any day. I just love the atmosphere in it, the soundtrack stood out so much compared to anything else at the time. So yeah, big ups to Rare, for more or less popularizing DK's makeover that Nintendo still uses today. I remember I always wanted to see a DKC4 so badly. I still kinda do. New DKC and Metroid 2.5D games I'd both like to have now. Alright, enough of me professing my love for the DKC series.  I never got into DK64 that much, but it was alright.

edit - yeah i forgot, super mario rpg blew my mind a bit when it came to graphics back in the day. I'd probably still give it to DKC or Yoshi's Island though.

Also, at the end of the tape, if you wait, they show a quick glimpse of Killer Instinct, and everyone in the room is like OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! and the camera shuts off lol.

Posted by Endogene

I'v always thought that Candy Kong was his cousin.... but apparently she is a love interest. Wait a sec.... Kong? So that means that she is a family of Donkey and since she is an love interest... incest?

Posted by Kou_Leifoh

I remember that video! Man, I was like five or six-years-old back then. The 90's were bad-ass, I assuming those people were editors from Nintendo Power.

I wish Nintendo would promote their games like that. Nowadays it's all about casuals and old people and serious shit. =(

Next time when Nintendo makes another Donkey Kong game, I want to see a promo video of a dude in a backwards cap with curly hair wanting to know some heavy shit about the game, and with bananas all over the place. And a guy dressed up like Donkey Kong.

Posted by TripMasterMunky

Pshh, Nintendo hasn't made a good DK game since the original arcade classic lol. DKC series were the last great DK games.

I remember now that I also had a promotional tape for DK64. It wasn't as good though, but still fun. It was another VHS that focused on both DK64 and Jet Force Jemini.

Posted by Endogene

The "not on Sega" part at the end was rather amusing. I'm happy though that they do no longer do it, back then everybody did it but now it just makes a company look childish.

Posted by Kou_Leifoh
@Endogene said:
" The "not on Sega" part at the end was rather amusing. I'm happy though that they do no longer do it, back then everybody did it but now it just makes a company look childish. "
Just like this old video.
  

Posted by T0mF5

I wish starfox64.com still worked.

Posted by joey
I used to have this one, it was amazing.   
I
Posted by ArbitraryWater

People don't like the DKC series? That's news to me. Those games are awesome and represent what I like about the SNES. It's a pity that they were the last decent Donkey Kong games (Looking back, DK64 is probably the worst of Rare's N64 platformers. It's just a little too big for its own good)

Posted by TheKidNixon

Watching stuff from the mid to late 90s fills me with a very strange mixture of terror and nostalgia.

Posted by TheKidNixon

More Nintendo promotional tape goodness:

  

  
Posted by Hailinel

I received a number of those tapes when I still had a subscription to Nintendo Power.  Though the most baffling tape I received was the Final Fantasy VII promo video Square sent me.  I guess I must have ended up on a mailing list somewhere along the line when I ordered the Secret of Mana soundtrack off of the catalog information that came with Final Fantasy VI back in the day.  I've actually still got that tape on a shelf, but I don't have a working VCR to play it.

Posted by The_A_Drain

I had a music CD that was something to do with DK Country, no idea what happened to it though or where it is.

I love how the box proclaims it's a '3d Adventure' when theres nothing remotely 3 dimensional about it :P The graphics are all just image renders of a 3d animation, that's so close to being a lie i'm surprised noone sued.

Posted by Bob_Toeback
@SpaceInsomniac said:
"Oh, you mean THIS!?   "

Thats fantastic! I love donkey kong country. Is there really that blue baloon on the snow level? it seems as tho they cut it out, maybe not?
Edited by TGB
@Kou_Leifoh said:
" @Endogene said:
" The "not on Sega" part at the end was rather amusing. I'm happy though that they do no longer do it, back then everybody did it but now it just makes a company look childish. "
Just like this old video.
  
"
I enjoy the fact that they don't force us to listen to Slippy's confusingly androgynous voice.
Posted by Kou_Leifoh

You know, that Punch Out!! promo for the Wii was defiantly reminiscent of the old Nintendo promos.

Posted by Meowayne
@TripMasterMunky said:
" Pshh, Nintendo hasn't made a good DK game since the original arcade classic lol. DKC series were the last great DK games.
Donkey Kong's Jungle Beat owns you.
Posted by Marzy

I've still got my copy of that tape, it very enjoyable to watch. I love the Gameboy brain adverts at the end of it.

One of my favourite game series of all-time. No Donkey Kong game has come close to matching them, in my opinion. I didn't really like Jungle Beat, as it hurt my hands and playing with the Gamecube controller, I found was to hard.

Posted by Meowayne

You could try the NewPlayControl-version.