Available : Europe: 10/15/2004 US: NOW

Donkey Konga Preview © Nintendo
By: Thomas Cap

One can think what they want to about Nintendo’s policies and games over the last few years but one fact always remained: fans and nonfans alike privately agreed that Nintendo is one of the few companies left that at least TRY to be innovative and go in new directions in both both gameplay and hardware design. Even when things went terribly wrong like the whole Virtual Boy “incident”, that never stopped them from trying again and their fans love them for this.

Their newest highlights proves, like other games we have seen lately that we still haven’t seen the end in controller evolution: cameras capturing our movements, microphones recording our “singing”, dancing mats, fishing rods... the list is long and always growing. One kind of controller always was pretty much unknown outside of Japan: drums. This will change shortly...

One day, DK and Diddy discover a pair of odd barrels on a deserted beach...

...and guess what, they were drums, bongos to be exact. Donkey Konga comes with a medium-size bongo controller consisting of a left and right bongo, a microphone and a start button. And now it is your turn to play some hot rhythms on them. Over 30 songs including classical music like the Hungarian Dance #5 in G Minor, more recent hits like Lady Marmalade and even some of Nintendo’s in-house hit tunes from the Super Mario and Zelda games were all rewritten to play them on your new bongos.

The “notes” you have to play scroll across the screen and you score points for (literally) hitting them or clapping your hands (hence the microphone) and over time you can unlock more songs, game-modes and levels of difficulty in this way. But tell you what: playing Donkey Konga alone is bigtime fun but the multiplayer game is the real deal!


While I didn’t get the chance to test the multiplayer mode myself at this point I witnessed several people (including several local Nintendo employees) playing against each other with up to 4 bongos connected to one Gamecube and I definitely had the impression they were having a very good time. The bongos will be available separately as well, so to have a good time with your friends you can simply stock up at your local store.


Donkey Konga without doubt qualifies as a party game but still is an enjoyable singleplayer experience. But what I’m really look forward too is the second game from Nintendo this year that will put the bongos to use: Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. This game is a jump’n’run you control with a drum. Curious are we? Well, stay tuned...