‘For most of its history, Rare was the singular vision of two brothers driven by their love of games and need for success. They brought a new philosophy to both game design and production, setting records that are likely to stand for decades to come, and achieved rockstar status while shunning the limelight completely. And on the way, they produced some of the seminal titles in video game history.
‘In Leicestershire, England, brothers Tim and Chris Stamper founded Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd in 1982. They’d spent years programming dozens of arcade games while working for others; now they wanted to work for themselves, making and owning their own titles in the home market under the moniker Ultimate Play the Game. A rabid fanbase formed around the Ultimate brand, made even more rabid by the Stampers’ apparent seclusion. The brothers attended no conferences, seldom gave interviews, and came off as universally media shy. While the Stampers weren’t exactly eager to step into the public spotlight, they also didn’t really have the time. They were renowned for working eighteen hour days, seven days a week, only knocking off between the hours of 2:00-8:00 a.m. Their philosophy was that a part-time employee resulted in a part-time game.
‘In 1985, the Stampers took a few software samples to Kyoto, Japan, and presented them to Nintendo executives as proof of what they could bring to the table. No Western company had ever attempted anything like it. Nintendo responded by doing something equally unique, giving the Stampers an unlimited budget to produce as many games a year as they liked, effectively bypassing quality assurance limitations imposed on other third party companies. They named the new company Rare.
‘Rare produced around sixty games for the NES and Game Boy in just five years, along with a handful of product for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear — more than one complete, functioning, commercial game every month. They’d learned how to push the hardware as far as it could go, and a few tricks to edge it a little further than that. In the few interviews they granted, Tim and Chris Stamper came across as quiet, unassuming Englishmen, but the pace they maintained and the demands they set could grate at closer range. By the N64 years, their tiny company had grown from the low teens to several hundred, but the Stampers kept their hands firmly in every project, and that management style didn’t sit well with everyone.
‘As early as 2000, Microsoft began making overtures to have the Stampers come make games for their still-under-wraps console. In September 2002, the same month Star Fox Adventures hit stores, they made it official. The Stampers and Nintendo both sold their stakes for a combined $377 million, all the various franchise rights were untangled amicably, and Rare — once again the official company name — became a first party developer for the Xbox. Donkey Kong Racing, an unfinished semi-sequel to Diddy’s earlier racer, fell into oblivion. The only two games Rare delivered for Microsoft’s big black box were Grabbed by the Ghoulies, the biggest flop in Rare’s history, and Conker: Live and Reloaded, a remastered, more heavily censored port of their great game Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a critical and popular flop.
‘On January 2, 2007, Tim and Chris Stamper announced they were leaving the company they’d founded twenty-five years earlier. No reason was given, other than the standard “to pursue other interests.” Thus far, there’s been no indication what the Stamper brothers’ “other interests” are or will be. The legacy surrounding Rare may seem mixed, but there’s no denying the Stampers and their company have left an impressive catalogue of games in their wake. It’s unrealistic to expect every one to achieve greatness, but an amazing number of them did. A few are directly responsible for turning the entire industry to a new direction.’ — EGM
The History of Rare (Full)
Rare: The Nintendo Gamecube Story – A Mini-documentary
Sixty Four – A Rare Journey ( RareWare Documentary)
Corbs: Let’s face it, Rare haven’t been Rare in a long time. They’ve become just another generic 2nd party developer and a shell of their former selves.
YoshiSage: Rare has gone from a source of classics to just another soulless game developer since the fatal moment in 2002, when they were bought by Microsoft. Adding further proof to Rare’s newfound stupidity, they’re too thick to see that Microsoft murdered them. The way they’re going now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rare went bankrupt within the next decade. Even if Rare did stick with Nintendo, there would still be a possibility that they would screw themselves up, just like they did under Microsoft’s ownership. After all, the true murderer of Rare is Rare themselves. I don’t know what kind of control that console developers exert on the 2nd party developers that they own, but I doubt that Microsoft really controlled Rare enough to make them create awful games.
komicturtle92: Nintendo was ALWAYS strict with Rare, and Rare apparently did not like the strictness- even though they produced amazing games. Now that I see that maybe Microsoft isn’t too ‘close’ to Rare or strict, well.. You can pretty much say they went lose and have not discipline themselves the way they should when it comes to “delaying a game if it needs more time to be worked on”. And the departure of a few and the best employees and managers pretty much started this downward spiral for the company.
