Nintendo's Problem Isn't Hardware — They Stopped Making Killer Bongo Games

Yesterday Stephen Totilo posited that Nintendo's problems stem from a lack of killer games. In today's Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter GeshGav agrees, though his idea of killer games is a little bit different.


If I'm known for anything (gaming-wise) in my circle of friends, it's that I'm a rabid fan of Donkey Konga. The GameCube series revolutionized my evenings back in 2004-5, ensuring calloused palms and strong forearms through its unique 'bongo' controller.

For those who haven't played; it's a rhythm game not unlike Guitar Hero - only played on a horizontal scrolling plane. It supports up to 4 players, and affords the opportunity to play through a varied roster of rock/pop tracks as well as tunes from Nintendo's stories past. Donkey Konga 2 continued the trend, but fell slightly short of the original's grandeur.

With Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, we saw that bongos were the DEFINITIVE method for controlling a platformer. Players would beat the left or right bongo drum to move in each direction, pounding both to jump and clapping above the bongos to attack/collect items. It was a beautiful testament to lateral thinking, marking the shift in my mindset to 'try anything once, you might like it'.

I never understood why Nintendo didn't push the bongos to their fullest. With the Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles selling in astonishing amounts - Nintendo failed to capitalize on this trend with the Wii. Despite backwards compatibility with GameCube hardware, no Donkey Konga game was released.


It's a much simpler, less intimidating affair; much more suited to the casual audience they were looking to hook at the time. They even went so far as to release a title developed for the GameCube called Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, which was a racing game originally designed to utilize the bongos - but removed the actual bongo support. AAAAAAAAAAARGH.

What I'm basically saying is - Nintendo, y'done fucked up. Now bring back those damnable bongos.


Anyone else have the love for the Bongos?

I've said Bongos a lot in this post.


About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.

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