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.