It Was Extremely Important To Make Donkey Kong Returns Challenging

By Spencer . December 4, 2010 . 4:10pm


Compared to Nintendo’s other first party developed platfomers for Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns is probably the most challenging. And that’s what Retro Studios wanted.


"I thought it was extremely important that the game [Donkey Kong Country Returns] be challenging. When this project began, I played the Super NES version again and was a little irked at how hard it was," Mike Wikan, Senior Designer at Retro Studios, said in an Iwata Asks interview.


"I thought it’s really important to make the game tough, but in a good way. I wanted to make a game that was not simply difficult, but possessed a kind of difficulty that made players want to try it again. To be more concrete, when there’s a place where you have to jump, I thought it was important that, rather than make players angry, the game makes players feel that even if they fail, they will be able to jump better next time."


"It’s important to make it so that when players mess up, their frustration causes them to want to improve their playing," Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo replied. Earlier he mentioned how tough the mine cart levels were in the original Donkey Kong Country.


Another interesting tidbit from the interview is about Donkey Kong’s new breathing ability. That idea was an order from Shigeru Miyamoto who also told the development team to not to change the game’s music.

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • malek86

    I’m not really sure, but wasn’t Miyamoto quoted saying something about DKC being bad? I guess he at least liked the music.

    Anyway, talking about hard platformers, I got Super Meat Boy this week and it’s awesome. Less than halfway through, and I already died 1300+ times. Now that’s my idea of fun. I should probably get DKCR too one day, but I’ll wait. There are too many games in my to-play-list already.

    • ECM

      That’s apocryphal: he worked w/ Rare very closely on DKC.

      • malek86

        I definitely remember him saying that though, about how DKC only sold because of the graphics. Maybe he was misquoted.

    • Testsubject909

      Still quite disappointed in Sony for dropping the ball on Meatboy.

      But then again, I play it on the PC, so I’m fine.

      • malek86

        I don’t really know why Sony didn’t express interest for Super Meat Boy on PSN. I guess they just hate fun.

        Good thing I’m playing on Steam too. Keys beat joypad any day of the week.

  • neetloaf

    Well they certainly hit the difficulty they were aiming for quite perfectly in my opinion.

    I could have possibly died hundreds during some of the later levels; however, I never once got angry to the point of giving up. Instead, I wanted to keep trying… and I kept trying until the feeling of satisfaction finally came over me. It was a satisfaction that I don’t get from a lot of new games these days.

    • Testsubject909

      And it’s all the better ain’t it?

      Gotta love that feeling of conquering a level.

  • Challenging, I still need to play the game, if it truly is that challenging then maybe I better pass it up. I have no idea why companies like to do this, not everyone wants to go through the tedious and meticulous process of trial and error just to succeed at getting through a level or a jump; it completely spoils the game experience and the experience in sound and drama. In this day and age people live busy lives just to get by in this dog eat dog world and we do not have the time to sacrifice to play and play time and time again the same area of a level or something just to make it to the next level and be halted again. Truly this is the biggest blemish for this golden age of gaming bliss.

    • cocytusx

      Doesn’t help that the most challenging parts of the game, the time attacks, are made even harder thanks to the awful tacked on waggle just to make DK roll and by extension, move faster and jump farther.

      • malek86

        Uhm, didn’t know that. I thought it was buttons only.

        Well, is waggling avoidable? I’d really rather play my difficult platformers with the kind of precision that only buttons can give me.

        • ECM

          It’s *mostly* avoidable: I found a few spots where I wanted to use the roll but gave up because it was making it more difficult than just learning how to do it in a slightly more convoluted fashion.

          That said, it’s still rather irritating that it’s in there at all and that they didn’t just support the CC.

          (And, yes, you need it a lot more for the time attack mode, but you don’t even get that until after you’ve beaten the game once, so if you aren’t one of those people that plays their games to death, it’s not really an issue.)

          • Testsubject909

            The waggle controls worked fine last I tried, but I will admit that I would prefer to do without. It feels a bit tacked on and definitely should’ve been an optional deal rather then a required one.

            This complaint though falls outside of the purview of the author of this little thread of comments. So to those who’re actually giving a damn about what little odd debate may have been brought up by Tsunoyashi keep in mind, this isn’t about difficult games being good or bad, but rather about intelligent control schemes for gaming.

            I’ll note though, I played with the nunchuck. I will say they could’ve certainly made either Z or the trigger button (B) into the dash/blow/ground pound action button, rather then make them both do the same action.

          • ECM

            Goldeneye is another example of this: having the melee attack mapped to a chuck shake when it would have worked much better as a button is grating on the nerves. (They could have simply allowed button remapping but, no, they apparently knew better than the player, sigh.)

        • Yesshua

          There is waggle, and it is less precise than a button press.

          But only barely. I would say only 1/75 of my deaths are caused by waggle mistakes. This is a reflection both of how much I die, and also how often the waggle works without problem.

          It’s not a big deal, really.

    • Apache_Chief

      Games are not movies, they should not play themselves.

      • Games should not be challenging enough that I have to be in the upper echelon of the gaming elite to make it through a stage or that I need to resort to searching out strategy guides or player written guides to advance through a game. Do I like using strategy guides or guides to get through games? I cant imagine that people truly enjoy having to resort to external resources to enjoy a game. It seems that only a few games in this day and age allow for players to play them and get through them without being in the gaming elite or need to use a guide, for example, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, CoD: Modern Warfare 2, and even Assassin’s Creed 2. Now for this Donkey Kong in order to fully enjoy it and make it through the game, apparently I have to go out of my way and invest in the guide :(, its unfortunate that Nintendo doesnt pick up from its competitors for tips to game design.

        • Go play Epic Yarn. It’s perfect for you. It’s a game where you can’t even die.

          • Testsubject909

            (A repost with the removal of a swear word, as I feel it’s probably what’s causing the whole moderator approval dealio. So if the moderators can see this, then nevermind. But if both post gets posted, then I’ll just edit this one into something else.

            So in the meantime, if you end up seeing a double post. Very sorry. Note: This part of the message will be edited within the next 48 hours, definitely… Unless this one also needs moderator approval, in which case. Sorry for wasting your time mister/miss moderator.)

