DKU Thanksgiving Special 2007

Thanksgiving. For most of us, Thanksgiving means a multitude of things. It means spending time with family on various levels of annoyance. It means having tons of delicious food, especially turkey (or tofurkey, if vegetarianism is your style). Yet most of all, it means being thankful of the things, people, and experiences you have and enjoying them.

DKU is no different. After all, the DKU has had one of the best years since 2002. It's not just the DKU games that have had one of the best years in recent time. The site itself has had a revival of sorts with new Features, a continuing PoDKast, and a new Wiki after a rather quiet amount of years. After many not-so-stellar years, there's a lot that we should be thankful in the universe spawned by Rare's Donkey Kong.

And what better way to do it than in list form! Come one, come all, hold hands, recite whatever you recite at the dinner table and enjoy the goodness that 2007 had to offer.

5. Viva Pinata's temporary DKU status.
In what could be considered the shortest unity since Britney Spears married the guy who shared the same name as George's actor on Seinfeld, there was a brief moment earlier in the year where talking about Viva Pinata was the norm to the delight of many of us. While the unity was doomed the moment that Scribes answered on whether or not the Parrybo house really contained Mr. Ribs, you can't keep a good debate down. Even now the status on the game is constantly fought on, and while there may or may not be a concise closure, it did spawn lovely Viva Pinata neon avatars. In the end, Viva Pinata will always live on in our hearts, and for that, yea, we should be thankful.

4. Very few Cameo titles
Ever since the acquisition 5 years ago, there's been a huge increase in Cameo titles. Soccer games, golf games, games that show DK as a human rapist when he's not. We've seen it all. Thankfully this year has been somewhat kind to us in not drowning us in Cameo titles. Mario Party 8 and DS were released to absolutely no one's surprise this year. While the popular vote seems to be disdain for those two titles, the other Cameo title known as Mario Strikers Charged not only improved on the much needed formula, but turned out to be one of the best Cameo games in recent time. It doesn't seem like much, yet with the oversaturation in the past, it's nice to get a Cameo game that can stand up just underneath Mario Kart 64 and the Super Smash Bros. series. For giving us a Cameo game that doesn't make us groan when we give it a chance, yea, we are thankful.

3. Virtual Console re-releases
The Virtual Console is one of the strong points that the Wii has going for it to this day. Sites have been built around it, with people just like you and me heavily anticipating the next game that they can buy for the fourth time with bated breath. It's a formula that clearly works, and there is a reason why this is on our list.

Actually, make that three. In the spawn of a year, we were graced with Mario Kart 64, Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2. In a world where Nintendo is still digitally selling the abomination known as Urban Champion, it's nice to know that they can still release what is arguably considered the best Mario Kart title and the first two titles to the trilogy that started it all here. It also brings the advantage of not only having a brand new generation alongside oldies enjoying the oldies, but the re-releases of DKC 1 and 2 just seems to prove that all the recent retroactive hate of the DKC series is mostly people who have either not played the game or haven't done so in years. For bringing the DKC series in a positive light, yea, we are thankful.

2. Triple Threat of Donkey Kong Games.
These past few years have not been kind to Donkey Kong at all. What with all the drug tripping and bongo drumming dominating the swinging side of our red-tied pal and what friends remained besides the significant Banana, all hopes of a return to the universe that Rare created were screeched to a halt. That is, until three titles dared to take back what was theirs.

Diddy Kong Racing DS not only added online play to a fun title that still stands to this day, it added new DK-related courses and the ability to now play as a few fan favorites. Jungle Climber not only continued King of Swing's (and essentially Rare's) legacy of bringing old characters in a new gameplay environment, it amped the graphics to the ACM style that we grew up with instead of the sprite graphics, as great as they were. Add immersive music, a grander difficulty scale, and a new memorable character character bo bharacter, and you've got a game that's worthy of the definition of what a sequel is. Bongo Blast dared to do what the bongo titles failed to do and made the concept of waggling our Wii Remotes not only a new way to exercise, but made it fun in the process. As well as adding new Kremlings and making certain Kongs playable for the first time, it did a very good job of giving us the Donkey Kong racing title that we yearned for all these years through all new locations, music, and the overall experience. Reviewers be damned, but for PAON and Rare delivering to their fans, yea, we are thankful.

1. Diddy Kong in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In what should be of absolutely no surprise to anyone, Diddy Kong in Brawl is the thing that the DKU should be thankful. Having starred in his own games and rightfully earning his status as a Video Game Hero, his appearance in Brawl is not only well deserved, but he is forever immortalized as one of Nintendo's (and Rare's) franchise characters. In a DKU standpoint, this is the continuation of what PAON has strived to do. There's no excuse for non-PAON DK developers to not include Diddy Kong alongside the Banana now that millions more will know his name. The game may have been the cause of constant bitching and even a time travel attempt by a former DK's Jungle Vine staffer to prevent him from existing, yet one thing stands. Diddy Kong, a living facsimile of Rare's legacy is in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and nothing but the cancellation of the game will stop that. For that, yea, you better be thankful.

That's it for the first edition of the DKU Thanksgiving Special. In closing, have a great Thanksgiving, eat all you want, and be careful of the bratty cousins. They bite.

A reflection that's better than what you hear year after year by Mark