Benny Kong's Pickups in 7 Months

My Nintendo Switch Pickups of the Last 7 Months

The ones that are following me on Twitter, Instagram or keeping up with the blog, may have noticed that I haven’t been that active for a good portion of the beginning of the year 2020. Or let’s be more precise: In particular in the months of March – May 2020, especially during the uncertain and difficult events that started in Asia, spread to Europe, then to the United States and soon locked up pretty much the entire world, I went a bit on radio silence. The last time I shared my pickups was in February 2020 and haven’t shown much of my new additions since. So why haven’t I talked about my pickups on a monthly basis as I usually do? Or haven’t I bought any new video games? Keep reading and find out!

Home Office, Video Games and Economy of Scarcity

To me it is honestly (and luckily) not a new situation to work from home. Over the last years, I mostly worked more days per week remotely than spending time in the office. Of course there were also occasionally working weeks with a lot of physical meetings or business trips, but in general I had the freedom to work wherever I wanted to work from. But it’s a totally new scenario when it’s a recommendation to not only work from home but to stay (the fuck) at home, only to leave the house for the absolute most urgent and most important necessities and practise social distancing. It was a scary and unknown situation, especially in March, April and May 2020!

Often my girlfriend and I got up in the early morning with the intention to buy certain goods in the supermarket or drugstore, such as packed (spelt) bread, pasta or the obvious toilet paper. We were basically lining up in front of the store around opening time, but found ourselves leaving the store empty handed again. Sometimes this happened for several days in a row. Before the real world situation was officially declared as a pandemic, we usually also did our grocery shopping online and used services such as Amazon Fresh* or local food shopping in Germany such as Rewe Online, but during these times in Spring 2020, delivery services were booked out for weeks. Most of the food delivery services even stopped accepting new clients and were only serving regular customers. After several weeks of not being able to order online due to booked out slots, we could finally place a food order again at some point. It felt a bit like normality is coming slowly back.

But not only certain goods (and services!) were scarce! Also FIAT money, like the Dollar or the Euro were scarce – what resulted in crashing markets in March 2020. All major markets, such as the equity market, precious metals, cryptocurrencies or commodities were taking significant hits and investors were panic selling. Since I’m very interested in markets in general, I dedicated a lot of time in paying close attention. So markets started to become an intensive hobby for me in Spring 2020. I used this time to educate myself further, and opened up for instance an account with Trade Republic** Europe’s mobile and commission-free broker*, to trade directly via my phone.

So all of this kept me busy! But there was also a situation with our DHL delivery driver in March 2020 that made me think: We were standing in the stairways, roughly 3 meters away from each other, waiting for his scanner to reboot, while our driver was telling me that his current workload increased tremendously:

People are ordering now basically everything online, currently I’m only managing half my route in time. 

Back in our apartment I looked at my shelf and then in my excel sheet: There were 113 physical Nintendo Switch games in my collection, the majority still sealed, and a huge backlog of games I’m very excited to play. And Animal Crossing New Horizons around the corner! So do I really need to add more games to my collection – and cause my delivery guy more work? And maybe the cause why other people don’t get an immediate order in time, just because my delivery guy dropped a new game delivery at my house? No! I decided that I did not want to be part of the problem, that I want to be happy with the games that I already have and that I wanted to limit myself to only order what really matters.

But by writing this, it’s important for me to state that everybody has different priorities and different needs:

For one, a certain Nintendo Switch game is a necessity as it serves as the perfect item for distraction purposes during these difficult times, whereas for others the same game is just a collective item in the collection, which can also be added later. And for others it’s essential to add a certain game now to the collection, as collecting is the distraction and brings the joy. So we are all different and have different needs – both gamers and collectors. My personal decision to hold back a bit with buying video games is solely based on my individual situation. And that’s mainly also why I haven’t shared that much content on Twitter in spring 2020, but still enjoyed to see others posts on new additions.  

Hardly Any Pickups in April, May and June 2020!

In April 2020, there was no single game delivered to my doorstep, while in May 2020 I added Tetris 99* (because of the included Nintendo Switch Online membership) and Super Rare GamesWorld of Goo (SteelBook version) to my collection. In June 2020 I picked up some more games, but this was just driven by the fact that I did get a huge parcel from Limited Run Games, containing 7 limited print releases that I ordered a pretty while ago: 

Talking about Orders in 2020: A Comparison to 2019

When you are collecting limited print releases, then you know that very often there is a huge time gap between pre-ordering a game and actually getting the game. The Limited Run Games that I received in June 2020, contained in fact pre-orders from November 2019 and January 2020. So with my decision in March 2020 to not hunt down every limited print release, the result (meaning less pickups) will be visible in a couple of months and will not have a direct impact on my additions (and on my delivery guy’s work!) during the pandemic started in Spring 2020. But I really tried to discipline myself and held back in general with my Nintendo Switch orders! That’s the numbers of games that I ordered the last months:

  • March 2020: 2 LRG games (I ordered Animal Crossing New Horizons in February 2020) pre-ordered
  • April 2020: 1 LRG game pre-ordered
  • May 2020: 1 SLG game pre-ordered, 1 general release (Tetris 99)
  • June 2020: 1 LRG game pre-ordered (Shantae!)