            Not to say it’s a bad game though, it’s still a fun little thing.

            Oh and, I’d like to add to Tsunayoshi’s statement above.

            Uncharted 2 is actually an interestingly challenging little game of Parkour and gunfight, you do need a certain amount of skill in action gaming here to go through it. A less capable gamer would see Uncharted as unfairly challenging, especially certain segments of the game where one can feel a bit outgunned.

            Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, now, for FPS fans, this might not seem like too much of a challenge, and there is the ability to scale back the difficulty, so this one becomes tough to talk about here as there’s no one-difficulty to speak of. But nevertheless the more standard difficulty can still prove challenging or at times seemingly unfair to certain gamers.

            Assassin’s Creed 2 is a thrill and the new gadgets can help make it an easy game to complete. But it’s nevertheless similar to Metal Gear, in the sense that it’s a stealth game. Some people aren’t very good at stealth and they’d certainly curse the difficulty of remaining hidden, though one would need not blame the game, but blame their skills.

            Having played Donkey Kong, though recognizing that I do have some okay skill in platforming games, I will state that… It’s difficulty seems right. One can keep on playing without ever needing a guidebook, and… and wait a minute.

            The hell?

            Why is Tsunayoshi arguing abuot the use of a strategy guide or player written guide for a game like Donkey Kong? Is he complaining about other difficult games, maybe like Demon’s Souls? You don’t need a guide for Demon’s Souls, despite how very challenging it is… Actually it’s been ages since I’ve last seen a game that required me a guide to live through. Even the rougher Atlus games doesn’t really require a guide. I’d even go and argue that Nocturne doesn’t require one despite it’s notoriousness for being a tough RPG.

            Mainly because, it’s regular Normal mode is quite easy to go through with or without a guide, and though Hard mode truly is a deviously unfair challenge at times, it is an optional challenge, and thus would fall outside of the purview of what Tsunayoshi is complaining about.

            … Dood! Where’s your gaming spirit!?

        • Apache_Chief

          This is Donkey Kong. You don’t have to be a “gaming elite” to beat it. They just want to make sure you don’t finish the game with 80 extra lives.

        • I can’t imagine that you’d ever need a guide to get through a Donkey Kong game. The only reason you’d ever need one is to find out where hidden things are. A guide can’t tell you how to make that perfect jump. You practice and get good at it. Reading your comments in this thread is embarrassing, to be honest.

        • Daitrombe

          A guide for a Donkey Kong game? Seriously?

          You don’t need guides to play these games, whatever happened to figuring out stuff by yourself and learning from your mistakes? I guess you never played a Zelda game.

          Goddamn you’re an idiot.

    • ECM

      It’s not a golden age precisely for the reasons you noted: the complete lack of challenge, to the long-time gamer (and by “long-time” i mean, pre-NES), has really drained my enthusiasm for the medium, especially in the last 2-3 gens, where it’s been a race to see who can make the prettiest, easiest, $50-60 waste of time. (That and the utter bankruptness of me-too game design that, had it been around in Biblical times, would have been known as a plague of ‘sandbox’ games, rather than plagues of locusts.)

    • You’re a flawless troll, we get it.

      • You dont ever agree with anything I post, certainly something I post has to resonate within your soul?

        • I have had it with you. You never post anything showing any signs of ANY intelligence unless it’s shounen anime/manga related. All of your complaints make you sound like a whining little cry baby that wants his hand held by his parents throughout his entire life. You don’t want any challenge in anything. You just want to be entertained by big explosions, shiny graphics and voice acting. You don’t want fun. Gaming just seems like a chore for you, so why bother playing any at all? If you truly are this incompetent, you could NEVER play any video game involving online multiplayer.

          You know nothing. Keep your mouth shut AND JUST STOP.

        • Testsubject909

          I’d agree with Firo here. Well, in the sense that, you’re complaining for nothing.

          There are more then enough easy games out there for you to enjoy. If you’ve played the older Donkey Kongs and then chose to play this one to enjoy a new Donkey Kong experience, then you’d have no problems whatsoever.

          The platforming difficulty feels right at home, and if anything, makes it all the more faithful to the excellent source material.

          Now, if you’ve never played the game before, then this is simply a good way to introduce yourself to the Donkey Kong series in a manner that is faithful to the original quality, and it is a quality game that shines well with very interesting, fun and challenging platforming.

          If anything, people are far too spoiled by an ease of difficulty. Even if a game is difficult to a near frustrating point doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Take a look at Demon’s Souls… No wait, better, take a look at all the games from the 80’s and 90’s. These were freaking tough games, but we all, as kids, went through them, sometimes beat them, sharpened our skills at gaming.

          We’ve fallen too soft on games every now and again yet from time to time, we get a shining example of a great game with great challenge, like the aforementioned Demon’s Souls, the retro Megaman 9, and the more recent Donkey Kong.

          This isn’t a blemish to this current silver age of gaming. It is a golden shining standard of new and old coming together to form a refined and wonderful piece of gaming.

          So… no, what you’ve posted didn’t really resonate in my soul. And yes, I’m leading a very busy life with, unfortunately for me, many dozens of games in my backlogs still waiting to be completed.

          Perhaps I don’t have days on end to sacrifice for gaming, but I do have many hours every now and again to invest in my gaming, and I am rewarded all the more by the experience. The trial and error is an experience in gaming itself, just like it is in life.

          Now, what you SHOULD’VE complained about is a lack of ability to switch the difficulty level. Now that would be a valid point, as it then extends a hand to the less experienced and allows them to enjoy the game throughout at their own level.

          But what you’ve uttered up there? It does sound as nothing short of being a flawless troll.

