Searching on Google for a webpage about Nintendo's promotional videos, you know what I found? Nothing. I guess that means I have the monopoly audience for a page like this.
Between 1994 and 1998, Nintendo made a total of seven promotional videos and sent them out to various people on their mailing list and NP subscriber roll. I don't know how effective they were, but there was a point where Nintendo released one every 6 months. I have five of these, the first being the true treasure--if you're going to go look for, and maybe actually pay for, old Nintendo promo videos, this is the one to get. Consider yourself uber-lucky if you got this in the mail one day:
Yes, it's the DONKEY KONG COUNTRY VIDEO. The loudest, most overhyped game of the mid-90's was about to be released.
This is the only Nintendo video that really has any historical value. Everything else they had to hype in the coming years was always something that barely made a dent in the PS1 behemoth market. But not this...this game's remembered fondly now, by many many people who never played the GBA version or saw the "TV series." And the video made to herald its coming is not all fluff--you see real behind-the-scenes junk, tips to beat it, and even surprises. In my opinion this is the best of the Nintendo tapes; however Polas insisted the best one was actually the Banjo-Kazooie tape of 1998. I asked why, he said: "Three words: Narrator Jon Lovitz." Okay, he wins...but this is the second-best one, ever.
I heard someone once complaining about how corny this was. He cited one example: "What's the password?" "Diddy!" "DIDDY?? AWESOME!!!" *man gets face in camera*
But that's as bad as it gets, actually. He must have been having a bad day or something. The host of this video, some teenager with long crimp hair and a hat, is the least annoying of any host in any Nintendo video, depending on how you feel about Jon Lovitz. He doesn't overact or overhost, and knows when to shut up and let the other guys talk. The first guy he interviews is Ken Lobb, who now works for Microsoft along with probably half the other people in this video. We're shown the Nintendo offices, and several of the workers who had involvement in the game.
Then we're taken to the game testing area, and shown...THE DKC BETA CART! We're being treated like kings here. The guy in the "Play it Loud" shirt explains that each chip in there is 4 megabits large, leading to a total of 32. For 1994, that was a shock...the biggest that had ever been was Super Metroid with 20.
Then several scenes obviously taken from the beta cart are shown. When was the last time you got 838 bananas in Snow Level 1? Too cool. There's also the obligatory "weird numbers on the screen" that most betas have. You can't see this stuff without the video, people...
There are also shots that are pure CGI! Rotating models shown in various stages of completion and a short film of DK falling down and getting back up are shown occasionally. The only other place these were ever seen were in the DKC ad. You want this video, admit it...
I forget what involvement this guy had with the game, but the important thing is where he's standing. It's not just any store, it's Nintendo's Nintendo Store, located only in their headquarters. Egad, just look at that place. I could've spent days there! It's still around, but I don't want to go there now, I want to go there THEN. Behind him is the Neo-Geo Super Nintendo Arcade Machine. I know it existed because Izzy's Pizza had one from 1993 through 1995. It had Super Mario World, F-Zero and Super Tennis, and most people already owned at least one of these at home, and wouldn't pay 25 cents for just 10 minutes with them. But I would, and did. The bare wordy screen that's flashing behind him is the one that yells at you to put in more coins for more time, posted in that Link to the Past font.
Then it was time for...HOT TIPS! They show you how to snag a very rare blue balloon and get 5 lives...they also show you how to make Donkey roll on a barrel; I could never get this to work. Maybe I should study the video and try again...
The video's final segment is the "Roundtable," where several people sit around and lie about the game. "I don't think people are prepared for the level of 3D that this game will produce." "I've played this game a hundred times and I never get bored with it; I'm always finding new things, new challenges, new tricks." It makes its final pitch after that, which is similar to the DKC commercial that ran back then....images of the game flashed with screens that say "NOT ON THIS!! NOT ON THAT!! ONLY ON SUPER NES, NO WEIRD ADD-ONS REQUIRED!!" The "no weird add-ons" was the genius part, because nobody bought those then, and they don't now. Nintendo seems to have forgotten this fact. It helped sell DKC though, really well. What a great video...and the greatness isn't over yet!
As if everything you just saw wasn't cool enough, if you kept the tape on for a minute after it went black, it faded back in to a surprise 10-second announcement of Killer Instinct for the SNES! Back then, though, it wasn't for the SNES yet, it was for the N64. The arcade version that was being completed at the time was supposed to be running on the hardware for that new system, and the arcade game touted this: "Coming in 1995, for your Nintendo Ultra 64!" So the intent here was, you were getting your first look at an N64 game. I've exhausted all possible ways to say this video rules by now, so just make up your own.
Nintendo didn't make another video for two years...then they went into an ad-tape frenzy when the N64 arrived. I promise I'm not going to gush over those as much as I gushed over this--it's impossible anyway. This part's over. Or maybe not...the video also had a little pamphlet insert, and if you want to see that too, you can. Hey, no one else has a page on these--it's up to me to provide everything.
See Side One of the DKC Pamphlet
See Side Two of the DKC Pamphlet
Move on to "Starfox 64"