As you can see, I really limited myself with new orders in the months of March-June 2020 and only bought basically 6 games in 4 months – which is on average 1,5 games per month. In the same time frame last year, meaning in March-June 2019, I placed orders for 35 games, which averages in 8,75 games per month. So just by looking at these numbers, I can proudly say that I definitely slowed down with ordering new games! That’s a start.

However in July 2020, I placed some more orders again (8 games), which is of course also sometimes (too often!) driven by the releases from limited game companies that you simply just don’t want to miss. So in July 2020 I pre-ordered for instance the Limited Run Games’ Star Wars Episode I: Racer Classic Edition, The friends of Ringo Ishikawa or Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl Classic Edition, and I pre-ordered Untitled Goose Game*.

August 2020 was again a quiet month for me (I only ordered Chroma Squad from Super Rare Games), while also September 2020 was not that busy either: I only ordered the obvious Super Mario 3D All-Stars* release (which is also a limited print release – check my blogpost on this release here) and Tokyo School Life as well as Donut County.

Let’s look again into my ordering behavior of 2019 to better evaluate if I was really able to decrease the amount of Nintendo Switch game orders 2020: 

  • March – September 2020: In these 7 months I (pre-) ordered 19 Nintendo Switch physical games, what is equivalent to 2,71 games per month
  • March – September 2019: In these 7 months I (pre-) ordered 67 Nintendo Switch physical games, what is equivalent to a whopping 9,57 games per month

I hope these numbers above speak for themselves and show that I really changed my collecting behavior and that I limited myself with (pre-) ordering new Nintendo Switch games!

But now to the moment of truth: Which games did I add to my physical Nintendo Switch library during the last 7 months?

My Additions to the Nintendo Switch Collection between March and September 2020

Finally! After talking about plans to pick up less Nintendo Switch games, ordering numbers and lots of other things: The data we are all waiting for:

Benny Kong, what did you add to your collection between March and September 2020?

Over the last 7 months, I added 22 physical Nintendo Switch to my collection, which consists now (as of the time of writing) of 135 games.

In case you are wondering because you counted 23 games on the picture: I don’t count my duplicate Super Mario 3D All-Stars copy twice. In exceptional cases, in which I prefer to buy one physical copy to play and one copy to collect that I keep sealed, I count the game only once.

Along some pickups, the physical games came even some little goodies, such as a sticker, a keychain mini-case or a CD soundtrack, which is always a great value added:

To me, an important measurement for future decisions of buying or not buying normal retail releases is the size of the backlog and the spare time to play video games. So out of the 22 games that I picked up over the last 7 months, I only opened 4 physical games to play them: Meaning, I just played 18% of my new additions. 

I have friends that break the seal of every new game and play it briefly directly after they picked it up. On the contrary, I usually only open a game when I plan to play it for the next days/weeks. So the picture above represents my playing behavior: Usually I’m trying to 100% a game before I’m moving on and starting the next one. Hasbro Game Night* or Animal Crossing New Horizons* are exceptions here obviously, since I haven’t 100%’ed the games yet, and will certainly not do so. 

To conclude this blogpost:

In the course of the last 7 months it was important to me to slow down a bit with adding new Nintendo games to the collection. When looking at my Nintendo Switch additions at the same timeframe last year (March-September 2019), in which I picked up 55 Nintendo Switch games, I consider my plan as a success: As I only added 22 new games, I was indeed able to slow down a bit.

What about you? How many (physical) Nintendo Switch games do you add to your collection on average on a monthly basis? Do you give yourself a certain budget or do you just buy whatever you like? And also super important: Are you trying to save up some money – and even better: Invest some money in Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies), Gold, Silver and stocks? Happy to learn your strategy! 

Affiliate link: In case you haven’t bought the mentioned items yet or just you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate links for Amazon or PlayAsia would mean a world to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

** Sign-up for Trade Republic with my personal invitation link and receive 15 €: https://ref.trade.re/h03qsx7x

Donkey Kong Country SNES Nintendo Switch Online Benny Kong

Playing Donkey Kong Country via Nintendo Switch Online in 2020

The Choice of Systems

Donkey Kong Country (DKC) is one of the most meaningful games to me – as I already highlighted in my retro section of Benny Kong. I own and have played Donkey Kong Country for several Nintendo home consoles, but first fell in love with the game as many others, with the OG version for the Super Nintendo (SNES) from 1994. Consequently I also bought the digital versions for the Wii (2006) and the Wii U (2015). I was actually super excited having this fantastic game playable on (back at the time) Nintendo’s current generation of video game consoles, but something was missing:

The OG Super Nintendo Controller. It provided me not only with super-power when playing with it back in the day, no: It brings back exactly this Donkey Kong Country vibes I felt as a kid – or teenager. Plus: As of now, I consider the Super Nintendo Controller the best controller to navigate Donkey and Diddy through Donkey Kong Island. To me, playing Donkey Kong Country with the original Super Nintendo Controller is a mix between functionality and reminiscences.

Revisiting the digital versions of DKC were never that enjoyable to me, since I was missing that level of control that I usually have with the Super Nintendo Controller. So when I was in the mood for some Donkey Kong Country in the past 20 years to this point, I usually put out my Super Nintendo. As soon as the SNES Classic Mini hit the market in 2017, you could finally play DKC with the Original SNES Controller and relive the DKC vibes – and all good? Basically yes, but there was indeed something that bothered me again:

Since I don’t have a dedicated playroom (yet), from a practicability standpoint it is not the most convenient approach to have a controller cable across the living room, since the controller needs to be connected to the console – as back in the day. That’s cool, but as a kid, I was playing while sitting on my bed, close to the TV; or sitting on the carpet, directly in front of the TV. So nowadays, players like me usually play in different set ups – since the times and places of playing, have changed.

This has of course nothing to do with Donkey Kong Country necessary, but due to this set-up, the SNES Classic Mini has not made my revisit DKC at the end. For sure I could have bought a wireless 3rd party controller, such as the popular ones from 8BitDo* that are quite similar to the OG controller, but only quite.

Finally! In September 2019, Nintendo made an announcement that made many “retro bugs” like me very happy: With a Nintendo Switch Online membership you will now have access to a large collection of Super NES games. Hooray! But wait? No Donkey Kong? Exactly, to the disappointment of many, the Donkey Kong Country series was not added to the catalogue of SNES games for Nintendo Switch Online any earlier than July 2020. And we are not talking about the entire trilogy here, since at the time of writing, only the first title in the series, Donkey Kong Country, is available for Nintendo Switch Online.

Equipped with the wireless Super NES Controller that Nintendo launched in December 2019, I happily took the opportunity to join Donkey and Diddy in one of their best adventures in August 2020 – and played the game like I used too as a kid.

Donkey Kong Country and Super NES – Nintendo Switch Online Features

Donkey Kong Country is considered a hard, but fair game. But! Be prepared to eventually play passages of a level multiple times and to feel relieved when finally reaching the checkpoint (Continue Barrel) or the rewarding exit of the level. It will be necessary to time your jumps, or study certain patterns of enemies or spinning objects, such as moving platforms or Barrel Cannons. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to time the moment when the Kongs are supposed to be shot out of a Barrel Cannon over gaps or to other Barrel Cannon. Certain types of Barrel Cannons are even automatically firing the Kongs when entered.

After you timed precisely several shots out of a Barrel Cannon in a row, just to fire yourself into a Zinger and lose your last Kong! Moments like this can be annoying and the Nintendo Switch online feature “Rewind your game” can come handy to decrease these moments of frustration. I tried nevertheless to use this feature as little as possible, to keep the game as close as possible to the experience from back in the day. But for sure:

Sometimes it’s just too handy to quickly rewind the game when you were hit by this lonely Kritter waiting for you directly in front of the exit, instead of restarting the level from the Continue Barrel. On the other hand these moments are also bittersweet, as you are kind of upset with the developers of the game (back at this time: Rareware, second-party developer for Nintendo, now Rare and a studio of Xbox Game Studios) and ask yourself “Why-the-Kong” they are so mean doing this to you! But this anger usually drives you in the second try for a perfect run, just in order to show “them” (the developers) that you can do better. And by re-playing, you will usually automatically collect bananas and other valuable items to be rewarded with extra lives as a positive side-effect.

So don’t over-use this rewind feature since nowadays platformers usually are not “trolling” you that much anymore. Enjoy these R(r)are moments!

I can remember the struggle as a kid, teenager or now adult, how difficult it was sometimes to reach Candy Kong in order to save your progress in the game. In particular in later worlds, such as in Vine Valley or Kremkroc Industries Inc., mastering 3 or 4 levels in a row without the opportunity to visit Candy’s Save Point, can be a real struggle. 