Wolfcoyote: Not only was Rare good for creating complex graphics tools and engines that unlocked unknown powers in Nintendo’s previous consoles, they had the freedom (as a second-party developer) to take advantage of Nintendo’s or other franchises and develop new ideas. I just don’t see any reason to support Rare either as they’ve lost themselves by moving away from Nintendo. Without them unlocking the innermost powers of an “underpowered” console and using this power to develop fun games by bankable franchises, Rare can’t be the developers that they once were. Rare was more of a technology company than a game developer in their later years, which may be the reason why they have no “muse” to draw inspiration from at the moment.
JebbyDeringer: Part of RARE’s problem was their development time. Their games were good because they took a long time to make (much like Blizzard) but the transition from N64 to Gamecube messed them up as did the transition to Microsoft. A lot of their games in production had to move consoles which creates an even bigger delay and rush to release them.
Rare Official Website
Complete list of Rare games
The Rare Witch Project
Rare Extreme: The Ultimate Rare Fan Site
Ultimate Play the Game Fan Site
Games Inbox: Retro’s Donkey Kong, the fall of Rare
Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64, 2001)
‘Conker’s Bad Fur Day is an action-platform video game developed and published by Rare, and distributed by Nintendo. It was exclusively released for the Nintendo 64 in 2001 and is Rare’s last game published for the console. Marketed as a “Teen And Adult platform game”, Conker’s Bad Fur Day features graphic violence, sexual themes, toilet humor and several film parodies. Despite its limited advertising, the game received very positive critical reviews and earned a cult following. The story opens with a prologue, spoofing the opening scene of A Clockwork Orange, where Conker tells the player that he is now “king of all the land”, and begins to tell the story of the game. Purcell’s “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary” plays during this sequence. The morning after a night of binge drinking with his friends, Conker awakes to find himself lost in an unfamiliar land with a terrible hangover. Having no other choice, he begins a long journey with the goal of returning home to his girlfriend, Berri.’ — Rare
Conker’s Bad Fur Day – The Great Mighty Poo Song
Conker’s Bad Fur Day – All Death Scenes
Conker’s Bad Fur Day [100% Run] (N64) – Part 1/7
Perfect Dark (N64, 2000)
‘Perfect Dark is set in the year 2023 against the backdrop of an interstellar war between two races: the Maians, who resemble the stereotypical “greys” of alien abduction folklore, and the Skedar, reptile-like extraterrestrials who can disguise themselves as humans, bearing similarities to Nordic aliens. Perfect Dark features many elements that are typical of a first-person shooter game, including a range of weapons to collect, enemies to defeat and distinct environments to explore. Although Perfect Dark is not set in the James Bond universe, the gameplay is extremely similar and it retains many of its predecessor’s features, such as the ability to use stealth to tackle missions, and objectives that vary with the difficulty setting. Upon release, Perfect Dark received very strong reviews from magazines and websites. IGN opined that the game “features amazing graphics… and the most well-rounded multiplayer mode ever to grace Nintendo 64.”‘ — Rare
Perfect Dark – N64 Gameplay
Perfect Dark – ALL WEAPONS Demonstrated
Perfect Dark Secrets
Grabbed by the Ghoulies (XBox, 2003)
‘Grabbed by the Ghoulies is a video game released on October 21, 2003 by Rare for the Xbox gaming console. It was the first Rare game to be published by the notorious Microsoft buyout from Nintendo, having originally been in development for the Nintendo GameCube. Ghoulies follows a young man named Cooper Chance who sets out to rescue his girlfriend, Amber, from Ghoulhaven Hall. This mansion is full of supernatural creatures, and Cooper will receive help along the way from the many hired hands that work there. The game is well known for its scathing criticisms and low sales after the Microsoft buyout of the company. The game has since been made fun of in successive Rare title Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. In the level Banjoland, several North America boxes of the game can be found inside the trash can. There are also numerous not-so-subtle jokes as to how poorly it sold throughout the game.’ — Rare
Grabbed By The Ghoulies – Chapter 1
Grabbed By The Ghoulies – Chapter 2
Grabbed by the Ghoulies – All Bosses
Banjo Kazooie (N64, 1998)
‘Banjo-Kazooie is a platform and action-adventure video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo as the inaugural game in the Banjo-Kazooie series. The game is set in the fictional location of Spiral Mountain where a bear named Banjo and a bird named Kazooie live. Gruntilda the witch kidnaps Banjo’s sister, Tooty, to steal her beauty via a transformation device. Banjo and Kazooie set out on a dangerous adventure to rescue Tooty. Banjo-Kazooie is composed of nine non-linear 3D worlds in which the player must gather jigsaw pieces, or “Jiggies”, to progress. Banjo and Kazooie are aided by Bottles, who teaches them new abilities, and Mumbo, who uses magical powers to transform them into other creatures, such as a termite, pumpkin, bumble bee, or crocodile. Banjo-Kazooie was highly successful at the time of its release, selling nearly two million copies in the United States. It was praised for its graphics, humor, and gameplay.’ — Rare
Banjo Kazooie – Intro
N64 – Banjo Kazooie Playthrough
Banjo – Kazooie – All Bosses
Diddy Kong Racing (Gamecube, 1997)
‘Diddy Kong Racing is a 1997 racing game for the Nintendo 64 developed by Rare. 800,000 copies were ordered in the two weeks before Christmas 1997, making it the fastest selling video game at the time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Diddy Kong Racing was very well received for its graphics and sound, but was criticized for being too similar to Mario Kart 64 (coincidentally, Diddy Kong would be a playable character in later Mario Kart installments). The game became a Player’s Choice title, and is considered to be one of the better racing games on Nintendo 64, alongside Mario Kart 64. The game remains popular even today, despite being for an older console. It currently holds an 89% score on Game Rankings.’ — Rare
Diddy Kong Racing – Intro
Diddy Kong Racing – Future Fun Land
Diddy Kong Racing – All Bosses
Star Fox Adventures (N64, 2002)
‘Star Fox Adventures is an action-adventure video game developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube as part of the Star Fox series. It was released in North America on 23 September 2002, Japan on 27 September 2002, Australia on 15 November 2002 and Europe on 22 November 2002. It was the final game developed by Rare for a Nintendo home video game system, before the company was acquired as a first-party developer for Microsoft’s Xbox division. Star Fox Adventures was generally well-received by the game critics. IGN said that the game is a “perfect companion” to The Legend of Zelda series, to which Adventures is often compared. The graphics were highly praised, with Electronic Gaming Monthly noting “the game is a work of art”, and the UK magazine Edge wrote that the “visual splendour is immense”.’ — Rare
star fox adventures trailer
Star Fox Adventures Gameplay
Star Fox Adventures Speedrun
Donkey Kong 64 (N64, 1999)
‘King K. Rool is trying to destroy DK Isles with a large laser called the blast-O-Matic, but it malfunctions after a crash that puts his floating, mechanical hind face-to-hind with DK Isles. To buy some time, he captures Donkey Kong’s relatives and locks them up, and then steals Donkey Kong’s precious hoard of Golden bananas. As Donkey Kong frees his fellow apes, they set off to recover the bananas and defeat King K. Rool and his army of Kremlings and other evil creatures. But in order to complete the game, there are many collectables like coins and colored things you have to get as well. The game is a 3D adventure with strong platforming links, similar to that of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. There are a total of five playable Kongs, each with unique (and upgradeable) abilities. The player starts out with access to Donkey Kong only, then goes on to unlock each of the other four Kongs as part of the gameplay (in the order of Diddy, Lanky or Tiny, and then Chunky). Unlocking all 5 Kongs is necessary to defeat character-specific bosses in each level.’ — Rare
Donkey Kong 64 (N64) – DK Rap Introduction
Donkey Kong 64 – All main bosses
Donkey Kong 64 (N64) Gameplay
GoldenEye 007 (N64, 1997)
‘GoldenEye 007 is a 1997 first-person shooter video game developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64 video game console, based on the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and sold over eight million copies. It has been praised for the quality of its multiplayer deathmatch mode, and its incorporation of stealth elements and varied objectives into its single player missions. It’s widely considered to be one of the most influential shooting games of all time. GoldenEye is credited with popularizing the video game convention of a zoomable sniper rifle on consoles, enabling players to kill oblivious enemies from vast distances away with a single, precise head shot; context-sensitive enemy hit-locations were also pioneered by the game for console games that followed.’ — Rare
