Game of the Week: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

By the late 1990s video games were established as a durable form of popular entertainment, and as a result more and more companies were entering the market and developers were getting increasingly creative in the kinds of games they created. New genres of game began to emerge like music or “rhythm” games with popular titles like PaRappa the Rapper and Dance, Dance, Revolution. By the early 2000s even more conservative Nintendo started branching out into these sorts of games with Donkey Konga, which was played on the Gamecube with a special bongo controller.

At the same time, Nintendo had been considering creating a new, more traditional “platforming” Donkey Kong game focused on running and jumping. The director decided to make a game with a simple control scheme, and utilized the bongo controller to do it. The result was Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, a truly one of kind game that was a critical success but also a commercial failure. At the time of release in 2004 very few successful games for home consoles had used inputs that differed from the traditional gamepad, but ironically just a year later Guitar Hero would show that music games could be a success even with an unusual customized controller.

It may be a shorter week thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, but if you have some time come bang the drums and check out one of the most unusual games in the RLB Library’s game collection!

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