Also, another man came to give a talk about a panther that he'd seen walking along some train tracks behind his flat, but he'd forgotten to bring the photos he'd taken of it. From the way he described it though, it was definitely a panther.
Significantly, I'd brought two of my many daughters along with me, and they were due to be spending the weekend helping the keepers.
On our tour of the zoo, we were introduced to a "teenage" gibbon called Udo, who apparently was in the grip of puberty. Female keepers weren't allowed to enter his enclosure alone, as - were they to do so - the dirty gibbon would attempt to do rudies with them. Amusingly, every time my daughters passed by his cage, Udo would hang from the ceiling, pucker his lips, and press his genitals up against the bars. Whenever I walked by, he would turn his back on me.
We spent some considerable time exploiting the hilarious behaviour of this hairy little pervert - while I pretended not to feel rejected - and then around five minutes feeling a bit bad about having done so.
Importantly, it wouldn't have been as funny if primates didn't look - and behave - so much like people. What I always find interesting about them - and apes in particular - is what they can teach us about ourselves. Unfortunately, most of it isn't pretty, but it saddens me that gorillas are considered critically endangered, and possibly won't be around forever.
The more we learn about them, the more we discover how similar they are to us. Maybe we should bring them out of the jungles and invite them to live in our towns and cities and put them on benefits. Admittedly, I offer this suggestion not because I want to save the great apes, but because I don't want to waste any opportunity to laugh at them.
It makes me wonder how many of these so-called "conservationists" are secretly operating with a similar motivation.
Anyway. Hello. I'm sorry, but I didn't like Donkey Kong Country. In my view, it was a whole lot of style over substance. Those pre-rendered "Silicon" graphics were really nice for the time, though - let's face it - not quite as revolutionary as they'd led us to believe.
We were all wowed back in the day, but with hindsight we can now appreciate that "pre-rendered" CGI means about as much as, I dunno, taking a sequence of still photographs of decomposing fruit, putting them in a game, and then crowing about how your platformer features "the first ever realistic video game fruit decomposition".
For me, those graphics - and the thrilling, long overdue, return of a gaming icon - disguised a platform game that was, even for the time, fairly rote.
Furthermore, Donkey Kong's lumbering gait added a level of unnecessary challenge, due to its imprecision. As the character saw his star once again in the ascendant, the series became a sort of parallel to Nintendo's Mario games - with its own take on Mario Kart and Mario 64 and that. But, alas, for me... they always disappointed. Solid, good-looking, but somehow lacking surprise and ideas they could call their own.
And yet... history is often kind. I don't pretend that my view of Donkey Kong Country - and its sequels - hasn't softened with time. I look on them fondly now. With the passing years I appreciate more of what they did differently than focus on what they borrowed from other, better, games.
And then something like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze comes along and I let out a sigh so massive it makes my trousers fall down - even though I wasn't even wearing any trousers!!!!!
Tropical Freeze is another Switch re-release of a game that first appeared on the doomed Wii U. As is now customary, there's some new content here - specifically, a mode in which you play as desperate surfer ape Funky Kong. It makes the game slightly easier - jumps are easier to control with Funky, and you've got more health - which appears to be a concession to one of the criticisms levelled at the Wii U original: it was off-puttingly difficult.
Beyond this, the game adheres closely to the original Country recipe. To wit; it plays like a fairly traditional side-on platform game, with boss battles, and mine cart rides, and bits where you clamber onto the back of a rhino, and things to collect, and secret rooms and that (albeit with the sort of pseudo-3D concessions familiar to anybody who has played a platform game in the last 20 years).
Also: a shop where you can buy items to use within the levels. Sadly, these items aren't quite as imaginative as in Donkey Kong 64. They typically buy you a second chance or two, or equip you with a buddy - Diddy, Dixie or Kranky - who will affect your jumping in various ways. There's also a co-op two-player mode, in the vague hope you have a friend who might like to play it with you.
What did surprise me was how it felt, at times, as much like a Sonic game as a Mario one. As with the originals, there's a lot of clambering into barrels, but here you're often spat from them into the screen, before ricocheting around without a great deal of control over your trajectory, like a... well... like a Sonic The Hedgehog game.
There's much to admire about Tropical Freeze. The graphics - particularly in their depiction of the enemies (a tribe of Minion-like Viking penguins) - are full of character, the soundtrack is great, and overall it manages to avoid many of the battling-with-the-controls issues which plagued the original Donkey Kong games. Nevertheless, as polished as it might be, it's still relatively unremarkable.
It feels like they upped the difficulty level (again, mitigated somewhat here if you chose to play in Funky Mode) to disguise a lack of innovation.
There's nothing here that really screams "new". Look at some of the platformers we've had in recent years, from Nintendo's own Mario series, to Unravel, Cuphead, and Little Nightmares. Even Sonic Mania managed to peddle nostalgia while offering new ideas.
Tropical Freeze doesn't bother to do that. As much as it pains me to say it, and as much as I'm all for ingesting nostalgia, it simply reheats gameplay that I've consumed dozens of times before.
Yes, it does so in a way that is very slick and playable, but at no point did I ever really feel I was playing something original. But it's fine. If you missed it on the Wii U - and there's every chance you did - then you could do worse. It does, however, seem a bit rich pricing this the same as some of the Switch's heavy hitters, like Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild.
<SCREECHES WILDLY, PUCKERS UP, PRESSES GENITALS AGAINST THE BARS OF HIS CAGE>
SCORE: 60.1011010101 out of 101.21888