The NES boxart.
|| Nintendo EAD|
Intelligent Systems (NES port)
| Release date
July 9, 1981
July 15, 1983
October 15, 1986
Famicom Disk System:
April 8, 1988 
September 16, 2002 
Game Boy Advance
February 14, 2004
June 7, 2004
July 10, 2004
Virtual Console (Wii)
November 19, 2006
December 2, 2006
December 7, 2006
December 8, 2006
Virtual Console (3DS)
October 17, 2012
Virtual Console (Wii U)
July 15, 2013
July 15, 2013
July 15, 2013
|| Up to 2 players, alternating turns
|| Standard, mini and cocktail
|| Raster, standard resolution 224 x 256 (Vertical) 256 Colors
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
The flier for the game, which was handed out in arcades, toy stores and such.
"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."
As little Mario gallantly battles his way up the barriers, he is taunted and teased by Donkey Kong, who brazenly struts back and forth, beating his chest in joyful exuberance at the prospect of having the beautiful girl all to himself. It is your job to get little Mario to the top. For it is there, and only there, that he can send the mighty Donkey Kong to his mortal doom. Leaving Little Mario and the beautiful girl to live happily ever after. "SIGH. SIGH."
Throwing fate to the wind, risking life and limb, or worse, little Mario tries desperately to climb the mighty fortress of steel, to save the lovely lady from the evil Mr. Kong. Little Mario must dodge all manner of obstacles- fireballs, plummeting beams and a barrage of exploding barrels fired at him by Donkey Kong. Amidst the beautiful girl's constant pleas for help, your challenge is to maneuver little Mario up the steel structure, while helping him to avoid the rapid-fire succession of hazards that come his way.
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."
- Main article: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
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
Mario (Jumpman) about to jump over a barrel.
Donkey Kong has four sequels to date.
In addition to the arcade version, Donkey Kong was ported into several other gaming systems and computers:
- Game & Watch
- GBA as Classic NES Series: Donkey Kong. This version, as the title implies, is not based on the arcade version, but rather the NES version, meaning 50m is also omitted.
- e-Reader for the GBA
- Famicom Disk System
- Atari 2600
- Atari 7800
- Atari 8-bit computers
- Commodore VIC-20
- Commodore 64 (Two official ports exist, one released in 1983 in North America by Atarisoft, and another released in 1986 in Europe by Ocean.)
- Texas Instruments TI-99/4A
- Amstrad CPC
- ZX Spectrum
- Coleco Adam
- Amiga (Port is not official but rather a homebrew ported directly from the Commodore 64 version)
- Coleco Tabletop
- Apple II
- In Game & Watch Gallery 2 and Game & Watch Gallery 4, Donkey Kong was one of the minigames. It could be played in both modern and classic modes.
- Two different ports of Donkey Kong have appeared on Virtual Console. The first, released in 2006, is essentially a direct port of the NES version, while the second, entitled Donkey Kong Original Edition, attempted to adhere to the arcade version, and was pre-installed for the European release of the Mario 25th Anniversary limited edition red Wii in 2010. This version restored some missing animations and the level 50m, which was cut from the NES version, although Donkey Kong mistakenly stands still in this level, and while the port's graphics are an improvement to the NES port, it is still inferior to the true arcade version, which remains unavailable on Virtual Console. The latter port was made available on the Nintendo eShop in the US between October 1, 2012 and January 6, 2013, exclusively to members of Club Nintendo who have, within the aforementioned time frame, linked their systems to their Club Nintendo accounts and have purchased the downloadable version of one of five select 3DS titles (one of which was Paper Mario: Sticker Star). There are currently no plans for a wide release of this version in the U.S.
Donkey Kong was also re-released as part of two compilation games, Donkey Kong Classics and Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr./Mario Bros., and it is featured as a playable extra in the following titles:
- Main article: List of Donkey Kong staff
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Donkey Kong (game).
The arcade machine found in the Frantic Factory.
- The twenty-second board is the final level of the game; Mario instantly dies within eight seconds of playing in the level, regardless of how many lives the player has left. This bug, known as a kill screen, happens due to a programming oversight in which the game does not have enough memory to continue. Games such as Pac-Man and Duck Hunt also have kill screens.
- Donkey Kong was the second platformer ever made; the 1980 game Space Panic was the first.
- Intelligent Systems' own website claims credit for developing the NES port for Nintendo, but neither the cartridge nor title screen mentions the company.
- There is an alternate rendition of the game called Crazy Kong, which was apparently licensed by Nintendo for non-US market distribution. Home ports exist as well.
- The Commodore 64-exclusive Mario's Brewery is based on Donkey Kong, although very little is known of its authenticity, and it is assumed to be a fangame or pirated copy of another game.
