Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Donkey Kong 3

Retro Game of the Day! Donkey Kong 3

Donkey Kong 3 by Nintendo, arcade release in 1983. Witness the sad, forgotten shame of Nintendo's timeline.

Alright, that would be somewhat of an overstatement - as well, that dubious honor belongs to either the "3-D" Virtual Boy, the snafu which led to the Sony PlayStation's creation (it was originally going to be joint effort between Nintendo and Sony, as an add-on CD-Rom for the SNES), perhaps the nearly-invisible GBA original screen. I guess by way of comparison, DK3 isn't all that terrible.

Still, this was quite a departure from what made the first two games in the series so wonderful, and as a result, it is quite forgettable. Ditching the idea of Mario altogether, you know control the moves of one Stanley the Bugman - protecting your greenhouse from the titular Ape who's invaded and is causing a ruckus. He is stirring up trouble in the form of insects who want to steal your flowers - to defend, you must blats bug spray at the rankled bugs, and also at DK's heine. Shoot him enough and you'll advance a round; protect your flowers from theft, and you'll rack up bonus points.

That is about it for Donkey Kong 3. Gone is the innovative platforming, instead we have some awkward shooting wrapped up in a very bizarre theme. I mean, who writes this stuff? I am often bewildered by some of the thought processes that must have gone into the creation of these older games, specifically the Japanese ones. The older American and European game developments were fairly well-documented (well, at least for my Western Eyes to read!) but we never really hear much of what went into the construction of these older Japanese titles. Once in awhile Shigeru Miyamoto would drop some kind of note "our games must be full of heart, be fun, and scare you like I was scared by caves and dogs as a child!" Great, what?

Anyway, it is difficult to be harsh on Nintendo for a game like DK3, they gave us so much other wonderful entertainment during the era that this is a forgivable side-step (and hey, it's not like this game is unplayably bad or anything). Who knows, if they insisted on sticking more closely to what was previously successful, perhaps we could never have got as wonderful a Super Mario Bros. as we did, and then the whole world would be different, and horrible! People would not be playing video games now - they'd be outside, enjoying the sunlight! Perhaps taking in the theater, or playing sports with their kids! Oh, wait...

1 comment:

  1. I disagree. DK3 is an original take on a beaten down theme. How many Galaga/Galaxian clones were there out there? This is basically the same kind of game but with a unique backdrop, music, and play mechanics. It's a joy to watch (and play) this than the usual star field with a boring ship. This game has depth.