Why are the Donkey Kong Country Games gone from the Wii Shop?

As has caused much alarm across the internet and Nintendo fan sites, the original three Donkey Kong Country games have been removed from the Wii Shop channel for an unknown reason and made unavailable to get on any Nintendo system. No one knows why this is, and speculation is currently at an all time high, so let’s figure out all the reasons the games could have been removed from the Wii Virtual Console and how likely they are.

1. Rare owns something in the game, license ran out

Problem here is, what exactly do Rare own that Nintendo don’t own themselves?  It’s definitely not the characters:

Above: K Rool takes the bat in Mario Super Sluggers.

Because as you can see, not only did Nintendo make a lot of games featuring them afterwards with no required ‘credit’ to Rare or anyone else, but K Rool and other characters were in Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii.

But what could it potentially be?  Well to be honest, I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s the game code/programing itself?  But that depends on the contract Rare signed back in the SNES days.  And some people have suspected things like the Rare logo, but honestly, that seems like way too minor a thing to remove a whole game for.

And it’s not as if Rare even uses that logo any more.  Unfortunately.

2. Legal issues related to the game music

Now, this is an interesting one.  It’s not a legal issue many people think of (for some reason far too many people still seem to prefer the myth that Rare still owns Donkey Kong related characters), but maybe the similarities to real world songs in the iconic Donkey Kong Country soundtrack may finally have come back to haunt Nintendo or Rare?

Not sure what I mean?  Have a few comparisons:

http://www.backofthecerealbox.com/2011/07/chariots-of-kong.html

^ These two songs are ridiculously similar…

Or perhaps the ones featured in this DK Vine post:

http://www.dkvine.com/interactive/forums/index.php?showtopic=7923

It’s not similar enough that I’d consider it infringing if I was a lawyer, but maybe some music group saw the resemblances somewhere and Nintendo ended up in trouble or something.

3. Donkey Kong Country compilation being released for Wii U

It’s not all potentially bad news though.  Perhaps Nintendo is working on a Donkey Kong Country collab or something and wants people to only buy the more expensive collection disc?

It didn’t happen to Mario All Stars or those Kirby games, but then again, Mario All Stars wasn’t even on the Virtual Console to begin with, just the NES era games.

It could also possibly be Nintendo trying to move the games to the 3DS instead.  Maybe they want them on the 3DS Virtual Console for some reason and hence removed the other one.  It’s not entirely unprecedented, I recall a few games being removed from DSiWare just the moment the eShop version came out…

But hey, maybe a Donkey Kong Country Collection (or should that be ‘Kollection’?) is just round the corner?

4. Games being moved to Wii U Virtual Console

Well, it’s a strange possible reason, but it’s not completely ridiculous.  Think about it, Wii Virtual Console games can be only played with Wii era controllers on the Wii U (in Wii mode) and the Wii U Virtual Console is kind of empty at the moment…

Maybe Nintendo want to sell it at a higher price as a HD classic or something.  Or maybe they feel the ability to play on the Game Pad would really, really help Donkey Kong for some reason…

Oh okay, I’m grasping at straws here, there aren’t that many ‘logical’ reasons the games were removed. Rare doesn’t own anything as far as I can remember, no other legal issues have come up in the past and Nintendo forcing everyone to buy the games again seems like business suicide.  Why would they even remove the games from the Virtual Console?

Does anyone have any ideas why this might be?

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