As a result you saw the Game Over screen once in a while (or maybe even too often), but at some point and after sufficient enough practice (and after some cursing here and there), you finally made it to Candy. In the Nintendo Switch Online version it’s up to each gamer if they want to use Nintendo Switch Online’s “Pick up and play” feature, where you can create individual save files and jump back into the action where you left off: 

Using this feature makes playing Donkey Kong Country obviously much easier as on the original SNES version, where you had to fight hard for a save point.

Even Candy confirms that we are coming a long way!

It is also important to know that Candy’s Save Point only saves your progress and does not save lives or bananas collected. So in case you stacked up a lot of lives and resetted or switched off your SNES, you started exactly with 5 lives again. And 5 lives sometimes aren’t enough tries to get to Candy – or to use Funky Kong’s “Funky’s Flight” that allows you to travel to areas of Donkey Kong Island that you already visited, and jump in Candy’s “Save Barrel”.

Start and Select Instead of Rewind

Both Nintendo Switch Online features (rewind, pick up and play) are absolutely not unique to Donkey Kong Country, but in my opinion they do have a big influence on the gaming experience – maybe even to a bigger degree than on other games. Creating aforementioned suspend points can provide a certain level of convenience in games such as Super Soccer, where the player doesn’t have to use any passwords anymore. But this convenience aspect does not have any influence on the difficulty of the game itself, such as in DKC, or Super Mario World, where the gamer usually needs to access a save point in order to save the progress.

Paired with the rewind feature, both Nintendo Switch Online functionalities reduce potential moments of frustration and Game Over screens significantly, which makes Donkey Kong Country more accessible and enjoyable. This is great for e.g. players with less experience in platformers, but also comes handy for gamers that aren’t used to such challenging games as we had back in the day. In nowadays platformers there aren’t usually even any Game Over screens or progress lost in order to avoid frustration and also to appeal to a younger generation of players.

The rewind feature can be great for backtracking and screening the level for secret paths and bonus rooms. But when it’s about to beat the level in the first place, the feature should be used with care in my opinion, since it can break the smooth gameplay that the game provides. In my experience the player is better off when just playing a certain passage again to get into the flow, practice to time jumps or memorize patterns of enemies, or it’s recommended to press Start and Select to quickly exit and re-enter the level. This not only increases the likelihood by finally mastering the passage you had problems with, but this additional practice might also contribute to your overall DKC gaming skills. And last but not least: You will automatically collect bananas and stack up some lives, what makes the game a bit easier to beat eventually. Same applies as well for backtracking: When you smash a Barrel into a wall, hoping the fragile wall will lead into a Bonus Level, what turned out unsuccessful: Just hit Start and Select

Donkey Kong Country is a Must-Play

In case you haven’t played the Donkey Kong Country yourself yet: 

Please do so, it’s really great! In my opinion, Donkey Kong Country is one of the best games ever made. It’s absolutely worth playing in 2020 and beyond. Donkey Kong Country sold over nine million copies and became a milestone in gaming history. Highly innovative and ground-breaking graphics in 1994, as well as a never aging, fantastic and remarkable soundtrack in 2020. Without Donkey Kong Country, this blog would not be called Benny Kong. And playing it via Nintendo Switch Online, with the wireless Super NES Controller, that’s the best package. The Donkey Kong Countries series and the Super NES Controller belong together.

I truly hope that Nintendo will release Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3 at some point as well and I am also looking forward to playing these games again – on my Nintendo Switch. Preferably I’d love to have a Donkey Kong Country Trilogy HD Remaster Collection (for instance paired with Donkey Kong Country Returns) on one cartridge.

Or some more wishful thinking: Imagine there will be true remakes, that will let us enjoy the Donkey Kong Country series games in such a brilliant quality, as it is being showcased here for Donkey Kong Country 2:

But until we get there, I’m happy to have these remarkable games accessible via Nintendo Switch Online.  And it seemed as Big N has read my thoughts: Basically in the midst of publishing this article, Nintendo announced that the direct sequel to Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2 – Diddy’s Kong Quest, will be added to the Super Nintendo – Nintendo Switch Online library, September 23, 2020. That’s fantastic news!

Please stay tuned – I am not done with my Donkey Kong Country coverage: In of my next blog posts I’ll be taking you on my journey through Donkey Kong Island, going for all 101% that you can find in the game.

What are you thoughts on Donkey Kong Country – and maybe in particular playing it via Nintendo Switch Online? Which Donkey Kong Country game is your favorite in the series? Let me know in the comments section!

* Affiliate link: In case you intent to purchase any items mentioned in the article or just you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate link for Amazon would mean the world to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!