Most gamers know Rare for its work on such classic Nintendo games as Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, though the company’s history goes back further than the SNES and Nintendo 64. It was founded in 1982 by brothers Chris and Tim Stamper, and was originally known as Ultimate Play the Game, where it released titles for the deceased ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64.
That said, there’s at least 29 years of history in the developer’s Twycross campus, neatly arranged within a glass case in the cafeteria.
Here, curious folks can get an inside peak at Rare’s humble beginnings and go all the way to its Xbox 360 days. It’s a fan’s paradise.
Suffice to say, we spent a considerable amount of time pouring over each nook and cranny. That also means we took a ton of photos for you to enjoy.
On that note, join us for a special visual tour of Rare’s celebrated library.
On the top shelf sits Rare’s oldest games, back when the company was Ultimate Play the Game. Look closely, and you can see copies of Tranz Am and Jetpac on the left, followed by Atic Atac on the right.
We didn’t know that Rare created over 40 NES titles, including two of our favourites, WWF WrestleMania and Captain Skyhawk.
Other standouts include Cobra Triangle and Battletoads.
Here, we see the Japanese version of the NES, the Famicom, as well as some Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo bundles that we wanted to take home.
Also, on the right, is a copy of the ZX Spectrum game, Sabre Wulf.
Another shot of Rare’s NES games, some circuitry and a sweet Donkey Kong Country SNES bundle that takes us back to the good old days. You know, when most systems came with games inside the box.
Rare also worked on the Game Boy with WWF Superstars, Battletoads and Super R.C. Pro Am.
Development extended to the Game Boy Advance, most notably Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge.
Rare became a household name in the 90s for its work on Donkey Kong Country for Super Nintendo. On the left is the Super Famicom, followed by the more well known version of the SNES on the right.
What a tease. Killer Instinct is one of Rare’s most beloved games. It’s so popular that fans continue to send mail to the developer begging for a sequel.
Another look at the Super Famicom.
Of course, you can’t have a history of Rare without prominently featuring GoldenEye 007 on N64, the first person shooter that helped define the genre and prove companies can make fun movie-based video games. Check out the 64DD attachment on the right. What’s the game in the cartridge slot? Jet Force Gemini.
Unfortunately, Rare only released one game for the Nintendo’s GameCube, Star Fox Adventures, a title best known for its Zelda style of play and sharp looking graphics that rivaled anything we’d seen on PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
Below is a slice of the company’s N64 catalogue, featuring Donkey Kong 64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Perfect Dark.
In 2002, Microsoft paid $375 million for a 100 per cent ownership of Rare. The developer immediately went to work, bringing Grabbed by the Ghoulies and Conker: Live & Reloaded to the original Xbox.
More Conker goodness, complete with a soundtrack, keychain and shot glass.
Later, Rare shifted gears to the Xbox 360 and had two games ready for the 2005 launch: Kameo: Elements of Power, and Perfect Dark Zero.
Then, in 2006, the company released Viva Pinata for Xbox 360. Hoping the series would be the next big thing, Microsoft launched a merchandising campaign with toys and other collectibles.
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