Conker: A "Conker's Bad Fur Day" Character Analysis
Once an innocent red squirrel, Conker blossomed into the hungover star of the classic Conker's Bad Fur Day. The world our hero groggily finds himself in is that of a Saturday morning cartoon-- if that cartoon was made by Adult Swim.
Conker's Bad Fur Day stretched the rating system to its limits and brought something entirely fresh and unexpected to the gaming market. However, while the game flopped financially, it gained a bit of a cult following for its fantastic comedy writing and satisfying game mechanics. With this well-refined game, we also gained one of the most beloved characters by Rare, Conker the Squirrel.
This character broke a multitude of conventions and is why I decided to analyze, primarily, his personality. Well, that and Conker's Bad Fur Day is my favorite N64 game.
Our favorite alcoholic squirrel Conker first appeared in the 1997 Nintendo 64 title Diddy Kong Racing; he would also get his own standalone title two years later in the form of Conker's Pocket Tales for the Gameboy Color. Not long after this, Conker would get another standalone game titled Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64. Since then, the N64 title has garnered a bit of a cult following and a hefty price tag to boot.
Anyway, while Conker's Pocket Tales was aimed primarily for the younger demographics, Conker's Bad Fur Day was the complete opposite, featuring a much older, greedier, and alcoholic Conker. The N64 title was focused on following the story of how Conker became king of the Panther Kingdom and of the past few days leading to his ruling. Prior to this, little is known about Conker's origins except for the fact his parents raised him strictly with the belief to never touch alcohol, urinate in public or be greedy. Sometime later, Conker abandons all of these virtues.
Conker has always had red-orange fur with tan patches on his torso. He his big, blue, cartoonish eyes and big buck teeth, commonly associated with cartoon, anthropomorphic squirrels.
When Conker was first established, he had a much different outfit than he does in his standalone N64 title, but other than that he has remained primarily the same.
Conker eventually grows to be sarcastic, greedy, and alcoholic, despite how his parents had raised him. With this in mind, I also noticed that, throughout his adventure, he could maintain a civic demeanor, even when faced by a rough character, but he does manage to sneak in some kind of snark thought about the individual once in a while. So although Conker drinks and commits various lewd actions, he is generally a well-mannered individual.
Judging by the opening scene of Conker's Bad Fur Day, Conker has made a habit of staying out late, drinking at bars with his friends. Eventually, Conker drank so much that he became confused and wandered off from his favorite bar, in the wrong direction. He passes out and awakes to find himself in an unfamiliar area ruled by the Panther King. Given this, I think Conker is a sub-consciously self-destructive individual, caring very little for anyone else and himself; he does, however, love and cares very deeply for his girlfriend Berri. His self-destructive behavior is apparent given the lengths he would go just to get a few extra dollars, more obviously, diving headfirst into a pool of feces. Also, despite the numerous people who offer to help him, he finds almost every single one annoying in some way, further driving home the idea of his selfishness. The only person he goes out of his way for is Berri, whether be calling her to let her know he'll be home late or even taking on a mob boss and his goons to rescue her, even if it seems like she has feelings for somebody else.
Spoiler alert for this next part. Eventually, Conker finds himself reunited with Berri following a number of bizarre events. As the two go to live happily ever after, Berri is betrayed and is killed by a mafia boss, Don Weaso, by the order of the Panther King, taking away his one true love. However, the Panther King is also betrayed and killed by his supposed ally, Professor von Kripplesac. After following an Alien-inspired battle with a literal xenomorph, Conker is crowned king by the residents of the Panther King's kingdom. At this point, Conker's greed and comedic side vanishes and is replaced with a strong sense of grief and loathing, despite having unlimited amounts of money and power. He misses Berri, the love of his life, and blames himself for her death. He wants nothing more than to have her back. Conker is eventually left surrounded by people who primarily annoyed him, making him feel alone and depressed.
The game closes with Conker reflecting on how much he misses the simple life of being in love and having the opportunity to go home to see Berri every day and the simplistic beauty of cracking open a bottle of beer, stating that "the grass is always greener and you don't really know what you have until it's gone."
In an after credits scene, we find Conker going back to his favorite bar to get completely trashed. He exits stumbling, just as he did in the opening of the game, only this time he wears the Panther King's crown and, more importantly, stumbles off in the opposite direction, probably to avoid ever returning to the area all of these bad things had happened and avoid his unwanted duties as king.
I love this character for a number of reasons, primarily how relatable he can be. He goes from being an innocent, do-good character to a vulgar and inconsiderate one. Not only that, but he is also an emotional and cynical character as well, he just wants to live life happily ever after but seems to always come up short due to the hostile nature of the world around him. He is also an incredibly simplistic character who, essentially, just wanted to go home but wound up becoming king of a place he otherwise hated.
To summarize, he is an ironic, comedically tragic character and someone we can all take a bit away from, whether it be the lesson to appreciate the things you have, or simply even an entertaining character that holds a special place in the nostalgic parts of our minds.