Running The Five Day Gauntlet: Donkey Kong 64's Impending Arrival
As I sit here, typing this, I can't help but feel.....glad. Glad that something I've been waiting for is finally on it's way. Most of the slapnuts out there think this game has only been in production since late 1998 and was rushed together for the 1999 Holiday Season. If only you KNEW how much time and emotion has been put in this game. It's actual development time has been 2 and a half years, but it's been on the production boards ever since DKC came out. This will truely be the greatest game of all time. You may bash me and say that the greatest game of all time is The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, but why? TLOZOOT is a rich game full of wonder and adventure, and can provide countless hours of excitement. DK64 is all that and some more. Link as a young boy is "cuter" than Donkey, so don't bring that up either.
I was just thinking last night about the excitement running through my veins. A week ago that excitement was mixed with fear. You see, I have to beat every DKU game before the next one comes out. It's just a tradition I have that started with DKC. It's silly, but I wouldn't be able to enjoy DK64 as much without a game beaten. I had yet to beat Mario Golf (for the N64...remember, the GBC one isn't a DKU game until the Transfer Pak comes out). And I wasn't anywhere near beating it. And after a week of hard puttin' action, I have it nearly beat (90 Birdie Badges at the moment). So now, it's just pure excitement. Mixed in with some fear. I fear that the game won't arrive in stores until the 23rd. That may sound silly, but the 22nd is a special day for me. It's my birthday, and it just seems fitting that the game will be born on the same day as I. However, as much excitement and fear I produce, I also can't really believe any of it. It's just been so long. Let me take you back in "the day," shall I?
My obsession with Donkey Kong 64 began when I was trying to beat Donkey Kong Country in the early months of 1995. I heard somewhere they were already planning a "Nintendo Ultra 64" version of Donkey Kong Country as well as a Game Boy game (shortly thereafter, I found out about the SNES sequel). If DKC could beat the crap out of all the videogames on the market at the time, what would a DKC game on a far superior system do? I waited on my end for news to come in about "Donkey Kong World" (a name I still think they should have gone with). Hints started to drop by. Diddy was oddly on the cover of a special NU64 issue of Nintendo Power in January of 1996. However, they made no mention of Donkey Kong World in that issue. It was such a subtle hint, but it was all I had at the time. I wrote to Nintendo constantly asking them for news. I must have appeared to be a fool to them, but I didn't care. I started picking up issues of "Electronic Gaming Monthly" (shudder) to read their rumor reports. It was there where "the Quarterman" started reporting that Rare was already working on "Donkey Kong 64" (he got the name right back then) and that Miyamoto would be helping them very little. Then I got a letter back from Nintendo shortly thereafter saying there were no plans for an N64 (it was N64 by then) version of Donkey Kong. Something didn't seem right, and I knew it was just a cover up. Then in one of those videogame order forms by different videogame dealers that they put in the videogame magazines like EGM, I noticed a certain game was there. It was called "Donkey Kong Fantasy." I wrote to Nintendo about it, and they said they never heard of it. Something was surely not right....
I was craving DKW/DKF/DK64 info. Then, sure enough, Rare's website launched months...close to a year maybe...later. It was there where they said they were indeed working on a N64 incarnation of Donkey Kong Country, but they were not at liberty to divulge information. Suddenly, my anticipiation grew to new levels. I had to know MORE. I started my Rare/Scribes insane e-mailing quest with Donkey Kong requests and questions. I was able to pry from Loveday that Donkey Kong was indeed the star of Donkey-Whatever The Hell It's Called-64. I pretty much already figured that out, but it was still a revelation for me. The more info the better. And I got more info. The infamous FIRST SCREENSHOT was when Nintendo finally decided to admit that Donkey Kong 64 was under production for a very long time. I didn't get the Nintendo Power with it until later than normal, so I saw the shot on Nintendo's website. It was New Year's Eve, and I kicked it off by seeing Diddy in a minecart. I knew 1999 would be year to remember.
So here we are. Five more days. Can this really be happening? Can the series that means so much to me finally get the greatest installment in it's incredible lineup? Will I be able to handle seeing all my DK Island chums (well, most of them) in three dimensions? Will Lanky become my new blood brother? Can Candy manage to stick around for the next five years? I can't wait to find out the answers. It's a bold new era approaching for the Donkey Kong Universe and videogames in general. And Donkey Kong 64 is leading the way. I will be right behind it.
Well, I've been waiting for so very long for this game. When I think about how it's almost upon us, I can't help but think back over the past three years with the Nintendo 64. The second Raremade N64 Donkey Kong-related game was Banjo-Kazooie in 1998. This is probably the closest related game to DK64. But it's a long shot from our impeding gem. Ahh. I'm typing this, listening to my Donkey Kong Country soundtrack. Now, I'm being reminded of those cold November days, from 1994-1997, when I would run to the car, money in hand, and go to whatever toy store was nearby. I would run in, grab the game, and upon exiting, there would be a gust of wind, as if to signify that the legacy would continue, and that continuation of that legacy was in my very hands. Now, as we are nearing the pinnacle of technological advancements, I can only imagine what rush of excitement and utter joy I will feel when the monetary transaction will be complete, and the game will be mine.
I'm looking back on the past five years, and I am noticing for the first time that I should consider myself very lucky that I came upon that revolutionary 32-bit cartridge in late 1994. Without the DKU, I don't know where my life would have gone, but experiencing this...all of this emotion and realism of the DKU has made me come to the conclusion that my life has gone the best possible way it could.
So, when we reach the fateful day, I will hold the game high. I have devoted my time, money, and life to this game, and as I feel that cold breeze once again, I will know that everything will be all right.