The Definitive 50 SNES Games #11 Donkey Kong Country

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

When Donkey Kong Country was released November 21, 1994, it changed the world.

Rare and Nintendo’s collaborative experiment with pre-rendered video game art using Silicon Graphics equipment blew minds, raising the bar for what was expected of visuals in games at the time. This title started the trend of pre-rendered graphics in gaming, and its influence was felt for years in everything from Sonic 3D Blast to Final Fantasy VII.

It has since been released on the GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance, and Wii Virtual Console.

Donkey Kong Country takes 11th place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games.

As with all the best platformers, the story of Donkey Kong Country is as brief as it is shallow. DK’s banana hoard has been stolen by King K. Rool, a giant humanoid crocodile, and his band of Kremlings. With the help of nephew Diddy Kong, Donkey journeys across Donkey Kong Island to get back what is rightfully his. Along the way, the deepest jungles, steepest mountains, and most polluted swamps must be reckoned with.

Donkey Kong Country was the rebirth of Nintendo’s oldest video game mascot. The fading star of Donkey Kong, the great ape who had catapulted Nintendo into arcades in the 80s, was brought back by Rare and given a fresh look. Most importantly, he was turned from an out-of-control villain to handsome leading man.

If you ask me, Donkey Kong Country is a platformer of the funnest order. The platforming is intense and addictive. The secrets, the stellar music, and even the distinct graphical look, outdated though it may be, have kept me coming back again and again, even years after its release.

Not everyone agrees with me, however. Original Donkey Kong creator Shigeru Miyamoto famously complained that the gameplay was mediocre, and many in the modern gaming press contend that Donkey Kong Country was overrated in its time.

What is indisputable, however, is that this title shaped expectations and altered the video game landscape forever.