          • RupanIII

            ‘If anything, people are far too spoiled by an ease of difficulty. Even if a game is difficult to a near frustrating point doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Take a look at Demon’s Souls… No wait, better, take a look at all the games from the 80’s and 90’s. These were freaking tough games, but we all, as kids, went through them, sometimes beat them, sharpened our skills at gaming.’So true. A friend and I talk about this sometimes, how we just plowed through these really tough games back then and now it’s like they give you infinite continues and such. (not that there’s anything wrong with using continues/stat guides/whatever if you like :P). They were hard but we kept at it, it made the endings/secret stuff/etc. all the more rewarding. Also, I guess it’s harder for people who have had the internet, cell phones, etc. since they were little kids to understand, but there was a time before your senses weren’t so constantly bombarded by superfluous crap that corporations and advertisers want you to think is absolutely essential to your life (OK, I guess advertisers were always desperate to sell you :P but there wasn’t so much of it intruding on your everyday life, I mean) Instead of twitter, cell phone stuffs, facebook etc. all dividing your attention, you focused on a few games at a time, not taking them for granted, and that made you appreciate them that much more, and left you in awe at times. Tho I still don’t get why I’m saying this in relation to Tsuyanoshi since we’re about the same age I think -_-;

          • Aoshi00

            That’s the weird thing that puzzles people and made everyone thought he was 13 (Justin Bieber?) because every game is like new to him. But later on he said he got into gaming late because he had stuffs to do in the previous years, like hanging out w/ people :)

          • Aoshi00

            It’s like his Mormon parents didn’t let him touch video games until he was over 20 or something :) (no offense to either TS or the religion)

          • Maybe youve been with games for longer than me or something. It is still mind blowing to me that people played games without any need for an online connection or interactivity options with friends. How would one enjoy a game without some form of communication or easy to access multiplayer through internet connection? Similarly it must have been rather annoying to not have access to gamefaqs or something for aid in games, it would be pretty frightening to play a game then not have access to the site when one gets stucl.

          • Apache_Chief

            I actually miss the days when things weren’t readily apparent and easy to figure out. Not even how to beat the game or level or anything, but also secrets and unlockables. It gave the game more mystery not knowing what it had in it. It also kept me happy with the fact that I only got one game every few months.

            Pokemon Red and Blue was like that for me. There were so many bogus rumors floating around the playground that I tried, and just enough were true to keep me playing. Catching a Mew while fishing? Can’t do it. Missingno? Holy crap it works. Togepi? Yeah right. Lone island with a truck on it? Whoa what’s this for? These games were not meant to have everything discovered within 3 weeks and published on Gamefaqs.

            I also remember my friend describing Ness to me back for the original Smash Bros. I had never even heard of Earthbound, so it was so exciting hearing all of his moves and weird things he could do (you have to hit yourself with your lighting bolt to recover from a fall? Crazy!). When I finally figured out how to unlock him, he was my favorite character to play as. Nowadays you can look up characters and videos on how to unlock them all in an afternoon. Boring.

          • RupanIII

            @ Apache_Chief (no reply button)

            Same here, man. The mystery/discovery of figuring out on your own can never be matched with just looking it up online and watching a video of it. It seemed like the games were deeper/more expansive when you couldn’t just look up every secret. Like you said, you were satisfied playing the same game rabidly for months trying to find all the hidden stuff. I remember when Pokemon Red and Blue came out! All the gossip flying around haha

          • First, Megaman 9 demo I think was rather brutally difficulty. I played the demo and I couldnt even get through the level; I couldnt even enjoy the demo, so it left me with a feeling that Megaman is a series just for the gaming elite or something.

            When I think of games that are “challenging” yet fun to play, the one that comes to mind is the Assassin’s Creed series. There is no death or a heavy reliance on tedious repetition, and often, by just contemplating for a brief moment most tasks in the game have alternate ways for them to be accomplished certainly not on the scale of frustrating me. Certainly nothing that required numerous repetitions or a need to consult some guide. Unless the Donkey Kong games have alternate paths when there is some difficult to assess jump or pattern of enemies, then it seems too challenging, maybe to the point of unplayable?

            I just think its a crazy idea to invest 50$ in the game and then $20 more for a guide so that I can receive knowledge of the technique to employ to getting through a stage in the game so that I can avoid being frustrated or overly challenged. Platforming games shouldnt be set up in a way to be so challenging to cause frustration. When I play games I do not want to be frustrated, arent I playing in limited amounts of time to get away from whatever frustrating thing I encountered in the real life, why would I want to become frustrated while playing a game? lol.

            I do not want a game thats a walk in the park but not one that is so challenging to make me want to go into some sort of angry mode.

          • Megaman 9 was hard, yeah. It was designed to be like the old games, hence the difficulty. In fact, many consider the older megaman games EVEN more difficult. The megaman spinoffs and such are generally easy though, however.

            Assassin’s creed IS pretty repetitive, but that’s just my opinion.

            They don’t ask you to pay for a guide. You can just learn the patterns yourself, or just really learn how play. If you’re having THAT much problems, you can just search up for guides online or something. There’s no need to purchase those overpriced things. I don’t ever recall anyone telling others how they rely on “guides” and “walkthroughs” to complete games. I use it as last resort, or when I’m completely stuck. It happens a lot on Layton games.

            Lastly, the fact that you play every game in the easiest difficulty (With the exception of Persona 3 Portable. Even then, you find the pretty-average normal mode “brutally difficult”) invalidates what you just said.

          • RupanIII

            Hm well like people have been saying, it’s all relative. There simply wasn’t a GameFAQs or Internet period, so how could you need those things when they didn’t even exist? For a lot of us it was just really rewarding too. Believe me I got angry at games when a boss and I both had like an ounce of health left and he got some cheap shot in and I lost, but after lots of trial and error and you beat the game or unlocked something or whatnot, it felt like you and you alone beat the game, you didn’t need any help, you persevered, you really were the hero! haha

          • Apache_Chief

            Playing hard games has two major effects. It makes you better at games and it increases your tolerance for frustration. Even I admit that some parts of Super Meat Boy are ungodly hard, but even when I was unlocking The Kid (the hardest stages in the game), I never raised my voice, never threw down the controller, and never cursed in frustration. When I died at the end of the level I would laugh it off and know that next time I have a much better chance of making it. Just remember, it’s just a game, don’t let it have any power over you.

          • WizardoftheBlueOrder

            I don’t think a lack of a difficulty switch is even a valid complaint. I’ve noticed that no one pointed out that this game has the good ol’ “Super Guide” for players who get stuck/are impatient/just plain suck.

