What do you get when you combine five apes, a hoard of bananas, a huge laser, and one angry crocodile? Well, in reality you’d probably get some socially awkward simians, an unhappy, banana-eating crocodile, and a laser that nobody can operate. But in the magical land of Nintendo, you get what is the harrowing plot of “Donkey Kong 64”.
The details of said plot can be seen in the game’s introductory video, which– warning– is approximately five years long. Basically, we learn that a crocodile named King K. Rool has tried to destroy Donkey Kong with a gigantic laser called the Blast-O-Matic. The mechanism backfires, leaving our no other choice but to petulantly capture all of Donkey Kong’s best friends and steal his precious hoard of gigantic golden bananas.
Which brings us to the start of Donkey Kong’s adventure in his famous tree house, a staple in all of the Donkey Kong games. Perhaps it is because I have always dreamed of living in a tree house in the jungle myself, but to me, DK’s place, particularly in this N64 version, is the prime real estate in the world of Nintendo—certainly much cozier than Peach’s Castle and Hyrule Castle.
And definitely more affordable.
DK’s little hut will only set you back a mere $3,800—that’s over 271,000 times less than the price for Peach’s Castle, 30,000 times less than Hyrule, and easily the least expensive piece of novelty real estate ever featured in Movoto Real Estate blog. (The closest in value was Yoda’s hut at $7,762!)
If this is starting to sound good to you, well, read on to find out just how I came up with this price. I wouldn’t start packing your bag full of bananas just yet.
It’s on like Donkey Kong
As always, in order to find the price of any novelty real estate, there were three things I needed to find the value of DK’s tree house. I needed:
- The location
- The size
- Comparable Properties
Location and size were actually pretty easy, but the task of finding comparable properties… well, that last criteria nearly made a monkey out of me. But more on that later, first, let’s talk about the location.
The DRC—It’s No Monkey Business
I’ll start this section out with a riddle that has plagued mankind for centuries: Where can you find a mountain gorilla, lowland gorilla, chimpanzee, small monkey, orangutan, green parrot, crocodile, jungle, waterfalls, palm trees, and plentiful banana trees all within the same habitat? (What, you haven’t heard this one?)
The answer is “nowhere,” but this was the question I had to ask myself in finding the location of DK’s tree house, as all of these guys are important characters and features throughout the game. In the end, though, I found that aside from the orangutan (whom I’ve decided was just visiting on holiday), this seemingly impossible checklist could be found in one place in the world: the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nowhere else on the planet.
And that doesn’t really leave much room for negotiation. So there you have it: The location of the real-world version of DK’s tree house is in a beautiful national park… in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo—one of the most volatile, poverty-stricken, and generally least-desirable locations ever (for a person). Now I’d tell you that the poor location of DK’s home is well made up for in its size, but if you’re at all familiar with the game, you’d know that I’m just monkeying around. But how small exactly is Donkey Kong’s tree house?
Bigger than a Barrel of Monkeys
That’s right. Donkey Kong’s tree house is at least bigger than a barrel of monkeys—but maybe not a barrel of mountain gorillas. You get a pretty good look at both the inside and the outside of the tree house when you’re just starting the game. There is a red rug in the center of the floor, a hammock hanging in the corner, a random, giant tire in another corner, and several banana peels strewn about, like DK had a late night banana binge. The floor, walls, and ceiling are all made of wood– very rustic and hut-like in theme. Almost as soon as you take all of this in, though, a green parrot comes flying in, asking DK to follow him outside onto the deck. The camera pans dramatically, showing players a sweeping view of the tree house and the forest around– it’s here that you really get a good look at just how big his house is.
Just like I did at Hyrule and then again at Peach’s place, I decided to use Donkey Kong as the unit of measurement in my calculations, since a male mountain gorilla is actually quite measurable out in the real world. (Note: Just because a male mountain gorilla is measurable, doesn’t mean you should go out and try this.)
The average male mountain gorilla is about 5 ½ feet tall, around 475 pounds, and roughly 2 ½ feet wide at the shoulders. In this photo (right), you get a reasonably clear picture of the house’s size compared to DK. By my estimation, it took 8 DKs to cover the width of his house—that’s 20 feet.
In this photo (right), you can see that the depth of DK’s house is approximately ¾ larger than the width (you also get a really great view of the house from all sides when DK first steps outside.) So, ¾ larger than 20 feet is 35. This brings the total size of DK’s hut to 700 square feet.
To put that into perspective for you, that’s about the size of a living room plus kitchen/dining area in an American house, where the average total square feet is around 2,400. Or, it’s probably about the size of one of the powder rooms in Princess Peach’s castle, which is over 450,000 square feet total.
So how valuable is each square foot in DK’s tree house? To find the answer, I had to look for some comparable properties in the area—which really threw a monkey wrench into my research*.
*Monkey Joke number 75.
The Monkey on My Back: Finding the Comparable Properties
Okay, all monkey puns aside, finding the comparable properties really was the tricky part here. If you want to see why, just try searching for homes to buy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Go on, try it. You literally get one result—and the link to this house was posted in 2010 and is broken! So you might think that finding the price for a unique, wooden, hut-like, and yet sturdy house like DK’s in particular in the DRC would be impossible. Well, you’d be right.
So I found the closest thing I could. I searched hotels for sale in neighboring Tanzania and came across this gem: It is wooden, it is hut-like, and it even has a terrace, just like DK’s… more or less. Here’s what else they have in common:
- Both properties have “swimming pools”
- Both are furnished
- Both are surrounded by lush jungle
- Both are located in preserved lands (a National Forest and a Game Reserve)
Now aside from the fact that this hotel is over 129,000 square feet where DK’s tree house is 700; and it comes with fully-equipped staff quarters, a boat, and an outdoor shower—this hotel is practically the real-world version of Donkey Kong’s tree house. Practically.
It was at least a good place to get an idea of the price per square foot for something “hut-like” in theme, in that general area. The hotel is listed at $900,000 for 129,166 square feet, which comes out to $6.97 per square foot. So if DK’s tree house were in Tanzania, it would probably cost about $4,877.
But it’s not. Unfortunately for DK, his tree house happens to be in a National Forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo—one of the most violent and unstable nations in the world. People simply aren’t looking to move here. And you know what that means? A major discount!
Enough Monkeying Around—How Much is DK’s tree house?
With all of the undesirable factors of the location taken into account, I took off a pretty hefty discount. In the end, DK’s tree house, completely furnished (rug, hammock, tire, and banana peels to boot) can be yours for the low, low price of just $3,800.
Like I said in the beginning, I have always dreamed of living in a tree house in the middle of the jungle. But put that tree house in the Democratic Republic of Congo in today’s tumultuous climate? You might just have to pay me to stay there.
No offense, DK. Love what you’ve done with the place.