Reggie Fils-Aimé, former president of Nintendo America, has opened up about some aspects of his previous work. Without the ties of the position, the manager has not hesitated to admit that he did not like the idea of Donkey Konga one bit. The GameCube music game was released in 2004but it wouldn’t have if Nintendo Japan had listened to the complaints of its North American president.
“I have to say, as an executive I hated Donkey Konga,” he said in an interview with G4TV. “I stood up to our parent company because I thought it was going to hurt the Donkey Kong brand. Personally, I didn’t find much fun to play. I pushed hard.” In the end, the Japanese ignored it and the title was marketed on the Kyoto machine, which has just turned 20 in Europe. “You know something?” continues Fils-Aimé. “We released it and the first game sold reasonably well. But come on, I wasn’t a fan.”
What was Donkey Konga like?
The taiko drum It is one of the classic Japanese instruments, so it is closely linked to the celebration of traditions and omatsuri (festivals). In popular culture, and more specifically in the video game industry, taiko drums have been used in musical titles. In fact, taiko games have been one of the attractions of Japanese arcades.
Donkey Konga drinks from all that tradition. The game was developed by equipo de Bandai Namco encargado de la saga Taiko no Tatsujin, a series of games that has had versions on both home and arcade systems. The pack came with the game and a very special controller: the DK Bongos, two twin taiko drums made of plastic. They connect to the GameCube in the same way as any other control device, but are handled very differently. It is also possible to enjoy it with the GameCube controller, although it loses much of its original appeal.
The developers themed the scenarios with classic Donkey Kong elements, but the gameplay followed a similar path to other products of this style. the european version introduced 31 topics, many of them graduates. Others were extracted directly from sagas of Nintendo itself:
- Lady Marmalade – Labelle
- Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
- Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
- Alright – Supergrass
- The Locomotion – Atomic Kitten
- Dancing In The Street – The Mamas & the Papas
- For Los Rumberos – Carlos Santana
- Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing)
- You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
- All The Small Things – Blink-182
- Hey How’s It Going – Carlos Santana
- Louie Louie – The Kinks
- 99 Red Balloons – Nena
- The Impression That I Get – Mighty, Mighty Bosstones
- Busy Child – The Crystal Method
- Tubthumping – Tubthumping
- I Want You Back – Jackson 5
- Cosmic Girl – Jamiroquai
- Richard III – Supergrass
- Wild Thing – Bryan Adams
- September – Earth, Wind & Fire
- Back For Good – Take that
- Hungarian Dance #5 in G Minor – Johannes Brahms
- Turkish March – WA Mozart
- Super Mario Bros. Theme
- Donkey Kong Country Theme
- The Legend of Zelda Theme
- Rainbow Cruise (Super Mario 64)
- Super Smash Bros. Melee Opening
- Donkey Konga Theme
- DK Rap
The Japanese repertoire (32 songs) and the North American (37 songs) vary a lot with respect to the European one. In any case, the mechanics are the same: as the song progresses, the actions to perform appear on the screen. Right bongo, left bongo and clap. With those three basic movements we have the opportunity to progress. And what is the goal? Get the highest score.
Donkey Konga did not stay in a single installment. Namco developed a second video game, which also landed in Europe and the United States. Instead, Donkey Konga 3 did not leave the Japanese borders. DK Bongos were also used in Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, a platform game that accommodates these unique controls.
Reggie Fils-Aimé was also not very happy with the release of game boy micro. In MeriStation we published an opinion column in defense of the laptop.