FREE DONKEY KONG GAME
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
Almost everyone who ventured into a gaming arcade or had a home computer or games console back in the 80s, will have played the platformer Donkey Kong at some point. It was certainly the first and only game to feature a love triangle between a carpenter, his girlfriend, and an angry gorilla!
You'll be pleased to know that you can have another go now with the free flash game above. The objective of the game is the same as the original arcade version, and playing as Mario, you must rescue your girlfriend, Pauline, from the Donkey Kong. Use the arrow keys to move Mario/Jumpman over girders and up ladders. Press the space bar to leap over tumbling barrels, dodge lethal fireballs and jump onto fast-moving elevators,
Apparently, the name Donkey was chosen instead of King for copyright reasons, and because game designer , Shigero Miyamoto, intended it to "convey a sense of stubbornness". Indeed, Universal Studios tried (and failed!) to sue Nintendo after the game's release.
Miyamoto also created the Mario franchise and also The Legend Of Zelda and Star Fox.
There were a huge number of conversions, such as the Game & Watch version shown below, although some ports were pretty terrible, such as the Coleco port for the Atari 2600. Donkey Kong was first released by Nintendo in 1982, and it features the very first appearance of the world's best-known video game character, Mario, although he was known as 'Jumpman' at the time.
Donkey Kong was the first true platform game to hit the arcades, and became hugely popular. It was pretty advanced when compared to other games released during the period, and made the maze game Pac-Man (released in 1980) and space shooter Galaga look simplistic. As with Asteroids, I remember that I always found the game to be extremely challenging, and struggled to even get through the first level!
The first arcade platform game was actually Space Panic by Universal Entertainment Corporation, although the main character did not jump (he dug holes) and the game was not a commercial success.
Nintendo Donkey Kong Game & Watch hand-held console from 1982
In 1982, Nintendo released the sequel Donkey Kong Jr. to the arcades, and this was ported to most consoles during the 80s, including the NES, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Intellivision and ColecoVision.
The huge success of Donkey Kong helped Nintendo to dominate the vidoe game market during the 1980s and 90s. It was not only the arcade version that was hugely profitable, but also the aforementioned Game & Watch version which sold around 8 million units.