Five Things We Learned From Diddy Kong Racing

By Aaron Matteson in Five Things, Humor, Lists!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am


Diddy Kong Racing -- adding some kooky spice to the racing game genre.

What comes to your mind when you think of zany video game characters all racing against each other on obstacle-filled courses with bananas playing a prominent role in the proceedings? Mario Kart, naturally. Mario Kart, in terms of wildly unrealistic, mischievous competitive racing featuring your favorite video game characters, reigns pretty damn supreme.

But according to our good, infallible friend Wikipedia, there is another goofy, cartoony racing game on the top ten list of all-time best-selling titles for the Nintendo 64, one that may not come to mind immediately but features many of the elements of Mario Kart. And, we dare say, even more.

That game, of course, is Ocarina of Speed: Zelda Go-Kartz.

Just kidding. Though that would be awesome. The game is Diddy Kong Racing.

Diddy Kong Racing takes the franchise racing formula and turns it up a notch. There are hovercrafts, nerdy turtles, and an evil mystical pig from space. And that's to say nothing of the vaguely far-East elephant genie handing out golden balloons. We learned so much from this extra notch's-worth of content that our young minds couldn't really make sense of it all.

1.) Choice of transportation is a plus.



Taj the Genie doesn't expect you to get out of your car to talk to him.


The economy of Timber's Island, where the game takes place, is primarily based on the transportation industries. You are in a car, plane, or hovercraft for the entirety of the game -- even when you're just wandering the island or shooting the shit with Taj the Genie, you are always in some kind of vehicle.

Though all the characters of Diddy Kong Racing are clearly in grave danger of deep vein thrombosis because they never actually stand up and take a stretch, it's still a pretty cool situation to be in -- unlike those Mario Kart schmucks for whom everything is a road trip, Diddy and pals can hop into a plane or hovercraft and travel in style.


2.) Some products have to do a certain thing or they aren't worth the trouble.



It's nice, but... can it barrel roll?

First, a question: would you buy a Snuggie without sleeves?

It's a rhetorical question. Of course you wouldn't. The consumer base for Snuggies is incredibly quick-witted. They understand that the sleeves are what they're paying all that dough for. Without sleeves the Snuggie is just some kind of giant body-warming swath of fabric. Sounds dumb.

And thus we come to the plane in DKR. The plane is cool to have. It's a nice addition. But it's got to have one feature we've come to expect from aerial vehicles in video games. It's got to be able to barrel roll.

No matter that the barrel roll is virtually useless in racing! If there was no barrel rolling, why would I want a plane in the first place? Every time I ride on a commercial airliner, you think it's because I want to get somewhere far away quickly? Please. It's because every time I'm praying that this time, this time, maybe, the captain's going to flip out and do a barrel roll.


3.) New friends are fun.



Uh, hi! I'm sorry, who are you?


One question you may ask yourself while starting to play Diddy Kong Racing is: "Who are these things?"

Well, you know Diddy Kong! He's probably why you bought the game. And then there's Banjo, you may know him, he's -- with the bird, in the backpack. And we've got... let's see, there's that squirrel, he's not yet widely known, but trust me, he's crazy! Don't get him near a bottle of Jack, it gets ugly! And then... over there, that's just like an anthropomorphized clock.

Look, you may not know who all these characters are. But they're all ridiculous and goofy, and it's kind of refreshing to have such a huge group that's made up of mostly fresh faces.


4.) There are certain ingredients that do not mix well in a person.



Wizpig combines the worst qualities in humankind with the aesthetical unpleasantness of a giant wizard pig.


There was a study released recently that people with mildly sociopathic tendencies (key word here is "mildly") actually make better leaders, because they're more willing to make bold choices when many of us would prefer to play it safe. Sometimes a strange mix of traits can unexpectedly produce a great person.

But the same can happen in reverse. The wrong mix of prejudices and personal inclinations can have horrible consequences.

Diddy Kong Racing teaches us that the combination of pig, magic, outer space and virulent hatred of worms results in a huge, huge, huge douche.


5.) Public art is important.



Tiptup is disconcerted by this turn of events.


You always seem cooler if you're standing in front of a statue of yourself. Even if you're already pretty cool.

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