Monday, November 12, 2012

Mysteries of Modern Media: The Yellow Dinosaur

Diddy Kong Racing is known as one of the greatest kart racers ever created. Released on the N64 by the enigmatic RareWare, Diddy Kong Racing starred Donkey Kong's nimble nephew in the far superior spiritual successor to Mario Kart 64. Sharing traits with almost every other RareWare title of the N64 era, Diddy Kong Racing was full of wit, charm, and inexplicable oddities. The most obvious of these is a large, yellow tyrannosaurus rex which appears exclusively in the intro video racing Bumper the Badger on Fossil Canyon, the second track of the game.

No explanation was ever given for this character. No interviews, no in-game explanation, nothing in an instruction manual. It's almost like he shouldn't be there. Even more interesting is that while Fossil Canyon is an average racetrack, this appears to be some kind of boss race. Maybe it's a beta boss that was cut prior to the game's release? This is possible, considering the nature of Diddy Kong Racing, which I'm going to explain to you right now!

While Diddy Kong Racing is arguably the greatest racing game ever created, its sole purpose was as a marketing tool for RareWare's future titles. Diddy Kong was chosen to advertise both the SNES Donkey Kong Country trilogy and the upcoming Donkey Kong 64, Banjo appeared to advertise Banjo-Kazooie, and Conker the Squirrel appeared to advertise his games Conker's Pocket Tales and Conker's Quest, which later became the infamous Conker's Bad Fur Day.

What am I getting at here? Well, the first boss of the game rules over an area known as Dino Domain, which is where Fossil Canyon can be found. Just who is the boss? A triceratops who goes by the name of Tricky. Now, that should start ringing some bells for people familiar with Rare's history.

Arguably the worst part of Rare's history if you have no soul.
So could The Yellow Dinosaur have been intended as the actual leader of Dino Domain, but was axed to make way for yet more subliminal advertising? Were there plans to include a boss race for every single track in the game? It's unfortunate to admit, but the world will never know.