Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. It is an early example of the platform game genre, as the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles. In the game, Jumpman (since renamed Mario) must rescue a damsel in distress, Lady (now named Pauline), from a giant ape named Donkey Kong (who would later become Cranky Kong). The hero and ape later became two of Nintendo's most popular and recognizable characters. Donkey Kong is one of the most important titles from the Golden Age of Video Arcade Games, and became one of the most popular arcade games of all time.
Donkey Kong (NES version)
Following 1980's Space Panic, Donkey Kong is one of the earliest examples of the platform game genre even prior to the term being coined; the U.S. gaming press used climbing game for games with platforms and ladders. As the first platform game to feature jumping, Donkey Kong requires the player to jump between gaps and over obstacles or approaching enemies, setting the template for the future of the genre. With its four unique stages, Donkey Kong is the most complex arcade game of the time, and one of the first arcade games with multiple stages, following games such as 1980's Phoenix and 1981's Gorf and Scramble.
In addition to the goal of saving Pauline, the player has a score. Points are awarded for the following: leaping over obstacles; destroying objects with a hammer power-up; collecting items such as hats, parasols, and purses (presumably belonging to Pauline); removing rivets from platforms; and completing each stage according to a steadily decreasing bonus counter. The player starts with three lives with a bonus life awarded at 7,000 points, adjustable via DIP switches. A life is lost when Mario touches Donkey Kong or any enemy object, falls too far, or lets the bonus counter reach zero. The game ends when all lives are lost.
Each of the four single-screen stages represents 25 meters of the structure Donkey Kong has climbed: 25, 50, 75, and 100 meters. Stage one involves Mario scaling a construction site made of crooked girders and ladders while jumping over or hammering barrels and oil drums tossed by Donkey Kong. Stage two involves climbing a five-story structure of conveyor belts, each of which transport cement pans. The third stage involves the player riding elevators while avoiding bouncing springs. The final stage requires Mario to remove eight rivets from the platforms supporting Donkey Kong; this causes Donkey Kong to fall and the hero to be reunited with Pauline. These four stages combine to form one level.
After each level, the stages repeat with increased difficulty. For example, Donkey Kong begins to hurl barrels faster and sometimes diagonally, and fireballs speed up. The victory music alternates between levels 1 and 2. The fourth level consists of 5 stages with the final stage at 125 meters. The 22nd level is colloquially known as the kill screen, due to a programming error that kills Mario after a few seconds, effectively ending the game. However, in the Japanese Version 1, the player can complete all the stages up to 100 meters. 100 meters in level 22 is the true kill screen of this version.
Find digital download of this game on
The NES version of Donkey Kong was originally controlled via the NES controller with a cross-shaped joypad and two action buttons. The basic description of game controls is summarized in the table below. Detailed description of how to play this game can be found a in the attached game manual. Please note that individual
gamepad buttons are emulated by different keys on your PC keyboard depending on the settings of your online emulator (see the table next to the game).
Use the D-pad to control Mario's movement. Pushing left or right makes Mario run, while pushing up or down makes Mario climb or descend ladders.
Pushing A button makes Mario jump. If the button is pushed alone, Mario will jump straight up, but if the left or right button is pressed at the same time, Mario will perform a running jump in either direction.
Press SELECT on the title screen menu to choose between a one or two player game.
Press START on the title screen to start the game. Press START during play to pause. Press again to resume play.
This version of Donkey Kong was designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was an eight-bit video game console manufactured
by Nintendo in the years 1983 - 2003. In that time, it was the best-selling video game console for which more than 700 licensed games and a number of non-licensed
games were created. Worldwide, approximately 62 million units of this console were sold at approximately price $ 100 per unit. More information about the
NES console can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller on Amazon or AliExpress or in some of your favorite online stores.
Available online emulators:
6 different online emulators are available for Donkey Kong. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Donkey Kong are summarized in the following table:
If you like Donkey Kong you'll probably like also some of the similar games in the overview below. The games you see here
are selected based on title similarity, game genre, and keywords. However, the list is generated automatically and can therefore be very 'subjective'
especially for some specific games. To find a particular game, please use our search form.
This website is NOT sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Atari, Sega or by any other video games company.
RetroGames.cz makes no claim to the intellectual property contained in the individual games.
Text content of RetroGames.cz
is available under the
Creative Commons 3.0 License. You can copy it freely, but indicate the origin and keep the license.