Hélène's Jungian Archetypes on Donkey Kong 64

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Hélène's Jungian Archetypes on Donkey Kong 64

Post  helene.hbd on Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:16 pm

Plot Summary

In Donkey Kong 64, the evil lizard King K. Rool tries to destory Donkey Kong’s island (DK Isle) with the Blast-O-Matic, a huge laser attached to K. Rool’s mobile island fortress. When this fortress crashes however, the Blast-O- Matic malfunctions and the fortress is stopped dead in it’s tracks.
To buy some time, King K. Rool captures and locks up Donkey’s 4 sibling: Tiny, Diddy, Lanky, and Chunky. He also steals 200 precious golden bananas from the ape’s island. With the help of some friends, Donkey Kong sets off to rescue his sibling and together they begin to recover the golden bananas. Along the way, they must rescue other friends, collect different types of items, and enter new worlds.
Ultimately, the Kongs must defeat K. Rool and his army of evil minions once and for all as well as deactivate the lizard king’s laser.

Character Archetypes

The Hero

Anyone who has played Donkey Kong 64 will agree that the Hero of the game is Donkey Kong himself. Donkey is the protagonist of the story. He is the saviour and it is he who must embark on the journey to save his family and his kingdom for the evil clutches of King K. Rool.
Though there are not many similarities between the traditional Hero figure and Donkey Kong’s character, they do have a few things in common.

When the game begins, Donkey is already an adult. The player never finds out about his childhood. This is not unlike traditional Hero figures whose childhoods are most often mysteries.

Like traditional heroes, Donkey sets off on a journey and must fufill both a quest and a task. He also posesses magic weapons. Finally, K. Rool’s attempt at killing Donkey (by destroying the Island on which he lives) is further proof that Donkey is the Hero of the game.

Symbolic Archetypes

Light Vs. Darkness

The archetype of Light. Vs. Dark is often used in Donkey Kong 64. When Donkey is on his own Island, the weather is always beautiful and the sun is always out. Yet as soon as he leaves his home and begins to approach King K. Rool’s mobile island, it starts to rain and the sky darkens.
In this case, Light suggests safety and hope. The Darkness occurs when Donkey leaves the safety of his home and enters the unknown. At the same time, this Darkness probably symbolizes the despair and unhappiness that K. Rool brings to Donkey’s world.

Situational Archetypes

Nature Vs. Mechanistic world

When it comes to finding situational archetypes in Donkey Kong 64, the possibilities are almost endless. Nonetheless, the Nature Vs. Mechanistic world archetype remains one of the most interesting. When playing this DK64, one cannot help but notice that throughout the game, nature is always good while technology is most often portrayed as evil.
The protagonists of this video game are all apes living on an Island. Donkey lives in a one room tree house covered in banana peels. His only piece of technology is a boom box. DK Isle is a paradise, covered in palm trees, water falls, and white sand. There is nothing on this island but quiet, nature, and a few animals.
On the other hand, we have King K. Rool’s fortress. This island is made of metal and steel. Everything on it is grey. Inside this fortress is a factory filled with machines, loud banging, and more steel and metal.
Still, the setting is not the only proof of this archetype. Another example of Nature Vs. Mechanistic world can be seen in the characters’ weapon choices. The heroes of the story all use “natura” looking weapons. For example, Donkey Kong uses a tree branch gun to shoot almonds at K. Rool’s evil servants. Chunky Kong shoots pineapples and Diddy shoots peanuts. King K. Rool is more “mechanical” in his weapon choice. He uses high-tech computers to operate his industrial-looking laser machine.

Hélène Bigras-Dutrisac Smile


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Response to Hélène's Analysis of Donkey Kong 64

Post  betsypelletier on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:33 am

Each of the Kongs have their own special instruments. They are all specific to each character and can not be wielded by anyone else. Therefore, these instruments serve as magic weapons to the Kongs.


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:48 pm

Helene (sorry about the missing accents...how did you get those?) - a good (and fun) analysis. It is especially timely because my children and I are obsessed with the new Donkey Kong for the Wii Smile I especially liked your analysis of Nature vs. Mechanistic, because in the Wii version that doesn't seem to be the case. You mentioned a quest and a task in the Hero section - could you elaborate? Would the quest be to free his family and the task (or several tasks) be the various levels he needs to complete? For the Wii version, there are 8 themed "worlds" on the island. In each world, there are a number of "levels" that Donkey Kong must get through to finally reach the Boss of the World. Once he defeats the Boss for that World, he is allowed to progress to the next World. Of course, the Boss for the 8th World is THE Boss for the game. Once that Boss is defeated the game is complete. However, there is also a secret 9th World. This world can only be explored by obtaining the four letters of Donkey's last name (K-O-N-G) in EACH level of every World. Therefore there are actually two quests: 1. To defeat the Big Boss of World 8 (who is trying to steal all the bananas) and 2. Gain access to the secret 9th World known as the Golden Temple. (Isn't it interesting that the ultimate Quest is to gain access to a Golden Temple? Which of course is symbolic of a Golden Era...a Garden of Eden...a Perfect Home) Is there a double Quest for DK64?

Betsy - great observation about the magical weapons for each of the Kongs
Mr. C

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