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Donkey Kong

Systems: Arcade, NES, Other Platforms
Release Years: 1981 (Arcade), 1985 (NES) Publisher: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Number of Players: 2 Alternating



A woman named Pauline waits as her boyfriend, Jumpman (Mario) the carpenter works on a building. As he works, Donkey Kong, a giant escaped ape from the zoo, steals Pauline and crawls up the tall tower that Jumpman is working on. Now Jumpman must climb the skyscraper and rescue Pauline from the giant ape.

This is the game that started it all for Nintendo. The company had just entered the arcade market, releasing a string of relatively unsuccessful shooting games. Shigeru Miyamoto was at this time, assigned to design another of these games. However, the programmer began working on a different project. One featuring a giant ape, a woman in distress, and a little fat carpenter who would soon undergo a career and name change. This radically different game was a huge success. Nintendo became a household name. People up into their 50's lined up to play the new and unusual game from Nintendo. The rest is history.


This was the first of so many in the line of Nintendo games which would set new standards for the video game world. The graphics and sound were standard for their time. Let's be honest. In the arcade version, DK looks like a gingerbread man, Pauline looks like she has a fish on her head, and Mario, then called Jumpman, looks for all the world like the red teletubby. The sound effects, too, were standard, featuring the beeps and blurps that all the early arcade games featured. But it was the game play which truly set this game apart from the rest of the industry. Never before had there been a story to coincide with a game. It was not often that you played a character with a name and background. And the genre had never been touched before. It's a shame to think that the new generation of gamers will take this little game for granted so much. This is a true testament to classic games, and without it we all would not have our favorite games, be they Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or otherwise.

In conclusion, all games, whether they be old or new, have their roots deeply set in this very game, and Nintendo's characters shine as proof.