GoldenEye 007 (1997), Nintendo 64 opening
007: GoldenEye – Nintendo 64 – Mission 1 “DAM”
N64 Goldeneye – Bonus Level 20 – Egyptian
Banjo Tooie (N64, 2000)
‘Two years have passed since Banjo and Kazooie defeated the witch Gruntilda and buried her alive under a boulder. While the two are playing poker with their friends Mumbo Jumbo and Bottles, Gruntilda’s sisters Mingella and Blobbelda arrive in a large digging machine, the Hag 1. They destroy the boulder and free Gruntilda, her time spent underground having rotted her flesh away and reduced her to a skeleton. Seeking revenge, Gruntilda destroys Banjo’s house before fleeing with her sisters. Banjo, Kazooie and Mumbo all escape in time, but Bottles is caught in the magical blast and killed. The three remaining friends decide to put an end to Gruntilda’s plans. Banjo-Tooie was part of long chain of critically and commercially successful games on the N64 from Rare upon the time of its release.’ — Rare
Banjo Tooie Trailer
Full Play – Banjo-Tooie Part 1
Banjo-Tooie – All Bosses (No Damage)
Donkey Kong Country 3 (Game Boy Advance, 1996/2005)
‘Unlike in Donkey Kong Country 2, rather than simply having to track down the hidden coin, the player must solve a small puzzle involving using a rolling barrel to strike an enemy using the coin as a shield from behind. The hub world is more open-ended when it comes to exploration, for the first time allowing the player to stray from set paths between established area or level markers. As a result, hidden areas can be found by traveling to the right location on the world map, also a first for the series. Most of these hidden areas have a collection of colored crystals that are arranged to mirror the button colors and locations on the traditional Super Nintendo controller; the player is required to repeat a series of tones that sound when a crystal lights up, using the buttons on the controller, to acquire hidden items.’ — Rare
Donkey Kong Country 3 – Gameplay
Donkey Kong Country 3: 105% T – The True End
Donkey Kong Country 3 – Boss Battles
Viva Pinata (Xbox360, 2006)
‘Likened to The Sims, Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, the game tasks the player with turning a neglected plot of land into a beautiful garden. As with many sandbox games, the game is open-ended, with no strict winning or losing requirements. Instead, players are guided only generally towards the objectives of increasing their garden’s value and attracting piñata residents. Players are free to determine their own sub-goals and work towards them. The game features a wide variety of piñata types (60 in total), in most cases inspired by real-world animals. The names of the piñata species appear to have been generated by combining an animal name or sound with that of a food or candy, producing creatures such as “Buzzlegums” or “Shellybeans”. Some of the animals are “piñatavores”, and must eat other piñatas in order to become residents or reproduce. An intricate food chain (referred to as the doughnut of life) exists, with a number of piñata species having one or two others that are considered prey. When such piñatas are visiting the garden, they can and will devour garden residents in order to satisfy their own residency requirements. However, once piñatas are residents, they will not eat each other unless instructed to do by the player, although fights can break out between residents who do not share the predator-prey relationship.’ — Rare
Viva Piñata E3 2006 Trailer
The Pinatas of Viva Pinata
Viva Piñata – How to mature a Golden Dragonache
