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THE MAKING OF: Donkey Kong Country & Killer Instinct

January 17, 2022

In 1985, the British game developers Tim and Chris Stamper established Rare Ltd. The brothers previously founded the British computer game studio Ultimate Play the Game and founded Rare to focus on the burgeoning Japanese video game console market.

After Nintendo rejected their efforts to form a partnership in 1983, Chris Stamper studied the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) hardware for six months. Rare demonstrated it was possible to reverse-engineer the NES and showed several tech demos to Nintendo executive Minoru Arakawa; impressed, Arakawa granted Rare a Nintendo developer license.

Rare developed more than 60 NES games, including the "Battletoads" series and ports of games such as Marble Madness.

When Nintendo released their next console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), in 1991, Rare decided to limit their output. Around 1992, Rare invested their NES profit in Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) Challenge workstations with Alias rendering software to render 3D models. It was a significant risk, as each workstation cost £80,000. The move made Rare the most technologically advanced UK developer and situated it high in the international market.

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