GSJ10: Peace for the holiday

America has shut down today so that we can all get fat(ter) in order to celebrate freedom, family, and the oppression of indigenous peoples, etc. It seems appropriate to post a piece today about game that reminds a lot of people of Thanksgiving: Donkey Kong Country, which 17 years ago (!) pioneered the grand Nintendo tradition of saving its few big games for the year until about a week before Thanksgiving so that children across America would grow up to associate their products with warm memories of food and togetherness. Also something something money.

I have developed something of a reputation for hating this game; in fact, I’ve even seen Internet conspiracy theorists posit the idea that I’m somehow responsible for all dislike of this game which is flattering but gives me entirely too much credit for influence. My Klout score is a measly 53, guys!! I don’t actually hate DKC; in fact, I rather have fond memories of it. I did admittedly find it too boring to ever finish, and I hate the idea that it’s a high-water mark for game design, but there is such a thing — as I mentioned a few days ago — as a moderate opinion. Shades of grey. Nuanced thought. Hopefully this article reflects that: It’s come neither to bury Caesar or praise him, as it were, but rather strike a middle ground. Because what is Thanksgiving if not a time to put aside differences and be at peace?

Also, if you haven’t been listening to the rebooted Games, Dammit! podcast, maybe you should be? I think it’s really quite good, though of course I’m hardly an objective perspective. Then again, I’m also the first to speak up when my work is crap, so the fact that I’m saying nice things about it should pique your curiosity. Are you not piqued!? This week’s episode is a spoiler-free discussion of Skyward Sword, mostly, but the discussion ranges further afield into bigger topics like the nature of criticism, the challenges Nintendo faces after five years of being untouchable, and the effect that a few years in the sanitarium had on Sonny the Cuckoo. We had fun recording it, and I think that sort of zeal is the essence of a good podcast. Well, that and intelligent discussion, but I’m fairly confident that we have that part in the bag.

13 thoughts on “GSJ10: Peace for the holiday

  1. You being responsible for internet criticism of DKC? LOL.

    I do feel that the chief reason many people are so venomous towards it has far more to do with Miyamoto’s infamous slight against them, saying that must not need good gameplay if the graphics are good. Remember that for many of the Nintendo mutants, something like that is as good as a commandment handed down by a deity (despite ‘Shiggy’ later apologizing for it; he was bitter over the effect it had on Yoshi’s development).

  2. The new GD podcast format is great! I can’t wait to listen to the newest episode.Why, I must have listened to the last two episodes…twice!

  3. Mind if I link out to you in an article? We have a policy to ask first (we know bandwidth costs money). If it’s cool, just reply here and I’ll check back when editing. Happy Thanksgiving, Brian Moylan (Editor at Gawker)

  4. Well, that was surprisingly even-handed. I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or just surprised. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the games. Mostly has to do with the ugly ‘plastic sheen’ (as you called it). And the collectable junk. Well, pretty much everything you mentioned, except I guess I just feel more strongly.

    Was never a big fan of the controls, either. Were they slippery? It’s been quite a while since I’ve played any of them. Seems like they were slippery.

    I’ve also never heard of the second game being superior – what’s the verdict on the third game?

  5. I liked DKC at the time, being a naive knave. The second was the best in my youthful eyes, but looking back I did still enjoy the third pretty thoroughly. Not sure if back then I had any concept of it affecting Yoshi’s Island, but I do know I rented Yoshi’s when I had chickenpox and was off school.. I finished it in the four days we had it rented, so it was never on my christmas whine list unfortunately. The DKCs were though, and they were enjoyed and played through to total completion multiple times.

    Very much liking the new Games, Dammit! format, though so far I’ve only listenend to the first one. I need to get a new umbrella so I can go walking in this rain we’ve been having.. I’m falling behind on podcasts.

  6. Mind if I link out to you in an article? We have a policy to ask first (we know bandwidth costs money). If it’s cool, just reply here and I’ll check back when editing. Happy Thanksgiving, Brian Moylan (Editor)

  7. In fact, I *have* been listening to the rebooted “Games, Dammit!” Very good. I had even unsubscribed, but finding the Skyrim episode as I was just getting excited to play it brought me back.

    Here’s hoping “I don’t know what we’re going to talk about next week” doesn’t mean “we’re going to default back to a meandering discussion.”

  8. I kinda feel the same way about DKC – I enjoyed it when it first came out, but couldn’t be bothered to finish it at that time. The only reason I eventually did was because I was, for a time, a poor university student, dating another poor university student, and rather than going out we’d stay in and play SNES games co-cooperatively.

    Which… now that I think about it, was pretty sweet.

    I have been digging the new Games, Damnit! People have good reason to be piqued.

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