p.s. Hey. ** Bernard, Morning, B. Luckily the editor we’re working with is open, albeit somewhat reluctantly at times, to stretching parameters. Just yesterday she told us that a close friend of hers is one of the actors in Godard’s ‘Adieu au Language’ — my favorite Godard — a film that she admitted to enjoying. And she doesn’t put her foot down. So I think the editing is going to go our way. If the heatwave wasn’t scheduled to end tonight, I think I would … I don’t know, die or something? It’s un-fucking-bearable. Maybe the cooling will have begun by the time Zac and I see you and Mr. H this evening. Oh, cool, I’m extremely interested in the dioramas show at PdT, so I look forward to hearing about it. There has never been a Golem Day, and I am metaphorically or something on my knees asking for yours. Pride here in Paris is as dishwater dull and predictable as Pride is back home, but hey. See you soon! ** David Ehrenstein, Morning, sir. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Oh, you’ve seen Costa. I haven’t seen that film you mentioned, but it’s on my list. I’ve only very recently gotten into his work, and I’ve only seen ‘Ossos’ and ‘Horse Money’, both of which I loved a lot. She (our editor) is really okay. She’s pretty open and helpful. It could have been much, much worse. I think she’s on Zac’s and my side (not that there’s really a side, or at least not yet) re: the film now, and we just have to hope that our producer will be good with what we’ve done. Yesterday was almost too much to bear, heat-wise. And this morning feels even worse so far, so I plan to do what it takes to survive until the supposed cooling off tonight. Luckily, the room where we’re editing has this kind of not very good air conditioning unit in it that doesn’t make things comfortable but fights off the murderous part of the heat. I haven’t looked up ‘Killing Stalking’ yet due to the work and the heat, which made me feel listless yesterday, but I definitely will. I’m glad you made progress yesterday! Exciting! I did the usual editing until 7 pm. Then Zac and I met with a candidate for the film’s color grading job, and he was kind of intolerably pretentious and absolutely not who we want to work with, so I guess that’s good to know. Then I just fiddled around and complained about the heat until I kind of managed to maybe fall asleep. What happened with and to you today? ** Steevee, That is a strange screening. Have you seen his newest one ‘Horse Money’? It’s pretty incredible, I think. Ultimately, I think it’s very good that we’re working with the editor. She does have mad skills. There’s one scene in our film that has never worked well. We weren’t able to shoot it like we planned, and we were forced to shoot it ultra-quick, so the version we shot was truncated, and I’ve been of the mind that we need to cut it while Zac has kept trying to reedit and reedit it in an attempt to save it because he thinks it’s necessary. Yesterday the pro editor just tried something on her own very quickly, and I think she managed to solve the problem and rescue the scene. So there’s value right there. I’m not sure if the Coens and Soderbergh edit without a pro on hand. If so, I think those must be very rare exceptions from what I know. Yikes, about the leak. Almost the exact same thing happened n Zac’s apartment some months ago. Fixing it wasn’t fun or an easy thing to live with, but it did get resolved without too much life disruption. I hope your thing is a quick fix. ** Nemo, Hi, Joey. Thank you kindly, buddy. Love to Jarrod and of course to you. ** Florian-Ayala, Hey. Yeah, you have to hunt and keep your eyes focusedly (that’s not a word?) open, and, luckily, doing the blog the way I do it causes me to need to do that. I haven’t looked at your art page in a while but I definitely will once my time (and brain) stop being eaten alive from morning to night by the film work. ** Ferdinand, Hi, man. I saw that first poster just the other day in the metro. Wow, on that heat damage. I am not surprised. It is literally hell in Paris right now. Thanks! ** Misanthrope, Well, yeah, if LPS hasn’t learned his lesson from all of that, he’s probably a lost cause on the school front. Hopefully not. No, nothing like that precisely has happened to me as an author. I’ve been very lucky. From ‘Closer’ onwards, no editor has ever asked me to change much of anything in my novels. I just get line-edited for typos and stuff. The closest to that — and I’m sure I’ve said this here before — is that when I finished ‘The Sluts’, my agent said no one would publish it and that I should just put it in a drawer and forget about it. I totally disagreed, but he was my agent, so I reluctantly shelved it. Then a limited edition press asked me if I had something they could put out in a small edition, and I gave them ‘The Sluts’. Then the ltd. edition was such a hit that a big publisher bought the novel and put it out, and, ultimately, it became my most successful and popular novel. So that was interesting. I still think artists give a fuck. I think it’s more that they give such a big fuck that they battle onwards or something. ** Right. A friend of mine asked me if I would bring back this Rare Day, and I have. I hope that some of the rest of you enjoy that decision. See you tomorrow.