            Tsunayoshi could just utilize that whenever he’s getting frustrated and unhappy. So yeah, that complaint has no leg to stand on.

            The difficulty is high because there’s a “here’s how to beat the level” built-in guide for those who aren’t able to do so.

            I think that also invalidates the “20 more dollars for a guide” claim, but that’s his problem.

    • zhemos

      Easy games are boring. People like to be challenged. Go buy enslaved or something, don’t bash a game for wanting to challenge you.

      • Aoshi00

        Ensalved on hard wasn’t that easy (enemy AI was much more aggressive and give you almost instant kill in 2-3 hits).. I played 3 chapters on hard and had to switch back to normal.. Did everyone just play the intro demo and assume the game to be easy :(? It’s really too bad people who never eve bother to play that game kept perpetuating that myth and use it as an example of easy game.

    • Yesshua

      I think you still should play this game though. I think that the difficulty is tougher than most modern games, but not unreasonably so.

      Unless you want it to be.

      To clear the game, that is only moderately difficult.

      To collect the Kong letters in all the levels, that is slightly tougher.

      To clear the secret stages the Kong letters unlock, that is VERY difficult.

      To collect the collectibles in the Kong stages is a smidgen more difficult than even that.

      And the Golden Temple unlocked after clearing all the Kong levels… well, that’s just impossible. I still beat it, but it was utterly insane.

      So really, the game is as difficult as you want it to be. It’s nicely layered. Same thing with the time trials. Bronze is slightly tougher than just clearing the level, Silver requires some trial and error/memorization, and Gold requires mastering every pixel in every jump without error.

      • I didnt know the game had that many unlockables. How difficult is moderately difficult, like expect to lose lives every stage difficult?

        • Average level will kill you 1 or 2 times, a hard level maybe 5-10 times
          KONG letters over the course of the game may kill you…. 30-60 times
          Secret stages will kill you 5-15 times maybe

          • Wow if thats the case then I guess the just getting through the game isnt as difficult as my posts try to make it sound. I just hope by the time I get it someone has put up an entire video walkthrough of the game in case I get stuck. I doubt I will try to get any of those bonuses (what is the reward for it, concept art?)

          • KONG bits unlock the secret stages, puzzle pieces unlock concept art , finishing all the secret stages unlocks the golden temple (which unlocks mirror mode)

    • kylehyde

      I think that the problem with this generation is that the games now are too easy, so much that many of the people who began in this generation bash previous that were aclaimed just because they found it too difficult. Seriously I don’t know what happened to the times were a game that was found so painful easy was looked as trash.If you think that this is a golden age you are totally wrong.If you think the opposite then answer me: Why the game industry is shrinking? yes is shrinking, every year and even ever month many companies report losses and many studios get closed.My answer, many are getting bored of the current videogames.The real golden age was on the nes – snes times, were the games challenge you and the only to prove something was with yourself.

      • Aoshi00

        I don’t think it’s fair to say just any one period is golden age.. there were lots of great games back then and also crappy ones, just like now.. just like there was good and bad anime back then and good and bad anime now, same goes for movies as well, there were lots of classics, but I enjoy the movies today too.. For me I preferred harder games when I was younger (namely because I could spend more time w/ it and more determined) and I prefer easier and more accessible games in recent years as I’m getting older. There are things that new games don’t do as well as old games, but there are also things old games couldn’t do because technology has come a long way… I like games to be of medium difficulty, but if there is only one difficulty for all, I would prefer easier than hair pulling difficulty, some even preventing me from finishing the game (I think my gaming skills have regressed, or I was never that good to begin w/, but when you are young, you fall and you get back up, now it just leaves a bruise and cause trauma lol :)

        PS. I think there’s more games today than back then (I’m not sure if that’s true but it certainly feels like it), just like anime, I remember in the 80’s & 90’s I could watch most of the stuffs on air (the Jpn New Type magazine used to have an almanac every year listing the episodes of all the anime run in that year in a tiny booklet, later on they stopped maybe there’s too many shows and not enough space), but in the last decade or so there’s just so much..

        I do like the cinematic direction and mo-cap in games like movies though.. it’s not the most important thing that makes the games fun, but it’s something that wasn’t possible before..

        • Extra_Life

          I think the term ‘Golden Age’ is more personal to each gamer. It is something you remember fondly and you’ll use it as a benchmark to measure other points in your gaming life against.

          I started gaming in 1987, but didn’t get *really* into it until 1994 when I was a little older and started getting games like Secret of Mana and Zelda III etc. Back then, I’d probably get a couple of games a year and I’d play them to death, so inevitably I have a lot of fond memories of games between the early and late 90’s, something I’d class as my ‘Golden Age’.

          At the end of the 90’s I began earning money with a job and from then was able to buy more games. I’d play more, finish less and as a result have fewer good memories of them, because I’d stick with them for a shorter period of time. Meanwhile, my younger brother was just getting into gaming at this point, and he saw the games of the early 2000’s in the way I did the games of the early to mid 90’s, and today he’ll tell me that when he was playing games 7 or so years ago, that was his ‘Golden Age’.

          It made me want that feeling back, that games were really memorable, and so a couple of years ago I made sure I’d finish each game I started before moving onto the next. I’ve played a lot more than I used to (100 games finished over the last two years), but it has also made me appreciate games on the level I did back with the SNES, and I can honestly say that the games I’ve played are as good (in terms of how fun and memorable they are) as they were in the 90’s.

          Of course, every gamer is different so I don’t expect everyone to agree with my take on how the golden age ‘works’!

