SGB - Going Bananas

SGB - Going Bananas

Scified2017-09-14 06:56:56http://www.scified.com/articles/sgb---going-bananas-49.jpg
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Back in the 90's, when I was a teenager (yes I'm that old) I used to buy a video game magazine every month called CVG - Computer & Video Games. Now no longer in publication, it was and still remains the longest running video games magazine in history (1981-2004 as a magazine, 1999-2015 as a website). During the mid-nineties CVG used to include a pull section printed on yellow paper called Free-Play, which featured fan art, letters, game guides and, among other sections, a two page spread called Melting Pot. Within this section, ideas for video games sent in by readers were printed. As is to be expected most suggestions were either terrible, unattainable, or unimaginative, but occasionally a reader would suggest an idea for a video game that, in print at least, sounded promising.

One such promising idea, the author of which escapes me, was called Monkey Goes Bananas. This game bore no relation to the game of the same name that can be found on Scratch. The author's inspiration for his game came from a psychological test performed by Wolfgang Kohler, whereupon bananas were tied to a tree branch within a chimpanzee enclosure, with some boxes and sticks left close by. The chimps, exhibiting creativity, stacked the boxes on top of each other and fashioned the sticks into a longer tool that allowed them to knock down the bananas which could not have reached otherwise. The video game suggestion in CVG's Melting Pot used this test as the foundation for a game in which monkey characters controlled by the player, who would use items within a level to ultimately allow them access to some bananas.

At that particular time, I was a fan of Donkey Kong Country (developed by Rareware, pictured above) on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES (or the Super Famicom, for those outside of Europe), and inevitably my overactive brain envisioned the following scenario - With the same graphics as Donkey Kong Country, the player controls Donkey Kong, initially. Above the trees is a bunch of bananas hanging from a piece of rope. To the right of the screen is the other end of the rope, secured around a rock that is too heavy to move. To the left of the screen is a small outcrop that allows Donkey Kong up onto the trees, but the bananas are out of reach for a jump. On the ground are a TNT barrel and a suspicious patch of dirt. The player, ignoring the patch of dirt picks up the TNT barrel and places it next to the rock with the rope around it. The fuse on the TNT Barrel ignites and shortly thereafter the barrel, thus setting fire to the rope which snaps, dropping the bananas onto the tree tops. Donkey Kong, using the outcrop jumps atop the trees only to discover the bananas have bruised. The player restarts the level, somewhat disheartened and notices the patch of dirt. Ground slapping the dirt, the player is rewarded with a rubber tire. Carrying it the player places it beneath the bananas atop the trees and attempts to jump up, but alas the bananas are still out of reach. In frustration, the play jumps back down and throws the TNT at the rock (with the rope). The TNT explodes, rope sets alight, snaps and then drops the bananas, which land softly and unbruised onto the rubber tire. Jumping back up the player collects the bunch of bananas, completes the level and moves onto the next.

I imagined the title of Donkey Kong Goes Bananas, with a simple plot premise that King K.Rool had again stolen DK's bananas, but had this time left them behind in deviously inventive and increasingly complex puzzles and mechanism which would need the whole of the Kong family to rescue safely. I imagined additional characters (Diddy and the gang) and animal mounts (such as Rambi the Rhino) could be rescued in place of the bananas on certain boss levels, where the puzzle/mechanism would systematically hurt an oversized enemy guard, with special items to be used in mechanisms available to be purchased using the bananas rescued from Cranky. I even pondered a multiplayer mode where players could compete or collaborate through specifically designed multiplayer variants of the game's levels.

I imagine if this game was to be made today that it would instead use 3D graphics, but still be played on a two-dimensional plane, much like Donkey Kong Country Returns (pictured above) for the Wii. Although system wise I imagine Donkey Goes Bananas would be better suited on the Nintendo DS. Yet I would suggest designing the game around, and including the full lineup of the Kong family (Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, Kiddy, Lanky, Chunky, Tiny, Cranky, Candy, Funky, Swanky etc.) with most being playable, leaving the more obscure ones as NPC's.

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