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Donkey Kong:
Breaking Barrels At Breakfast.

Matt - 6.20.01

Quick notes - some great e-mail lately, despite my now trademark updating lapses...thanks for the feedback. And a special hello to the Aussie readers out there...I'm not sure why exactly, but for some reason X-E's got a big chunk of visitors from the land Down Under. I get more mail from Australia than Paul Hogan and Nicole Kidman combined. Now, for those who've e-mailed wondering where the updates are, you can write that off on the count of two things: the shattered state of net ads forcing those of us who're gonna remain regardless to shift our lifestyle a bit, and secondly, my own selfish personal wants and needs that take us far away from the land of the Internet. In other words, I've been trapped inside a fun house over in NJ.

That said, the endless countdown to my moving date is nearing a close, so by July 5th or so, I'll be able to write a lot more regularly again. I'll be broke - but writing. Like Louis Gosset Jr., only whiter. I've also got one or two people lined up to start doing some articles for us soon. My mother and Roy Orbison. Your immense concern and understanding is appreciated, but don't worry, I won't have a reason to close the site at least until Gamecube comes out, because most of my time then will be spent making Pikachu beat the shit out of Kirby in Smash Brothers Melee. Speaking of Smash Bros., today's article features one of the stars of that very game. Of course, he's the second most useless character in the game, but he's got forlorn mites and fun corn cereal, so here's his 15 minutes of fame.

Donkey Kong. The Simian Artistry of a monkey who kidnaps ugly girls and halts their rescue by hurling huge barrels has amazed the world for decades. My first experience with the great ape came by way of our family's Atari 2600 system - where my first encounter with video games took place. Now, for the Atari, Donkey Kong was a perfect game. Very simple - red brick floors, barrels, hammer, big ape, bonus points. It worked out great because Atari graphics were so brutal that 94% of the carts caused blindness and a heaving amount of personal frustration. Donkey Kong may have looked like some weird brown dancing skull with two faces, but everyone could read between the lines: he was all monkey.

Later in life the Kongmeister broadened his horizons with Donkey Kong III, where your primary goal consisted of spraying insecticide up an ape's ass. My personal favorite. I had that on one of those old handheld game systems, you know - back in the days where they really sucked - and I can best describe the experience as trying to make a small dot shoot really small dots at a medium sized dot. To compensate, they printed big green plastic palm trees under the game screen, nulling your success rate on half the rounds because it's impossible to know when a bee's gonna bite Mario's ass when they're both hiding behind exotic plants.

But that brings up an interesting point - what about Donkey Kong II? We only hear about the original and the third. Either the second one really bombed, or the boys responsible for the beast didn't think anyone'd notice if they just skipped a number or two. My theory? Donkey Kong III means Donkey Kong the third. Monkeys don't life forever. This is just the third ape from the family lineage to take up a career in annoying hairy wop plumbers.

All we can really do is wonder what went on in that second game.

Donkey Kong Jr., I know. Nevertheless, he's been a staple in our lives for a real long time. Is there not a person out there who hasn't had at least one debate with someone trying to determine whether or not the ape was part donkey? And what about Mario? Where would he be now if he didn't have a monkey to play off on while he was still building his schtick? We owe this chimp a lot - and I think we've given it to him, since the big goof's had games on (I think) every Nintendo system available to date...not to mention television shows, action figures, themed fruit roll-up snacks, and one surreal sight of a girlfriend: an ape with flowing blonde hair and big bouncy tits. DK's done it all - and today's his day. To celebrate, we take a trip back in time to....uhh...I dunno, let's say 1985. Could be anywhere within 5 years to the left or right of that, but somehow I doubt many of you care - or even made it this far. Personally, I would've given up on this one after the Zelda joke, but that's just out of a personal bias towards Zelda parodies that don't include the traitorous 'it's a damn secret!' goblin. Matter of preference, nothing more.

So yeah, trip back in time, 1985. Marty was off with Doc feeling up his dirty mother, and Donkey Kong was about to break new ground - something new for video game superstars. Donkey Kong was an unparalleled master of the pixel screen...but how'd he fare on the far more challenging front of....the breakfast table....

I can't believe it either.

Donkey Kong Cereal. Don't be amazed about it - that's not what's shocking. There's been a lot of strange cereals - we've taken a look at a great many of 'em in our archives. It's nothing new to us. If it's not a Leprechaun keeping the kids' perennial attention by shifting the color of his marshmallows every few months, it's a rabbit in some bizarre parallel universe where the law strictly decrees that no rabbit can eat cereal. So Donkey Kong having his own cereal ain't that weird. What is weird is their chosen route of advertising - my ultimate favorite nuance. I live for this shit, I really do. Watching these old commercials is sort of like taking a psychology class and a marketing class all rolled into one. I dropped out of the universities twice, so I'll take the schooling wherever I can find it. Junior Jumbles, pro-wrestling parody sites, cereal commercials, you name it. I'm there with a pen.

Now lemme explain - there's three types of advertising. The first type is 'minimalist' - those are the commercials that show you very little about what they're trying to sell you on. They give you just enough information to want more - and not enough to give you any other option but to try 'em out. The second type of advertising is 'exaggerative craziness mega ploys'. That's where they accentuate the good points of the chosen article to magnanimous degrees. Like when you see a Jolly Rancher commercial with a bunch of kids drowning in a sea of chilled water and fresh fruit. Exaggerative and effective. The third type is called 'What the Hell did I just see?'. That's the Donkey Kong Cereal commercial. So strange and so odd and so incomprehensible that you feel like if you don't buy the stuff, it's only because you didn't 'get it,' and thus are really stupid. So you buy the cereal just to prove that you understood the commercial. The plot worked wonders, as I'm about to show you.