          • Aoshi00

            I totally agree w/ you, I think it has to do w/ age too and when you first started, but also allow yourself to not get jaded. For example, to many Jpn, in terms of manga/Jump, they still think of the early 90’s as the golden age because of Dragonball/Slam Dunk/YuYu Hakusho (for the older readers, they might think of Fist of the North Star/Saint Seiya in the 80’s). I also had the most fond memories of games when I was younger, I remember playing w/ friends Punch Out, Super Mario Bros, TMNT, Contra, Mario Kart (SNES), etct, they were a blast and I literally played those games for years. Now there are still good games, but as someone who’s 30 I just can’t devote myself as much into gaming, though once in a while you have a game like Nier or Lost Odyssey that totally sucks you in, so when a right RPG comes along, I still wouldn’t mind spending 100 hrs on it :) My taste have expanded too, so that makes me play a more variety of games instead of focusing on just a handful (platformers and JRPGs back then), the downside is that gives me less time to completely enjoy just one game. Right now I could play some shooters, if they’re too intense I play other more story focused games, fewer RPGs get me to finish from beginning to end though (so far I’ve finished all the Sakaguchi RPGs, like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, ASH, I know I would love Last Story). I could play visual novels too (I’m not interested in all of them, but the last one I liked was Anata wo Yurusanai, that game was very good, even though you just read most of the time). And I don’t play that many dating sims now, but I dig Dream Club and Love Plus (which a lot of people blast here like those who play it have “no life” or haven’t gotten any real world action lol…). Like you said, I think it’s a good idea to stick w/ just one game at a time, so you could totally enjoy it, that’s what happened w/ me for Nier, Lost Odyssey, Enslaved, etc, these are my favorites in recent years and made an impression on me and prove that good games still exist today.Another example is music too, to me the golden age was the 80’s (whether it was American or Japanese pop songs), but people who were slightly younger than me would like the 90’s best, it’s definitely more personal and depends on when you were growing up. Well I guess for me it was the 80’s – 90’s, I grew up watching anime in the 80’s, but I watched a lot of Jpn drama when I was a teen in the 90’s.. I’m sure there’s still good music and drama now if I get into them.. lately I’ve quite enjoyed the songs from those young Jpn idols (I said groups like SKE48 were stupid but I take it back, yea there’s MOE, but some music is still catchy and enjoyable in a different way..)EDIT: also I had more friends to play games w/ as a kid, like classmates and neighbors, not as much now as I don’t play online a lot, so less co-op might diminish the expereince too. I played Scott Pilgrim and later on a friend dropped by and played co-op w/ me, and it was like 10x more fun.. guess that’s where some of the magic lies, it was more personal before internet came along, you sit next to your friends and cousins and play together, helping or sabotaging each other :) Playing NBA Jam w/ my cuz was very fun, now he’s all grown up and doesn’t touch video games other than the occasional Madden or MLB..Back on topic, time to pop in DKCR and enjoy some old school platforming goodness.. one of the reasons I don’t touch the Wii is you have to take out the jacket and insert batteries, the remote plus attachment made things even more cumbersome (it makes the remote longer and harder to hold sideways too because the 1 & 2 btns are further in), but I just got the Fling Smash plus remote so it should be easier.. I know I could take the plus off, but that would require switching to the smaller jacket.. I kind of wish I had bought the Energizer induction charger where you just place the remotes (w/ jkts and plus on and all) on a mat instead of all the messing battery changing..

          • RupanIII

            This is interesting to read everyone’s various ‘golden ages,’ for me I’m definitely a 90s kid haha who is with me?

            Like you guys said, it’s relative to each person and when they grew up and such, but for me there is an impression that in general things got a bit less sincere and more cynical in the 2000s (movies, games, tv, etc) compared to decades past.

            Extra_Life I agree that sticking with a game and finishing it makes it more enjoyable. Like I was getting at in another post we’ve become kind of add as a society I think and tend to forget the deeper/longer-term rewards of sticking it out/focusing on one thing.

            Aoshi I’ve been meaning to pick up the new NBA Jam since it was one of my favorite games back in the day. I read a few iffy things tho, perhaps I could get your input on them: first that the gameplay is kind of different than the old one in that it’s too easy to block stuff, that you can’t really shoot threes and it’s just all dunking. Second there was something about switching characters, like you can’t take over CPU character or something? And lastly that people just drop out of online games all the time without consequence. This last one doesn’t matter too much since I don’t really play online a lot.

          • Aoshi00

            Thanks for the heads up, in that case I would wait a bit to pick up the new NBA Jam :)

          • RupanIII

            D’oh I read your post too quickly, I thought you meant you played the new NBA Jam with your cuz -_-; lol

          • Aoshi00

            lol oh no, just the old SNES back then and it was great fun, I was wondering if I should pick up the new one, but now I would wait after hearing your advice. Now my cuz is like 24 and doesn’t game anymore.. he thinks even movies are a waste of time :(.. he’s a big shot on wall street who plays golf now, talk about elite right :(..

      • I thought the game industry has been expanding in this new age in which companies are uniting gameplay and technology and enhancing the gameplay experience with continued support for product through dlc while providing cutting edge presentations values. Is not the videogame market meeting the sales of the previous year. There seem to be more companies posting profit this year than last year, and like in most industries the loss of one company often spans the creation of another?

        Maybe I will just never understand the appeal of challenge since I just wasnt around for anything really pre PS3/Wii. I honestly dont think the games of today are easy as often times I find myself spending plenty of time on them and having to think some or consult a guide to get through the games because they are kind of challenging. The only games Ive been able to play without any assistance have been racing games.

        • kylehyde

          Is not the videogame market meeting the sales of the previous year? According to various reports the answer is not, even analyst(?) like Michael Pachter (double ??) who were really optimistic many times are reporting that the industry is not growing, I saw a lot of articles that point that. Actually the focus on the technology is one of the reasons why the industry is at risk of another collapse like the one in 1984. And please don’t bring move and kinect, is true that those devices are selling but are not moving the console sellings (a friend of mine that works for a store has said me that the peripherals are selling but the bundles don’t).

          Also many people are getting tired of DLC which in many times borders in the absurd for paying for content that is already on the disc, at least in many titles this is the case. Every day more feel that they are being squished with incomplete products.

