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Rare (1982-2002) (sometimes referred to as Rareware) is a British video game developer. The organization was founded in 1982 by brothers Tim and Chris Stamper as a company called Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd. and published games under the name Ultimate Play the Game. Although their early work was popular, software piracy was a serious problem in those days and a threat to their company's livelihood. They renamed their company Rare and began focusing on cartridge games, which were much harder to make illegal copies. The Stamper brothers had attempted a contract with Nintendo in 1984, but were refused for multiple reasons. One reason was that in-house products such as Donkey Kong were doing well and Nintendo saw no need for expansion. The main reason was that it was not too far from the Great Video Game Crash of 1983, which in part had been caused by a glut of contracted games and unlicensed knockoffs, and Nintendo was working to reverse that. Undeterred, Chris Stamper spent six months deciphering Nintendo's code. At the Consumer Electronics Show in 1986, Stamper presented a skiing game called Slalom. Nintendo bought the copyright for an undisclosed amount and allowed Rare to contract games from then on.

The company subsequently began to focus solely on the popular Nintendo Entertainment System platform, and in 1994 they entered an exclusive publishing agreement with Nintendo. Rare achieved great critical acclaim and earned an international reputation for creating successful SNES and N64 titles such as Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie, among others. In 2002, Microsoft paid US$375 million for a 100% acquisition of Rare, a record for a video game developer. As a result, Rare is now a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios.

The last game they made for a Nintendo console as a Independent company was Star Fox Adventures, a game for the Nintendo GameCube which was originally called Dinosaur Planet and was planned to be released on the Nintendo 64. The game was moved to the Nintendo GameCube because the game wasn't finished early enough for it to be released on the Nintendo 64. Rare removed some of the original characters and changed some of the environments. The only character that survived the change was Krystal, who's appearance was changed somewhat from the original. Rare continued to make other games after this for another 6 years until 2008 as a subsidiary of Microsoft.

Other games in development for the Nintendo GameCube by Rare before the time of their Microsoft acquisition included Donkey Kong Racing, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power, Conker: Live & Reloaded, and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts.

Rare Howard

Howard Phillips of Nintendo Power with Tim and Chris at the launch of Solar Jetman.

Despite Rare working for Microsoft Studios, they have managed to sneak in quite a few developments for the Game Boy Advance. These games include the entire Donkey Kong Country series, Sabre Wulf, It's Mr. Pants, and two Banjo games, Banjo & Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, and Banjo-Pilot.

Rumor has it that Rare was originally contracted by Nintendo to produce a new Mario game, however after the success of Super Mario World, they decided to keep first party development for Mario platformers, and allow Rareware to use another of their franchises. Rare had a choice between Donkey Kong, and Kid Icarus, however due to the popularity of Donkey Kong in the 1980s, they decided to use this franchise.

Virtual Console

Microsoft's ownership of Rare has prevented multiple popular titles from being released onto the Virtual Console service. These include Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing. In fact, when Diddy Kong Racing was remade for the Nintendo DS, Banjo and Conker had to be removed because Rare owns exclusive rights to those characters. Despite this, a few Rare games have made it onto the Virtual Console. The entire Donkey Kong Country series have been released, primarily due to Nintendo's ownership of the Donkey Kong franchise. Due possibly to royalty disputes regarding the Wii U, the trilogy has been de-listed from the Wii Shop.

Games released by Rare

Note that there will be games that have appeared on Nintendo systems only.

DS

Game Boy

Game Boy Advance

Game Boy Color

GameCube

Nintendo 64

NES

Super NES

Wii

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