The pic above is just a still frame. It probably doesn't do much for you. You can't really tell how strange this all just have a hunch. I've illustrated my predicted reaction by you the readers down below...

Now, when I animate the sequence to show you that the damn box is jumping up and down like it has to take a piss and remind you that while this is going on, crazy music is playing in the backgrounds....well then I'd picture your reactions something more along the lines of this:

And that, friends, is the key to good marketing. Shock them into submission. It's for that very reason that I've made every picture in this article a clickable link to a large picture of different types of frogs. I'm shocking you into believing this is a worthwhile slice of literature. If nothing else, you'll never forget Donkey Kong Cereal - the breakfast that helped you segue into visual knowledge of the poison dart frog. Now, back to the show.

DK Cereal is extra special because it comes from a time when kids would still eat standard fare crunchy corn meal crap, no matter how bad it tasted or how many times the rough exterior ruined the top of their mouths for a week. No colorful marshmallows or wild blue-colored zebra nut clusters here. It's all natural, relatively speaking. The cereal, for lack of a better term, looked like a bunch of yellow rocks. There was a vague attempt to make the corn shapes look like monkeys, but since we were still working with primitive video game graphics back then, I guess no one saw the point in making the cereal look any more like a monkey than the game did. They also made eating the stuff seem like more fun than a day spent rummaging through a transsexual hooker's secret diary.

The photos above answer two of our most burning questions: no, that's definitely not the same princess from Super Mario Bros., and yes, kids back then were definitely retards. Fuck all these people who grew up in the 50s and complain about the youth today, citing how all they got to do for fun was play jacks and stickball. Look at these 80s kids. If they're that excited over eating cereal, could you imagine what they'd be like if they were playing jacks? These were simpler times, and obviously simpler people. We shouldn't poke fun at these two though - I'm wagering that the death-to-life ratio of child actors who only made it as far as cereal commercials ranks in at 852-to-1, so making jokes about these kids' faces would just be crude and disrespectful.

Though I will give props to them for trying to keep up a popular myth in television kitchens: that being people actually go through the trouble of pouring themselves a glass of milk and a glass of orange juice. Nobody does that! The only way they could pull this off in convincing fashion is if they replace the orange juice with tomato juice - far too vegetably to be considered refreshing on it's own. As it stands now, these kids are just drunk with the power that comes with an unmoderated kitchen. Pretty soon they'll be eating steak and fish at the same time. And you're not supposed to go all Surf n' Turf till you're old enough to get in on all the free cocktail offers it usually comes with.

Eh fuck it - let's talk about these kids. Before I got the crazy idea that some of you may want to learn about game-themed breakfast cereals, I was going to write a (hopefully) humorous diatribe posting reasons about why Hell can't possibly exist. My main points were pretty obvious - all the usual religion gibberish and several references to dinosaurs. I also theorized that if Hell exists, it'd mean that Satan watched prehistoric man create fire for the first time on a video monitor, proclaim his adoration over the new stuff and change Hell's original motif of a big room full of pesky mosquitos to torture everyone with. I had all sorts of reasons lined up - but you'll never see that article here on the site. I no longer believe that Hell is a figment of the faithful's imagination. I know it's real. Know why? These kids:

They say that time is a constant loop - it repeats itself, again and again, for all of eternity. If that's true, the people up there watching over us have seen the same stupid shit 70 trillion times. Now, I'm convinced that if the gods saw these two bumbling idiot kids that many times - they would've personally seen to it that Hell was created so they could extract some form of vicarious revenge. Like you wouldn't do the same thing. See those kids? What kind of emotion are they trying to convey? That's an answer easily narrowed down when you eliminate the emotions that don't personally offend you by sight alone. The little boy's giving this crazy sort-of 'oh! you got me!' look, as if someone planted those little cartoon characters in the cereal box just to play a prank on him. He's also got these scary canine teeth that seem to be the exact mold for the porcelain vampire fangs sold at Hot Topic stores across the globe. So they've got this kid with vampire fangs and no sense of reality, and they cast him in a role where his job is to just look excited over cereal. The little boy succeeded and went far beyond - this cereal has turned him into a rabid animal who reacts to the little Donkey Kong shaped oats in the same way one would react to hearing a conversation between George Carlin and a Jehova. You'd swear that the cereal is telepathically telling the little kid punchline after punchline.

The little girl is a different story.

Her look is a literal manifestation of man's worst fear: kids faced with demonic possession. I don't know what grand scheme she's plotting - or who's the next to meet human ritualistic sacrifice by her dainty but deadly hand. I don't know what kind of hypnotic powers Donkey Kong Cereal holds. However, I do know that those are probably the longest bangs I've ever seen on a chick.

Donkey Kong, concerned that the buying public won't believe round corn puffs have anything to do with him, uses his quick thinking monkey techniques to hatch a brilliant makeshift plan: the corn puffs are barrels. Because if there's anything Donkey Kong's synonymous with, it's barrels. The commercial drives the point home with a slogan that obviously took weeks to perfect: 'barrels of fun for breakfast.'

So there you have it - a cereal for Donkey Kong. In relative terms, this is a magnum opus along the lines of a b-ball player getting his own line of footwear, or a crusty old Italian grandmother with sage advice a'plenty getting her own cookbook. Kong's made the big time. Worship the Kong.

Check out the commercial in .rm format by clicking here. Only 300 KB, with a really stupid song included.

- Matt
Dr Doom.
AIM: xecharchar

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