Get the collectathon on like Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong 64 (1999)

When you’re part of the squeezed middle like me, you’ll know all about not having enough money to buy a house, though you’ll probably have plenty of disposable income otherwise. You could save your hard-earned cash towards property prices, but why bother? They only ever go up, so you have already lost that battle.

You’re not gonna keep up with it. So why not spend your money building a collection of something instead? With any luck, you might be able to sell your completed collection for top dollar in twenty years’ time, which is conveniently around the time you’ll finally be able to buy that house.

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Fuss from the bus, pain from the train… Public transport? It’s a load of monkey business

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble (1996)

Life without a car suits a recluse like me down to the ground, you know, but it is quickly getting impractical. I never much liked driving anyway – even though the car I was driving was worth precisely nothing, naught, nada, I still felt I was only ever seconds or metres away from a cash that would have bankrupted me, or at least made the insurers laugh at me down the phone like when Patrick Bateman tries to book Dorsia.

Actually, it wasn’t just the money, or even the aggravation associated with trying to swap insurance details with a not-particularly-law-abiding chap twice my size. No, if I’d gotten into a wreck with that car, it would have opened up like a tin of beans. From that day forward, I would become half-metal, half-man, or more accurately I’d need a coffin shaped like a swastika to be able to fit inside.

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Platforming in the shape of a lovely coconut cream-pie

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (1995)

Look, I know perfectly well why we don’t see any cartoons based on video games anymore; because they’re nearly always terrible. I’d say some of the early 90s Mario cartoons were exceptions, but after that, what have you got? A Zelda that gave Link a voice, which wouldn’t have been a disaster if his voice wasn’t the type you overhear in McDonald’s that makes you start grinding your teeth in rage. A Kirby anime and an F-Zero anime that had about 50 quid an episode behind them, and if you were one of those freaks who preferred dubbed to subbed then you were out of luck.

A Street Fighter cartoon with some hilarious animation and drawing, although the famous M. Bison “Yes, yes!” scene was top-drawer. A Battletoads pilot that never got off the ground. Are any one of these unmissable yet? Perfectly memeable of course, but don’t you watch cartoons for the intricate plot and deep characterisation? What do you mean, you only watch it for the swimsuit episodes…?

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Another rumble in the concrete jungle with this bad monkey wasn’t part of the plan

Donkey Kong (1994)

I’m gonna come right out and say it: planning is for losers. You can try and plan out every aspect of your life and meticulously try to follow it, but what is it all worth? Any plan has to be realistic and measurable, and that’s where things become depressing. Get married at age 25, kids at age 30, divorced by age 40, first suicide attempt age 45, incontinent by age 60. Good luck trying to plan against all that.

It’s also a well known fact that the best holidays, trips and nights out are spontaneous, unplanned. If you start planning these things, you’ll just fall into the mundane, the safe bets. Leave it all up to chance and that’s when things get interesting.

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Those very early NES games… they’re not ones you get the bug for

Donkey Kong 3 (1983)

Bugs, bugs, bugs… I’m telling you, they’re everywhere. It might even be that my house is bugged with listening devices – actually, I already know it is, I’m typing this on my phone right now. But I’m not talking about electronics here – I’m on about our constant struggle to keep human supremacy over our fellow partaker in earth’s space: insects.

It’s obviously difficult for even the most ennui-affected, do-nothing professor to actually verify this, but we understand that there are 200 million insects for every single person on earth. Are you serious?! My calculator breaks when I try to multiply 200 million by 7 billion. Well, strictly speaking that’s not true, but it starts giving me the letter “e” instead which obviously stands for error. But I think we can surmise that, if those insects ever did put all their differences aside, banded together and took us on… well, I’m plenty tough, but I ain’t tough enough to take on 200 million in a row, am I?

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He’s the rotten apple of the nasty Kong’s eye

Donkey Kong Jr. (1982)

I know it’s coming, by God, I know it’s coming. I’m like the gorilla in that Dairy Milk ad, sitting and waiting on the drum-kit as Phil Collins lilts through the air, before everything comes crashing down. I’m talking about the biological clock of course, and how madly it begins to tick. It’s not my own clock, of course, my tadpoles are good for life. But the missus you see, the bells toll for her. She tells me now, “no kids”, “I like being able to hand them back” and all that game.

Don’t listen to all that, this is all just designed to trap young bucks like you and I into settling down. Then, before you know it, you’re changing nappies because you’re a “modern man”. Then you’re losing an absolute fortune. Then, you’re almost as much of a disappointment to your unruly child as they are to you. God, they might even bring the police home, or worse, someone who supports your favourite team’s biggest rivals. 

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Beating the lockdown drum until there’s no more air in it

Donkey Konga (2004)

Looking back on a miserable 2020, I have to say it’s pretty impressive that my family and I were in lockdown for several months now and we never ended up killing each other. Now, I didn’t have it as bad as others; there were four of us living in the house and we all generally kept to ourselves anyway, until hostile lunchtimes and dinnertimes of course.

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