Old School Cool: The Inimitable Conker’s Bad Fur Day

At a time of Sesame Street style Nintendo games, Conker's Bad Fur Day showed N64 owners the meaning of the letter "M."

Old School Cool is our new original video series releasing every Tuesday afternoon on the Den of Geek Facebook page. Each week, we break out the SNES, SEGA, PS2 or another classic console as we take you on a nostalgia trip into the world of classic video games and accessories.

Old School Cool: Conker’s Bad Fur Day

When Conker’s Bad Fur Day was formally revealed in 2000, most gamers rightfully assumed the project was just an elaborate joke. It turns out they were right.

It’s not entirely accurate to say that there had never been another game like Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Members of the Rare development team who worked on the title have even admitted that they essentially just copied the Mario 64 formula when designing Bad Fur Day’s basic layout, as was the fashion at the time. Honestly, the only significant gameplay difference was that most of Bad Fur Day’s action sequences played out with the help of auto-complete context sensitive pads.

Context is the key to understanding the inimitable nature of Conker’s Bad Fur Day. In the dying days of the N64, Rare announced their intent to scrap the family friendly platformer known as Conker’s Quest that they had been working on in favor of a releasing a decidedly immature adventure that borrowed its humorous stylings from cultural institutions such as South Park and Howard Stern.

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For as many games, films, and show as Conker borrows from, there’s really nothing quite like it. It’s almost impossible to get over the fact that you are playing an aesthetically cutesy 3D platformer on a Nintendo system that so happens to feature large breasted flowers, copious amounts of drinking, singing piles of poo, and a machine gun volley of pop culture references.

If you manage to overcome the shock of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, you’ll find that the game works as well as it does because it’s actually a fundamentally intelligent experience. From its pitch-perfect Clockwork Orange opening to its Aliens-esque final boss fight, Bad Fur Day manages to perfectly parody the inherent absurdity of so-called “mature” entertainment by showing that all that gore, sex, and booze can be wrapped around the core of a family-friendly platformer without compromising the appeal of either.

Conker’s Bad Fur Day may have been received as an elaborate joke, but it went on to become one of the N64’s most beloved titles. The game also went on to receive an Xbox remake titled Conker: Live and Reloaded and was even featured in the Rare Replay collection. Sadly, it seems that all work on a supposed sequel, Conker’s Other Bad Day, was canceled by Microsoft. 

Then again, when are comedy sequels ever as brilliant as the original?

Learn more about Conker’s Bad Fur Day in the video below: