SCP's GameHut

What Has Happened to Donkey Kong?

Why Has Nintendo let one of their oldest and most venerable franchises turn into one of their weakest properties?

August 17 2008 -

Ever since Nintendo sold off their stake in Rare back in 2002 to Microsoft, Nintendo has all but ignored the Donkey Kong franchise, letting it fall into near-obscurity.

The only time we get to see Donkey Kong in a high-quality game these days is as a second-class playable character in Mario Kart Wii or Smash Bros. Brawl.

It's true, there was a growing setiment even before the Rare sell-off that Donkey Kong was losing steam, as early as fall 1999 when Donkey Kong 64 launched to unexpectedly-mixed reviews. Donkey Kong 64 sold well enough, but it's only referred to these days as a massive collect-a-thon bore. Regardless of the game's commercial success, DK64 was Rare's last foray into the franchise, as their next, and last project was the Star Fox-branded Adventures for the GameCube in August of 2002.

But why did Nintendo decide not to make a true sequel to Donkey Kong 64, after it was decided that Rare clearly lost rights to develop for the series after leaving Nintendo?

Since the release of DK 64, Nintendo has published four games with the Donkey Kong brand, and none of them managed find an audience, either on the GameCube or the Wii.

The reasons for the recent commercial failures of the Donkey Kong brand can be attributed to one simple fact: Nintendo has lost Donkey Kong's soul. There's the boring rhythym games Donkey Konga 1 & 2, the Bongo-controlled failure DK Jungle Beat, and who can easily forget the atrocious Donkey Kong Barrel Blast for Wii?

What happened to the classic adventures Donkey Kong used to have on Super Nintendo, and even in DK64? Without epic platform/adventures that the series used to be known and loved for, Donkey Kong not only has no soul, he also has no chance of selling well on Nintendo's consoles.

Why is it that Nintendo seems unable to develop a true Donkey Kong adventure game, when Nintendo themselves are still developing successful installments in their other popular franchises to rave reviews?

Currently, there are no Donkey Kong games scheduled for release on either the DS or Wii, and there also aren't even any rumblings that one may eventually be on the way. Although, judging by how Nintendo's treated it's oldest franchise recently, maybe it's best to give Donkey Kong a little more time.


Sales numbers don't lie, and they paint a pretty sad picture for one of gaming's most historic icons.

Donkey Kong Country (SNES, 1994)
9.30 million sold
Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES, 1995)
5.15 million sold
Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES, 1996)
3.51 million sold
Donkey Kong 64 (N64, 1999)
5.27 million sold
Donkey Konga (GCN. 2003)
1.07 million sold
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN, 2004)
810,000 sold
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (Wii, 2007)
450,000 sold

Copyright 2008 SCP Creations Corp.