        • Nah. Like I love to say, the industry is slowly dying. Creativity and innovation is cut, in order to meet the demands of the consumers. The mainstream consumers want something that looks good and takes little skill to get into. Therefore, companies place graphics and presentation as their top priority. Better graphics and presentation improvements are great things, but the meat of the game, the gameplay, takes a backseat in comparison. Gameplay barely changes throughout. In fact, with these new mechanics being introduced into FPS (For example), the entire genre feels like it’s is going backwards. Not because they’re introducing new mechanics, but because they just aren’t needed. Even with something that looks good and sounds awesome, a game MUST have heavy advertisements to push the game. Vanquish looked and sounded fantastic. It was innovative, exciting, and the best of all, FUN. It had very positive reviews, but had ZERO advertisements anywhere. How did it do in sales? Couldn’t even hit 150K worldwide. Meanwhile, games that carry a brand name, like Final Fantasy games, or Call of Duty, goes on to sell over 5 million copies, 11 million copies, whatever. The mainstream “gamers” just buy whatever has a big name.A lot of us started playing games since the SNES era, and back then, games were “brutal”. Back then, it was considered normal. I started gaming when I was like 5, and my first game was Super Mario Bros 1. I never beat it because I found it really difficult back then. I still played it as often as I could though. Then the only game I really played since then was…. Starcraft. Until I was 10 anyway.

          EDIT: Forgot to talk about DLCs. I feel that DLC is something that should already be on the disc. Think of it this way. People are paying to play something, but are given an option to be charged for something that should already be in the disc anyway. Then there’s the problem of extremely expensive dlcs that are huge rip-offs, like the Call of duty dlcs costing nearly 20 dollars just for a handful of maps that were in previous call of duty games.

        • You don’t have to be from a certain time or age to understand the appeal of a challenge. It should be human nature to like challenges. Not just in games, but in all parts of life. People like to challenge themselves to get better at things. Musical instruments for example. You just don’t want to challenge yourself and figure things out on your own.

      • Avojavo

        I would say the industry’s undergoing “consolidation”, not shrinking and kid’s getting bored isn’t quite a clear depiction. My guess is a pretty wild and undocumented one, so chances are it’s not valid at all, but here goes:

        1) With more game companies and better media coverage, you’re more likely to hear of a studio closing now than you were in the ’90s.

        2) As there are more games coming out now than there were 20 years back, there’s less time for a game to “saturate” before something newer in the same genre takes the target population’s attention away from it.

        3) Nowadays the only production choices seem to be go indie or go really big. The financial fallout from failure will crush you unless the game was reasonably cheap to develop or you literally have half a bank on your side. Back then was more middle ground friendly.

        I personally love the SNES era, mainly because my (similarly unfounded) belief is that innovations then were more focused on gameplay, while nowadays they’re more focused on presentation.

        • kylehyde

          “belief is that innovations then were more focused on gameplay, while nowadays they’re more focused on presentation”Wii focused on the first and the HD consoles on the second and tell who has more sales in this generation? Why the 2D marios sold a lot more than the 3D?The key of the success and innovation was never on the presentation, thats a fallacy that many producers and companies believe, even the Halo games were succesful not for their presentation, but for their gameplay and for their robust multiplayer which of course is part of the gameplay.

          Consolidation? Yes consolidation to the disaster.

          1) True, but also in the 90’s there weren’t many studios as today. Also who are the ones that are close them or reducing them? their owners. A recent example is Red Dead Redemption, the palladin that defeated mario galaxy and that many neogaf users proclaimed as their hero for defeating a Mario game, men all those developers deserve an award, The rockstars ceo’s gived to that studio his award in the form of a cut reduction. Even after the game sold a lot, many employes were cut out. WTH happened here? My guess, the production values today are so high that they have to sell an insane quantity of games for not seing loss. And thats not the only case. Many times I heard about games that sell gazillions and the next two weeks the studio that developed is closed down or reduced on their staff members.

          2. Yeah and many of them are shooters, and many of them feel the same. Very few are unique.

          3. As I said before the, more grown the production values, the less accesible is to develop something on it, for that reason many small studios offer their abilities to the big ones with contracts that could destroy them if the things don’t go well. The one that decide to stay indie well doesn’t generate too much money. Many studios that weren’t prepared for the HD requirements were squashed, other companies like Atlus were really smart at not adventuring to the HD era so quickly, they did it very gradually. About the indies, their only option is iphone and even that area is very risky.

    • Extra_Life

      Personally I’m really looking forward to the challenge of this game. Getting through a difficult game is a great feeling, and once you have that feeling at least once, you’ll want it again, and thus, harder games and difficulties will appeal to you.

      Still, I grew up on Atari and NES games, and I still don’t think anything is as difficult as it was back then (and maybe that is where my, and other readers, desire for challenge comes from) – it took me about three months of trial and error to finish Megaman 2 when I was 7 or 8.

  • Fonic

    The SNES ones were pretty hard so it makes sense that this one would be as well. I loved 1-3 when I was a kid but 64 was a real letdown. Waggle doesn’t really suit this type of game but I guess they have to cram it in somewhere.
    Anyway, I should probably get this at some point.

  • NeoTechni

    Frustration makes me turn the game off, it doesnt make me want to keep playing

    I have far too many games to waste my time getting pissed off.

    • Testsubject909

      Ask them to consider the full spectrum of gamers out there then. Ask not for a removal of difficulty, but a consideration of the many different level of gaming skill out there as well as the intent of gamers, whether it is to enjoy breezing through it or challenging themselves.

      That is, ask them for an inclusion of an ability to change difficulty. Unless, and this needs be noted, unless the developer’s intent IS to challenge gamers, in this instance, the game is no longer being made to cater to gamers at large, but for a core audience, a core target of gamers. Recent games like Vanquish should be an example of such an item.

      Of course, their existence will not resonate with all, certain people will dislike them, such as yourself, but they are nevertheless necessities in the gaming world, as there are many gamers out there seeking to be challenged.

      Just like how there’s a necessity for easier games, for people who’d rather not be taken up to such challenging heights.

      As such… I really have no idea how to react to your statement.

      On one hand, it’s a valid statement to give. On the other, it’s not one you really needed to give, it’s obvious this game’s difficulty will not be for everyone.

      Also, if you’ve no interest in it, then you’ve no real need to come and complain, and if you had an interest in it, then it comes to why you had an interest in it? If your interest in it was due to previous experiences with Donkey Kong games, then the complain would seem somewhat unnecessary as it means they were faithful to the good experiences you’ve had in the past, as the previous Donkey Kong games were obviously challenging in their own rights, meaning that you’re looking it up for a challenge of your own.

