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Why This Innovative Donkey Kong 64 Feature Was Removed

Hardcore Donkey Kong 64 fans may be shocked to learn that a certain hidden secret in the iconic platformer has been uncovered after more than two decades. This latest discovery involves an asset from Banjo-Kazooie, another title from Rare, that didn't make it to the final game. Fans of the game may know this hidden mechanic as "Stop 'N' Swop," a feature that was meant to offer cross-functionality between Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie. It has now been revealed that the Stop 'N' Swop was set to also make an appearance and have a similar purpose in Donkey Kong 64.

This new information came in the form of a tweet from a Rare fan Twitter page known as Rare Gamer. In the tweet, Rare Gamer attached an email they received from Paul Machacek, a Rare software developer. The email offers a complete explanation as to why this mysterious easter egg was never implemented in the game, confirming that it did in fact exist at some point.

The email was originally sent to Chris Stamper, co-founder of Rare, way back in 1999. The email discusses the hurdles of incorporating Stop 'N' Swop into Donkey Kong 64 due to the hardware limitations on Nintendo 64. Because of these problems, the director of technical support recommended that Rare completely drop the feature in Donkey Kong 64. The email suggested that Rare should instead opt for a cross-game password system that would unlock bonuses in both Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Kazooie.

"In spite of the fact that these bonuses are not necessary to complete either game, we feel that it must work reliably on all N64 consoles," the email reads. "I believe a solution such as this will preserve some of the benefit of tying the two games together and have minimal impact to the code, testing and ultimately the remaining schedule."

Gamers who have played through both Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 know such a password system doesn't exist in either game. When the original Stop 'N' Swop feature was being developed, and eventually scrapped, Rare remained tight-lipped on the issue. Eventually, data miners found that this system was still in the game's code. However, even after unlocking the Stop 'N' Swop menu option, it didn't do anything in the released version of the game. 

Based on the research from dedicated fans and this unearthed email, it's more than likely that this feature would've allowed players to unlock additional content or trade items between Donkey Kong 64 and the Banjo-Kazooie series. While gamers will forever wonder what this system would've looked like in practice, it's still incredible to know that Rare was originally dedicated to ensuring that two of its biggest IPs could be connected in a unique way.