Donkey Kong Country (DKC) was released on November 21, 1994 for the Super Nintendo system. I bought it the week it was released and was absolutely enthralled.
One level in particular, “Snow Barrel Blast” still stands out in my mind as perhaps the perfect combination of beautiful graphics, fabulous level design, spot-on gameplay, and rich, atmospheric music.
Here is a YouTube video of the level being played:
The level begins with a beautiful snowy landscape on a clear day. The weather slowly evolves into a full-blown snow storm.
The music develops as well. The swirling, harp-like arpeggios are almost haunting, and there’s this “you’ve gotta be kidding me” like feeling that hits you as the snow falls faster and faster.
In a word, I can only describe it as incredible.
I’ve never forgotten that moment.
The lesson was clear. If you’re going to make an incredible game, the key elements have to come together.
It Starts With A Look
I’ve been struggling with the look of our next app. The graphics for our next game have to be strong, and stunning. I worked very hard to create beautiful graphics for Spirit Story Box (SSB). There were several directions I could have taken that weren’t the right choices, and Jill pointed them out, and I was wise enough to recognize her design sense and input.
This design has gone through more iterations than SSB. The focus of the game has totally changed. Graphics, which were strong to begin with, have evolved into even stronger, contemporary graphics.
The challenge, for me, was to take a concept that is gaining a lot of attention, and make it better. It’s not enough that our app is as good as other app designs; it has to be better. My hope is that it will be 10 times better, but it at least has to be noticeably better.
I feel like I’m on the right track, and everything is coming together. I keep pushing to make our graphics better and better, but it’s time to press them into service.
Now it’s on to gameplay.