      But if it’s to find a new series to get into. If it doesn’t resonate with you, I see no reason to complain. It just means that series was not made for your type, so just go out searching again…

    • Avojavo

      I hear you buddy. I’m the kind that prefers the bulk of the “frustration challenges” to lie in the sidequests or minigames than in the main game. Like in Zelda: Twilight Princess’ yeti snowboarding minigame; at least I could wander off and do something else, advance the story, and come back as opposed to getting stuck.

      My real problem lies in mazes. If anyone played Tales of Phantasia and explored the mines of morlia… I got lost, and couldn’t find the way up or down. Thank goodness mazes nowadays are either really simple or come with a map.

      • Extra_Life

        I have to admit to enjoying the mazes of the games of yore! I guess the mines in Phantasia were a little annoying, but I found that was more to do with the high encounter rate than the layout of the dungeon. Did you ever play Secret of Evermore? That game was pretty much based around mazes – the one that joined the second and third areas of the game together (Antiqua and Gothica) still haunts me to this day: low light, lots of oglins, warps… I do actually wish for more games like that!

        • Avojavo

          Never played Secret of Evermore, actually. But I challenge you with this:

          Final Fantasy 6: Phoenix Mountain. If you played FF6 (if you haven’t, start NOW) and explored to its very bottom, I’m sure you agree with me when I say that was one of the worst mazes I ever got lost in. Locke was my favourite character, I wanted to find him… then I got terribly lost.

          • Extra_Life

            I haven’t finished FF6 yet! Being in the UK, I didn’t get round to playing it at all until the PS1/GBA versions came out, but I only played around 15hrs of it. Still, I might play through the GBA game next year before the cart battery dies, and see how this maze is!

  • Aoshi00

    I don’t think it’s fair to say Tsunayoshi Sawada is a troll, even though sometimes the way he says things like it’s a FACT is kind of hard to swallow.. like good sales = good games (If so, why didn’t Nier sell millions?)Some people like their games on the casual/easy side (pick up & play, like sports or racing games, well they need skills too but you get the point), some like hardcore challenges, despite how many games I buy and play, I must say these days I prefer easier games because I just want to enjoy them but don’t have that much time to invest in them. I’m not great at shooters, so sometimes I die a lot in Uncharted 2 but I just press on because of the story. I’m okay w/ TPS, I suck at FPS. I could handle Bayonetta on normal okay, but Vanquish on normal was pretty hard, it’s fun, but dying and restarting a lot was frustrating sometimes, but I’m stubborn and refrain from playing on easy if possible.I grew up playing tough games on the NES too, but now I can’t even finish Megaman 9 and 10.. I guess I could if I really stick to them for hours.. but I just get killed too many times in Wily’s castle I kind of gave up (I have other games to play, 5 systems, US & Jpn).. I have like 2yrs of manga backlog, movies, work, life, etc.. still, gaming is precious to me, but I just can’t devote myself as much to it as I could maybe 5-10 yrs ago.. I don’t think I would game that much once I marry.I picked up Donkey Kong the other day, but haven’t popped it into the Wii yet.. I did play the SNES one, but all these difficulty and waggle talk have me kind of worry, maybe I’m more of a Kirby guy now lol :) and Platforming/sidescrolling was my favorite genre too. Still haven’t touched Kirby and Epic Mickey yet.. went back to playing MGS PW and FF9 on the PSP Go w/ the dualshock 3 :)Guess what I’m trying to say is game should have a range of difficulty, very easy, easy, normal, hard, very hard, that way everyone is satisfied.. game length too, people complain games are too short and not worth $60.. when I was in college I wouldn’t mind 50-60hr RPGs, love them.. now even a 20-hr action game is pretty long for me.. I guess I just got more casual now since I’m older w/ time constraint…

    • RupanIII

      Replying to you up here since I can’t down below…

      Mormon? Actually that kinda makes sense.. that tarot card stuff.. could it be.. is the puzzle coming together?

      On topic tho, waggle issue aside I’m gonna have to pick this up if Last Story makes me get a Wii.

      • Aoshi00

        come on man, a red LE Mario Wii ($150 during Thanksgiving) w/ SNMB wasn’t good enough for you :(? I guess you’re right, it was Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey that made me get a 360 back then too :) yes, it was the Tactics ogre bonus tarot cards that made me think that lol..

        • RupanIII

          I know I know, there were good Wii and 360 buys, but between looking for jobs, doing grad school applications and my pile of shame, I figured even if I bit on them I won’t have a whole lot of time to play anyhow >.<

          edit, that reminds me, I better clear some games this winter before Tactics Ogre comes out lol

          • Avojavo

            Off topic: you’re probably more enlightened than me, but I feel like grad school’s a waste of time. My extended internship with a research lab has me feeling pretty depressed a career in the research field.

            On topic: hold out on buying a Wii. They said they’re not going to drop prices, but if you’ve managed to wait this long, wait for a price drop (I’m predicting around May next year). At that time you can buy current games new at painfully deflated prices from Amazon or somewhere, too.

          • RupanIII

            off topic: I know where you’re coming from, I’ve been out of school for like a year and a half and I’ve been back and forth and back and forth on the issue. The whole interest vs. practicality thing has been hard for me, and I’m not sure I want to stay in academia/get a PhD, so I ended up applying to things that I wasn’t really as interested in like law (and, as I later found, aren’t necessarily that practical either; the law is totally saturated and plenty of grads from tier 1 schools are buried in debt and unable to find work).

            On the other hand, I’ve been applying for regular entry level jobs like a madman with no luck. Whether or not grad school will help with this, I miss academia and this job thing just isn’t happening (aside from part-time stuff). So, now I’m only applying to programs that I’m either sure I’m interested in or ones I’m sure will increase my employability.

