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Donkey Kong Country Jump to DKC2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Jump to DKC3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble
Shine a little light on me now... Donkey Kong Country was the beginning of a new era for Rare, and the game which was to haul the company back into the limelight after years of quiet work on less conspicuous titles. It was the product of many arrangements and discoveries coming together: Nintendo's agreements with Silicon Graphics (creators of the machines that generated effects for films such as T2, Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump) and Alias Research (publishers of some of the most powerful rendering software in the world) paved the way for a new standard of graphic excellence, a potential which could be fully exploited amidst the proprietary development systems of Rare itself.

The result was ACM, Advanced Computer Modelling, a method of creating and animating every pixel of every graphic in a total computer environment, incorporating any stages previously performed outside the immediate hardware. It was a revelation for the games industry, the next step on from digitisation, combining new levels of photo-realistic detail and light sourcing with state-of-the-art motion capture techniques for some stunning results. And once the main problem of compressing these visuals into 16-bit had been tackled, DKC emerged as the product that pushed the humble SNES further than anyone had thought possible.

'Come oooon... I'll 'ave yez all!' The reinvention of DK, one of the characters that helped create and enforce Nintendo's reputation through the arcade games of the early 80s, was a joint effort between Nintendo and Rare with certain key pieces of input from DK's original creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. With the essential foundations already laid, the Rare team were able to create an exotic and involving new world for DK to inhabit, complete with a previously-unseen host of family members, friends and ruthless Kremling enemies. The ape's first outing on the SNES - ultimately featuring over 100 levels, various one or two player game modes and plenty of interaction with the new characters - was Nintendo's flagship product for 1994, and became famous in another way for boasting the most man hours ever invested in a single video game (a total of 22 years shared out across the development team). As a result of all this hard work the game's release date was able to be pulled forward two weeks to November 18th, well in time for the Christmas rush, and the media's surprise was further compounded when DKC became the first ever Nintendo product to be launched in the UK ahead of all other countries. '*Hic* Yer me besht mate, aye.'

By 4pm of the following day it had brought in £1,000,000, outstripping all other titles. It topped the Christmas sales charts in America and Japan, and to date has sold over 8 million copies on the SNES alone. The successful conversion of ACM graphics to the Game Boy caused another great stir in the market, further disproving claims that 8 and 16-bit machines had reached the end of the line, and sequels on both Game Boy and SNES have helped prolong both formats' second wind right up to this day.


DK's Development
Donkey Kong's Development (44K)


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