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Donkey Kong is a series of video games that features the adventures of a large ape creature called Donkey Kong, created by Shigeru Miyamoto. It mainly comprises two different game series, plus spinoff titles of various genres. The games of the first series are mostly single-screen platform/action puzzle types, featuring Donkey Kong as the antagonist against Mario in an industrial construction setting. The original Donkey Kong game was the first appearance of Mario, Nintendo's flagship character, pre-dating the well-known Super Mario Bros. by four years.

Donkey Kong was first launched in the USA in to two bars in Seattle, Washington for an official "Sales Test Run". Everyday at both bars, the Donkey Kong machines were played about 150 times everyday. Because of the intense popularity, Donkey Kong finally went on sale in 1981.

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Donkey Kong by Nintendo, 1981

The game was the latest in a series of efforts by Nintendo to break into the North American market. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo's president at the time, assigned the project to a first-time game designer named Shigeru Miyamoto (now a legend in the gaming industry). Drawing from a wide range of inspirations, including Popeye and King Kong, Miyamoto developed the scenario and designed the game alongside Nintendo's chief engineer, Gunpei Yokoi. The two men broke new ground by using graphics as a means of characterization, including cut scenes to advance the game's plot, and integrating multiple stages into the gameplay. Despite initial misgivings on the part of Nintendo's American staff, Donkey Kong proved a tremendous success in both North America and Japan. Nintendo licensed the game to Coleco, who developed home console versions for numerous platforms. Other companies simply cloned Nintendo's hit and avoided royalties altogether. Miyamoto's characters appeared on cereal boxes, television cartoons, and dozens of other places. A court suit brought on by Universal City Studios, alleging that Donkey Kong violated their trademark of King Kong, ultimately failed. The success of the Donkey Kong game and Nintendo's win in the courtroom helped position the company to dominate the video game market in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The Beginning

Donkey Kong was created when Shigeru Miyamoto was assigned by Nintendo to convert Radar Scope, a game that had been released to test audiences with poor results, into a game that would appeal more to Americans. The result was a major breakthrough for Nintendo and for the videogame industry. Sales of the machine were brisk, with the game becoming one of the best-selling arcade machines of the early 1980s. The gameplay itself was a large improvement over other games of its time, and with the growing base of arcades to sell to, it was able to gain huge distribution. In 1981 Falcon created a legitimate clone of Donkey Kong known as Crazy Kong for distribution in non-US markets. Read more about the hisory of Donkey Kong.

First Scene of Donkey Kong

Nintendo released Donkey Kong in 1981

when arcades were new and popular. Gas stations, fast food places and other resturants were sure to have one of the many one-quarter arcades that had been produced. Players controlled a construction worker (or carpenter) known as Jumpman who tried to get back his girlfriend Pauline from a huge gorilla known as Donkey Kong (which means "Stubborn Gorilla" ) by jumping over several obstacles and climbing up ladders.

The single-screen game was a big hit and in 1982 Donkey Kong Jr was released. Mario (formally Jumpman) had trapped and caged the barrel-rolling babboon and it was up to DK Jr to save his dad. Instead of more barrel-jumping action, the game consisted of climbing vines and dropping fruit on psycho-traps. In 1983, Nintendo released Donkey Kong 3, in which Stanley the Bugman (who was armed with unlimited bug-repellant), tried to keep the bugs from taking his flowers, while making sure the Giant Monkey didn't come down from the vines.

The actual highest recorded score was set by Steve Wiebe (yes, he made it...) on Sept. 20, 2010; he achieved 1,064,500 points. Please read our DK News.

Donkey Kong is an early example of the platform genre - it is sometimes said to be the first platform game, although it was preceded by Space Panic and Apple Panic. Competitive video gamers and referees stress the game's high level of difficulty compared to other classic arcade games; the average game lasts less than a minute. Winning the game requires patience and the ability to accurately time Mario's ascent. In addition to presenting the goal of saving the Lady/Pauline, the game also gives the player a score. Points are awarded for finishing screens; leaping over obstacles; destroying objects with a hammer power-up; collecting items such as hats, parasols, and purses (presumably belonging to the Lady/Pauline); and completing other tasks. The player receives three lives with a bonus awarded for the first 7,500 points.

How To Beat Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Gameplay

The game is divided into four different one-screen stages. Each represents 25 meters of the structure Donkey Kong has climbed, one stage being 25 meters higher than the previous. The final screen occurs at 100 m. Later ports of the game omit or change the sequence of the screens; the original arcade version includes:

  • Mario must scale a seven-story construction site made of crooked girders and ladders while jumping over or hammering barrels and oil barrels tossed by Donkey Kong
  • Mario must remove eight rivets, which support Donkey Kong
  • Mario rides up and down elevators while avoiding fireballs and bouncing objects, presumably spring-weights
  • Mario must climb a five-story structure of conveyor belts, each of which transports pans of cement.

These screens combine to form levels, which become progressively harder. For example, Donkey Kong begins to hurl barrels more rapidly and sometimes diagonally, and fireballs get quicker. The victory music alternates between levels 1 and 2. The 22nd level is unofficially known as the kill screen due to an error in the game's programming that kills Mario after a few seconds, effectively ending the game. With its four unique levels, Donkey Kong was the most complex video game at the time of its release, and only the second game to feature multiple levels. Read more about the Donkey Kong scoring details. Official video game scorekeeping organization Twin Galaxies has announced that the World Record on the classic arcade game Donkey Kong has changed hands for the third time this year as former champion Steve Wiebe climbs back into the top spot with a score of 1,064,500 points.


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