            Are you going to continue to pursue research or still undecided? I have a friend from school who wants to go into psych clinical research. He graduated about 2 yrs before me, and every year since he has been applying to grad for psych programs with no luck. Finally he just accepted this unpaid internship which he has been doing for years now in hopes of getting better recommendations. He said if it doesn’t work this time he’s just going to apply for photography programs. He’s usually got some depressing story from work, tho I think he likes his coworkers, like the time, paraphrasing, that he asked his boss about that old adage ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ and his boss just laughed at him and said he’d be lucky if he was happy 5% of the time. What an inspiring leader. On the plus side he’s not losing any money commuting since it’s only a few blocks from his apartment.

            on topic: I can hold out that long heh, and hopefully by then The Last Story will be closer to localization :D

      • It kinda doesn’t explain how my friend’s best friend is a mormon and pretty much loves games as much as I do, if not more.

        I guess the sheltered part makes sense, but are today’s parents THAT paranoid?

        • RupanIII

          Oh yea? Actually I just kind of going off the general media image of them (South Park etc), which wasn’t fair I suppose since I never actually met one

          Regarding the paranoia.. well I did see a video on YouTube (search for ‘pokemon power’) of this preacher saying Pokemon is a demonic game where you control evil spirits from the dark realm haha Then they put an image of Jigglypuff on screen loll At least choose a more menacing/less cute pokemon if you’re trying to argue that they’re spawns of satan

    • I agree that games should have a whole range of difficulty. It gives the game a larger replay value, and can make the game more interesting.Unfortunately, in every single post that TS makes, he COMPLAINS about how DIFFICULT a game is, and how in this “golden age of gaming” most games are too hard. He enforces his opinions as if they are universally agreed facts. He posts without thinking. He posts without having the slightest bit of background knowledge. He often even ignores vital and important posts, and basically repeats himself in a future article. Then, the same process happens again and again. It’s really annoying for us. Also, he could really take a hint and really just try to think something through.Everyone has the right to express their opinion. However, if they “enforce” their opinions like how TS does, I feel that they should at least be able to back up their ideas with points that are reasonable or well thought out.

      • Aoshi00

        I totally understand, lots of people are frustrated by his opinions treated as facts w/o any basis, everyone was trying to talk sense (common sense) into him but it doesn’t seem like one word got thru him and he would bring up the same thing over and over..sometimes I do see where he’s coming from and I occasionally agree w/ him, the times that I’m not annoyed by him anyway :)

      • I always think things through, certainly people do not think that I just happen to post the first thing that comes to mind and close the page without rereading what I wrote? In order to even make the claim of the “golden age of gaming” took some time and logical deduction through the use of reasoning to conclude that that is what I feel this time period is. Maybe Im falling victim to contorting the actual viewpoints that are expressed as the fact, but still everything I claim I do support with examples to support the opinions, therefore making them facts. And if I am wrong or presented with alternate information then Im quick to abandon the platform, for example the “good games beget popularity” train of thought was brought to my attention to not be a truth but an theory with a few inherent problems. I havent spoke of it since.

  • The game is nearly perfect, ESPECIALLY thanks to the fine tuned difficulty.

    However, the waggle (required for long jumps with Donkey Kong) is completely shoehorned in and I’m seriously looking into the homebrew patch for using the Classic Controller. You brought this on yourselves, Nintendo!

    • malek86

      If there’s a homebrew patch to add CC support, I’m all for it.

    • fallen

      Yes, Mr. Sekai, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought, “Homebrew patch, please,” as soon as I went to the controller config menu!

  • I definitely think that part of why I find it more difficult these days to stay interested in a lot of games as long as I used to is because too many of them are too easy. And the problem is, as people have pointed out, we get soft..even those of us who used to like a real challenge.

    As for Donkey Kong Country Returns, I think it’s brilliant. I think the difficulty level is about perfect – as others said, you can also choose to make it easier or more difficult on yourself depending on how much you want to collect/’perfect’ a level. On the other hand, I WILL admit that I mentioned to my brother while playing it the other day that it would be nice if every few levels or so there was one that was a bit more relaxing, bit more of a breeze through, just to give you a bit of a break so you could zone out occasionally in the longer playing sessions and then ramp it back up again. I feel like the Mario games do that a bit.

    There’s room for games of all difficulties I think, these days generally there are too few challenging ones, as being easier is the best way to reach and satisfy a larger audience. Those games that don’t provide a challenge REALLY need to have great story, or other gameplay hook/mechanic, or something to pull me into them. Platformers – 2d or 3d – and other action games etc that’re too easy generally seem to me to be very banal and boring

  • I definitely think that part of why I find it more difficult these days to stay interested in a lot of games as long as I used to is because too many of them are too easy. And the problem is, as people have pointed out, we get soft..even those of us who used to like a real challenge.

    As for Donkey Kong Country Returns, I think it’s brilliant. I think the difficulty level is about perfect – as others said, you can also choose to make it easier or more difficult on yourself depending on how much you want to collect/’perfect’ a level. On the other hand, I WILL admit that I mentioned to my brother while playing it the other day that it would be nice if every few levels or so there was one that was a bit more relaxing, bit more of a breeze through, just to give you a bit of a break so you could zone out occasionally in the longer playing sessions and then ramp it back up again. I feel like the Mario games do that a bit.

    There’s room for games of all difficulties I think, these days generally there are too few challenging ones, as being easier is the best way to reach and satisfy a larger audience. Those games that don’t provide a challenge REALLY need to have great story, or other gameplay hook/mechanic, or something to pull me into them. Platformers – 2d or 3d – and other action games etc that’re too easy generally seem to me to be very banal and boring

  • ForeverFidelis

    I finally went back and beat the old Snes DKC yesterday. It was hard in the sense that I NEVER want to play it again. I dunno what that guy’s talking about though, ’cause the mine cart levels were piss easy. However, I’m thinking that Poison Pond took a few years off of my life.

  • Aoshi00

    OK, I just beat the first boss, the game was not easy (I might have not seen anything yet since it’s just the first world), but nothing that can’t be overcome by some determination, heck of a lot of fun. The sunset shore stage w/ the silhouette looks beautiful. The wonderful thing about platformer is the control is simple and intuitive yet they still make for complex gameplay. The waggling for Kong pounding on the ground/blowing up dandelion for items and the rolling dash weren’t that annoying, would’ve been nice if you could use buttons, but not so bad. Any fan of platformer or DK must pick up this game :)

    K, now time to try Epic Mickey (see, too many games..)..

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