- Mario is discolored on the boxart for Donkey Kong for the NES.
- ^ Date info of Donkey Kong (FDS) from TMK, retrieved 11/25/2012
- ^ Date info of Donkey Kong (e-Reader) from TMK, retrieved 11/25/2012
|Donkey Kong series
||Donkey Kong (1981, Arcade) • Donkey Kong Jr. (1982, Arcade) • Donkey Kong 3 (1983, Arcade)
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong
||Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004, GBA) • March of the Minis (2006, DS) • Minis March Again! (2009, DSiWare) • Mini-Land Mayhem! (2010, DS) • Minis on the Move (2013, 3DS) • Tipping Stars (2015, 3DS/Wii U)
|Donkey Kong Country
||Donkey Kong Country (1994, SNES) • Donkey Kong Country 2 (1995, SNES) • Donkey Kong Country 3 (1996, SNES) • Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010, Wii) • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (2014, Wii U)
|Donkey Kong Land
||Donkey Kong Land (1995, GB) • Donkey Kong Land 2 (1996, GB) • Donkey Kong Land III (1997, GB)
||Donkey Konga (2003, GC) • Donkey Konga 2 (2004, GC) • Donkey Konga 3: Tabehōdai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku (2005, GC)
||Diddy Kong Racing (1997, N64) • Diddy Kong Racing DS (2007, NDS) • Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (2007, Wii)
||Donkey Kong Jr. Math (1983, NES) • Donkey Kong Hockey (1984, G&W) • Donkey Kong Circus (1984, G&W) • Donkey Kong 64 (1999, N64) • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (2004, GCN) • Donkey Kong: Jungle Fever (2005, Arcade) • DK: King of Swing (2005, GBA) • Donkey Kong: Banana Kingdom (2006, Arcade) • DK: Jungle Climber (2007, NDS)
||Donkey Kong (1982, G&W) • Donkey Kong Jr. (1982, G&W) • Donkey Kong II (1983, G&W) • Donkey Kong Jr. + Jr. Math Lesson (1983, NES) • Donkey Kong 3 (1984, G&W) • Donkey Kong Classics (1988, NES) • Donkey Kong (1994, GB) • Classic NES Series: Donkey Kong (2004, GBA) • Diddy Kong Racing DS (2007, DS) • New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (Wii, 2008) • Donkey Kong Original Edition (2010, VC) • Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (2013, 3DS)
||Super Mario series
||Super Mario Bros. (1985, NES) • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (1986, FCD) • Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988, NES) • Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988, NES) • Super Mario World (1990, SNES) • Super Mario 64 (1996, N64) • Super Mario Sunshine (2002, GCN) • New Super Mario Bros. (2006, NDS) • Super Mario Galaxy (2007, Wii) • New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009, Wii) • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010, Wii) • Super Mario 3D Land (2011, 3DS) • New Super Mario Bros. 2 (2012, 3DS) • New Super Mario Bros. U (2012, Wii U) • Super Mario 3D World (2013, Wii U)
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
||Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004, GBA) • Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (2006, DS) • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (2009, DSiWare) • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (2010, DS) • Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (2013, 3DS) • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (2015, 3DS/Wii U)
||Donkey Kong (1981) • Mario Bros. (1983) • Mario's Cement Factory (1983, G&W) • Mario's Bombs Away (1983, G&W) • Mario Bros. Special (1984, PC88) • Punch Ball Mario Bros. (1984, PC88) • Wrecking Crew (1985, NES) • Super Mario Bros. Special (1986, PC88) • Super Mario Land (1989, GB) • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992, GB) • Hotel Mario (1994, Philips CD-i) • Donkey Kong (1994, Game Boy) • Mario Clash (1995, VB) • Wrecking Crew '98 (1998, SFC)
|Ports and remakes
||Donkey Kong (1982, G&W) • Mario Bros. (1983, G&W) • Vs. Super Mario Bros. (1986, Arcade) • All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. (1986, FCD) • Super Mario Bros. (1987, G&W) • Super Mario All-Stars (1993, SNES) • Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World (1994, SNES) • BS Super Mario USA (1997, SNES) • Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (1999, GBC) • Super Mario Advance (2001, GBA) • Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (2002, GBA) • Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (2003, GBA) • Famicom Mini Series (2004, GBA) • Classic NES Series (2004-2005, GBA) • Super Mario 64 DS (2004, NDS) • Virtual Console (2006-current, Wii) • Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition (2010, Wii) • Virtual Console (2011-current, 3DS) • New Super Luigi U (2013, Wii U) • Luigi Bros. (2013, Wii U)
||Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996, SNES) • Paper Mario (2000, N64) • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (2003, GBA) • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004, GCN) • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (2005, NDS) • Super Paper Mario (2007, Wii) • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (2009, NDS) • Paper Mario: Sticker Star (2012, 3DS) • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (2013, 3DS) • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (2016, 3DS)
| Mario Kart series
||Super Mario Kart (1992, SNES) • Mario Kart 64 (1996, N64) • Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001, GBA) • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003, GCN) • Mario Kart Arcade GP (2005, Arcade) • Mario Kart DS (2005, NDS) • Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 (2007, Arcade) • Mario Kart Wii (2008, Wii) • Mario Kart 7 (2011, 3DS) • Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (2013, Arcade) • Mario Kart 8 (2014, Wii U)
| Mario Party series
||Mario Party (1998, N64) • Mario Party 2 (1999, N64) • Mario Party 3 (2000, N64) • Mario Party 4 (2002, GCN) • Mario Party-e (2003, GBA) • Mario Party 5 (2003, GCN) • Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party (2004, Arcade) • Mario Party 6 (2004, GCN) • Mario Party Advance (2005, GBA) • Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party 2 (2005, Arcade) • Mario Party 7 (2006, GCN) • Mario Party 8 (2007, Wii) • Mario Party DS (2007, NDS) • Mario Party Fushigi no Korokoro Catcher (2009, Arcade) • Mario Party 9 (2012, Wii) • Mario Party: Island Tour (2013, 3DS) • Mario Party 10 (2015, Wii U)
||Mario Baseball series
||Mario Superstar Baseball (2005, GCN) • Mario Super Sluggers (2008, Wii)
| Mario Golf series
||Golf (1984) • NES Open Tournament Golf (1991, NES) • Mario Golf (1999, N64) • Mario Golf (1999, GBC) • Mobile Golf (2001, GBC) • Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (2003, GCN) • Mario Golf: Advance Tour (2004, GBA) • Mario Golf: World Tour (2014, 3DS)
|Mario Strikers series
||Super Mario Strikers (2005, GCN) • Mario Strikers Charged (2007, Wii)
|Mario Tennis series
|| Mario's Tennis (1995, VB) • Mario Tennis 64 (2000, N64) • Mario Tennis (2000, GBC) • Mario Power Tennis (2004, GCN) • Mario Tennis: Power Tour (2005, GBA) • Mario Tennis Open (2012, 3DS) • Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (2015, Wii U)
||NBA Street V3 (2005, GCN) • SSX on Tour (2005, GCN) • Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (2006, NDS) • Mario Sports Mix (2010, Wii)
|| Mario & Sonic series
||Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (2007, Wii) • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (2007, NDS) • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2009, Wii) • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2009, NDS) • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (2011, Wii) • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (2012, 3DS) • Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (2013, Wii U) • Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (2016, Wii U) • Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (2016, 3DS)
| Super Smash Bros. series
|| Super Smash Bros. (1999, N64) • Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001, GCN) • Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008, Wii) • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (2014, 3DS) • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (2014, Wii U)
||Mario Teaches Typing (1991, MS-DOS) • Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up (1991, MS-DOS) • Mario is Missing! (1993) • Mario's Time Machine (1993) • Mario's Early Years! Fun with Letters (1993) • Mario's Early Years! Fun with Numbers (1994) • Mario's Early Years! Preschool Fun (1994) • Mario Teaches Typing 2 (1996, MS-DOS)
||Super Mario Bros. Print World (1991, MS-DOS) • Mario Paint (1992, SNES) • Mario no Photopi (1998, N64) • Mario Artist: Paint Studio (1999, N64DD) • Mario Artist: Talent Studio (2000, N64DD) • Mario Artist: Communication Kit (2000, N64DD) • Mario Artist: Polygon Studio (2000, N64DD)
||Mario & Wario (1993, SNES) • Yoshi's Safari (1993, SNES) • Undake30 Same Game (1995, SFC) • Mario's Game Gallery (1995, MS-DOS) • Mario's Picross (1995, GB) • Mario's Super Picross (1995, SFC) • Picross 2 (1996, GB) • Excitebike: Bun Bun Mario Battle Stadium (1997, Satellaview) • Mario's FUNdamentals (1998, MS-DOS) • Mario Pinball Land (2004, GBA) • Super Mario Fushigi no Janjan Land (2003, Arcade) • Yakuman DS (2005, NDS) • Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix (2005, GCN) • Itadaki Street DS (2007, NDS) • Fortune Street (2011, Wii) • Nintendo Land (2012, Wii U) • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (2014, Wii U) • Super Mario Maker (2015, Wii U) • Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition (2015, 3DS)