DK Vine: What is the Donkey Kong Universe?


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While ROOL #1 establishes the core of the DKU, ROOL #2 is just as important because it sets up the spin-off component, which is fundamental to the concept of the DKU. See, cus we're all pretty big Donkey Kong fans, but Donkey Kong games just aren't enough anymore man. I need something a little stronger to get my fix. In comes Diddy Kong Racing, and I ejaculate immediately.



Diddy Kong Racing is more influential to the concept of the DKU than even Donkey Kong Country is. See, Diddy Kong Racing stars DK's pal Diddy, who journeys off to another island to help some other animal friends. While there, we discover a couple of these friends to be Banjo Bear and Conker The Squirrel, who would both later spinoff into their own games. This is where the DKU idea comes from; both Banjo-Kazooie and Conker's Pocket Tales clearly take place in Donkey Kong's world, and having been made by Rare they share some similar qualities spiritually. And so, these rules were derived in order to quantify the connection between Donkey Kong and these games.

If you extrapolate that connection out further, we can rope in even more games. Banjo and Conker's games are all DKU because of their appearance in Diddy Kong Racing, but in other cases we tend to run into some controversy.

First, there's Grabbed by the Ghoulies. This game was made by the Banjo team at Rare, and features heavy references to the Isle O' Hags. The minor appearance of Banjo's pet goldfish, Roysten, is what makes this one DKU. That makes GbtG a spin-off of a spin-off, and the first of its kind.

That one was pretty straightforward though, not a lot of debate there. But then we've got It's Mr Pants, a little-known gem on Gameboy Advance. This game doesn't have the benefit of featuring Banjo references out the wazoo (or any orifice for that matter), but it still made its way into the DKU. Here's how (THANKS FOR ASKING): WE SAY the character of Mr. Pants makes his debut pysical appearence in the game Banjo-Tooie. There's controversy about this, however, since Mr. Pants' actual manifestation in-game is in the form of the Mr. Pants' HIT TV SHOW, as watched by obscure Banjo character Boggy Bear. A live TV broadcast? WE THINK SO! And live TV broadcasts count as "physical appearences" now? We SAY SO!

Plus, the game's credits list all of the staff alongside a picture of a character from within the game; every single one of them is clearly a "physical" character except for... Leigh Loveday's character, Mr. Pants. So we just went ahead and made the logical connection that (1) Mr. Pants is a REAL GUY and (2) he appeared in a very REAL WAY in Banjo-Tooie.

Another thing to consider is that It's Mr. Pants originally started off as the INCREDIBLE Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers, so I guess we just REALLY WANTED to cover the thing.

Seem asinine enough for you? Well IT IS, but that's what we say is happening, and we run a website so we're obviously right.


Lick my "toads", Langston.

Another example of a spin-off of a spin-off is Viva Piñata. This game drudged up a lot of controversy following its release because at the time, we couldn't pinpoint it as DKU. See, the game features artifacts and references to the Isle O' Hags splattered all over the place like a violent wank stain. But references don't count, even though it was clear this world existed within Banjo's (and therefore DK's); we needed an actual, physical appearance of a character (see Let's Get Physical for more on this particular nit-pick). There were some glimpses of hope with a Mr. Ribs statue and possibly a living Jiggy, but alas, both of these evidence trails were discounted and the game remained non-DKU. Only until we got official word from Rare's Scribes column—that the novelty goldfish bowl hat worn by one of the characters was (OF COURSE!) inhabited by Roysten the goldfish! Of Banjo and Ghoulies fame!—did the game make its way into the DKU where it belonged.

This sort of wankery doesn't always work in our favour. Some great Rare games that would fit right at home in this fake universe of ours don't make the cut because we couldn't wank it hard enough. Jet Force Gemini and Kameo: Elements of Power were two games that the Rare fans in us dearly wanted to cover, but... well, they don't have any DKU characters in them and no amount of bitchery can make that so.

Let me sum the whole thing up for you with an analogous analogy: you can think of the spin-off rule like a sitcom universe. The core franchise would be Perfect Strangers for instance (in our case, it's Donkey Kong). Sometimes a character from that core franchise is spun-off into their own, like when Harriet then went on to have her own show in Family Matters. Going from that, a character in a spin-off can be spun off into another franchise. This would have happened if "The Darnells" from Carl's 20 year class reunion would have gotten a program called Dead as a Darnell (naturally about the trio dying of heart disease, and all the wacky afterlife hijinks that they'd have). Its parent would be the show Family Matters, making Perfect Strangers its grandparent. For us, an example would be Roysten the fish from the Banjo games spinning off into Grabbed by the Ghoulies. These ridiculous spin-offs with extremely tenuous connections to Donkey Kong Country are what we thrive on, and are the very essence of the DKU concept. And if you don't like it, well, you don't have a website, now do you?

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