Donkey Kong (game)
Donkey Kong was an arcade game that was Nintendo's first big hit in North America. It also marked the first appearance of Mario (originally known as "Jumpman", a carpenter) and of the original Donkey Kong. A version of the game was also created later for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo's first home console. The game sold well in the United States, becoming one of four games to be inducted into the Nintendo Hall of Fame. The original arcade version had four screen levels, but the Nintendo Entertainment System version only has three, with the stage 50m cut from this version.
Donkey Kong has escaped from his owner, Mario, and kidnapped Mario's girlfriend, Pauline (originally known as Lady), taking her to the top of a construction site. Mario must climb to the top of this construction site and rescue Pauline from the giant ape.
Official story quoted from Nintendo of America
"HELP! HELP!" cries the beautiful damsel in distress as she is dragged up a labyrinth of structural beams by the ominous Donkey Kong. "SNORT. SNORT." Foreboding music warns of the eventual doom that awaits the poor girl, lest she be miraculously rescued. "But wait! Fear not, fair maiden. Little Mario, the carpenter, is in hot pursuit of you this very moment."
Donkey Kong was created when Shigeru Miyamoto, under the supervision of the late Gunpei Yokoi, was assigned by Nintendo to convert Radar Scope, a poorly selling arcade game in North America, into a game that would have more appeal to gamers. Shigeru Miyamoto later admitted that he did not focus on the story of the game. He also said that Jumpman (later to be renamed Mario) and the Lady were not intended to have a relationship, and he did not know where the connection idea came from, but he thought that it did not matter much. Regardless, the resulting game was a major breakthrough for Nintendo and for the video game industry, becoming one of the best selling arcade machines of its time. Its platforming gameplay also distinguished it from most other arcade games at the time.
In 1982, around a year after the game's release, Universal Studios sued Nintendo, claiming that Donkey Kong infringed on Universal Studios' intellectual property rights to the film King Kong. Howard Lincoln, attorney and future president of Nintendo of America, decided to fight the case and hired seasoned attorney John Kirby to represent Nintendo. When Kirby showed that not only was Nintendo not in violation of any copyrights, but also that Universal Studios themselves had sued RKO Pictures in 1975 to prove that the plot of King Kong was in fact in the public domain, Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled in Nintendo's favor, ordering Universal to pay Nintendo $1.8 million in legal fees. In an ironic twist, Judge Sweet also ruled that Tiger's King Kong video game, licensed by Universal, infringed on Donkey Kong. After the victory, Nintendo awarded John Kirby with a $30,000 sailboat, christened the Donkey Kong, and gave him "exclusive worldwide rights to use the name for sailboats."
In 2007, a documentary film directed by Seth Gordon based off Donkey Kong was released. The film centers around high school teacher Steve Wiebe as he tries to achieve a world record for obtaining the highest score in the game, which is held by Billy Mitchell at the time.
Sequels and ports
Donkey Kong has four sequels to date.
In addition to the arcade version, Donkey Kong was ported into several other gaming systems and computers: