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The Vault: ‘Donkey Kong’, the King Kong of arcade games

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Remember Space Jam? Remember Star Fox? Remember those treasures locked away in a dusty vault of nostalgia? Well we’re here to pull them out again, because let’s face it some of us college students are poor and can’t afford the new game or movie ticket.

Mary Jones
Columnist
mej102@lhup.edu
Photo courtesy of flasharcade.com

Photo courtesy of flasharcade.com

Within the dark recesses of the vault, behind the amazing success that is Nintendo, is the wildly popular arcade game, “Donkey Kong”.

This early example of a platform game was released in 1981 by Nintendo and features their two most known characters, Jumpman (now known as Mario) and Donkey Kong. In this game, you play as Jumpman in his attempts to rescue the damsel in distress, Pauline, from Donkey Kong, by climbing up platforms and dodging the different obstacles thrown at you. But why should you play such an old and outdated game? Here’s why!

Time Killer

Like most games we’ve talked about, “Donkey Kong” is great for killing time between classes and for filling in those fifteen minute breaks in between studying and homework. It is fun and quick, and playing the first level of this highly additive game over and over doesn’t feel repetitive like most games now days. Just don’t let yourself get lost in this game while you’re supposed to be studying for that big exam on Monday!

A Pioneer in Gaming History

Photo courtesy of coinopspace.com

Photo courtesy of coinopspace.com

Assigned to first time game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, this game was Nintendo’s latest attempt to break into the North America market (successfully). Miyamoto draws from a series of inspirations in order to design this game, including the obvious, King Kong (which would later result in a lawsuit that Nintendo won).This isn’t what makes this game a pioneer though.

“Donkey Kong” is the first video game to use graphics as a means of characterization, using cutscenes to advance the game’s plot, and implementing multiple stages to gameplay. These three things are common place to video games now days, and they started in a game created to be an arcade game, and created by a first time developer.

It’s “Donkey Kong”!

Photo courtesy of retrogames.com

Photo courtesy of retrogames.com

Nintendo, one of the longest lived game companies in the world, was made famous by this game. It was the game that was used to break into the North America market successfully, and it introduces the two most famous icons in gaming history, Mario and Donkey Kong. This game is where their careers started, and where we learn about Mario’s first love, and job, as well as the revelry between these two beloved characters. Not only all of that, but it’s just a fun game all around!

If you would like to play this classic (in full screen!) go here!

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One comment on “The Vault: ‘Donkey Kong’, the King Kong of arcade games

  1. I remember them all. In a way Space Jam and Star Fox are similar, both have furries. 🙂

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