Donkey Kong Bongos Ditch the GameCube, Go Mobile

Donkey Kong Bongos Ditch the GameCube, Go Mobile

Historically speaking, optional peripherals for game consoles tend not to be terribly successful. You’ll usually get a handful of games that support the thing, one of which will likely come bundled with it, and then the whole thing fades into obscurity to make way for the next new gimmick.

For example, did you know Nintendo offered a pair of bongos for the GameCube in 2003? They were used almost exclusively by the trio of Donkey Konga rhythm games, although only two of them were ever released outside of Japan. While the games might not have been huge hits, they were successful enough to stick in the memory of [bl3i], who wanted a way to keep the DK bongo experience alive.

The end result is, arguably, more elegant than the hokey musical controller deserves. While most people would have just gutted the plastic bongos and crammed in some new hardware, [bl3i] went through considerable effort so the original hardware would remain intact. His creation simply snaps onto the bongos and connects to them via the original cable.

Internally, the device uses an Arduino to read the output of the bongos (which appeared to the GameCube essentially as a standard controller) and play the appropriate WAV files from an SD card as hits are detected. Add in an audio amplifier module and a battery, and Nintendo’s bongos can finally go forth into the world and spread their beats.

As far as we’re able to tell, this is the first time the Donkey Kong bongos have ever graced the pages of Hackaday in any form, so congratulations to [bl3i] for getting there first. But it’s certainly not the first time we’ve covered ill-conceived game gadgets — long time readers will perhaps be familiar with Nintendo’s attempt to introduce the Robotic Operating Buddy (ROB) to households back in 1985.