Donkey Kong (Game & Watch)

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Donkey Kong
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Game & Watch
Release date June 3, 1982
Genre Platformer
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
Mode(s) Single player
Game & Watch:
Game & Watch:

Donkey Kong is a dual-screen Game & Watch version of the classic arcade game, which was released June 3, 1982 and has the model number: DK-52[1].

The game was later ported to Game & Watch Gallery 2 and Game & Watch Gallery 4. The Classic version maintains the presence of two screens, but since the Game Boy systems only had one screen, the player had to press B to toggle which screen is minimized off to the side and which is the "main" screen. The Modern version has Peach substituting for Pauline, and Koopa Troopas and Paratroopas also make appearances. A more recent port of Donkey Kong was released in Game & Watch Collection for the dual-screened Nintendo DS, allowing for an exact replication of the original gameplay. In the latter game, selecting the game and waiting will result in a humorous sequence being played. In it, Peach is admiring Mario trying to balance on a barrel. Unfortunately, this ends up going south when Mario ended up having trouble balancing and causing it to roll, forcing Peach to flee until Donkey Kong gets in the way of the barrel, causing it to smash and send Mario flying, with Peach admiring Donkey Kong instead.


Donkey Kong captured a beautiful girl and carries her into a building under construction. The brave carpenter, Mario comes to rescue her following them over the girders. Donkey Kong throws barrels at Mario to stop him. Knock the girder out from under Donkey Kong to save the girl.


Gameplay of Donkey Kong in Game & Watch Collection.

The game takes place over two screens. Mario starts at the bottom left of the bottom screen. Move right and dodge Donkey Kong's barrels by pressing the jump button. When Mario reaches the ladder, press Up to climb to the second girder and move back to the left. When he climbs the next ladder he will appear on the top screen.

Once on the top screen, the player can press Left to activate the crane, then the player can move to the right dodging more barrels. When the crane swings all the way to the left, Mario can Jump to grab it and cut one of the wires holding Donkey Kong's girder. Mario will then return to the beginning of the level. Cut all four wires to clear the level and receive a score bonus.

  • Mario can jump over barrels only if there is no girder above his head.
  • Barrels become faster the more of them Mario jumps over in a single run. If Mario doesn't reach Donkey Kong quickly then barrels will move too fast for Mario to jump over.
  • After activating the crane, it will swing left and right twice and then stop. Mario will then have to reactivate it for another chance.
  • If Mario is hit by a barrel.
  • If Mario jumps and hits a moving iron girder.
  • If Mario jumps and misses the crane.

If Mario gets a miss, he will return to the starting point.

  • 1pt for jumping over a barrel on the first girder.
  • 2pts for jumping over a barrel on the second girder.
  • 5-20pts for cutting one of Donkey Kong's wires (depending on how fast Mario reached it)
  • 20pts when all four wires are cut.
  • Maximum score is 999pts. Get a higher score and the score tally will reset to 0pts.
  • For every 300pts Mario gains, he earns an extra life. Mario can have up to three extra lives. If he gains 300pts with no misses, Mario will begin "Chance Time": the score will flash and all points will be worth double until Mario gets a miss.
Game Modes
  • Game A starts easy and is for beginners.
  • Game B is faster and more difficult. For experts.


  • In the Japanese instructions the protagonist is referred to as Kyūjo Man (救助マン, lit. "rescue man"), as the name Mario was not yet officially established for the character.
    • Similarly the captive girl is unnamed in the English instructions and referred to as "Lady" in the Japanese instructions. However, an English print ad for the game refers to her as Louise, as the name Pauline was not yet officially established either.[2]
  • Donkey Kong was one of the most popular Game & Watch titles, selling over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.[1]
  • The Donkey Kong Game & Watch unit was the very first piece of video game hardware to use the now-iconic cross-shaped directional pad.[3]


  1. ^ a b Donkey Kong info page on In The Attic, a website dedicated to classic videogames Retrieved 13 November 2010
  2. ^ Game & Watch Donkey Kong print ad (via Joystiq)
  3. ^ Iwata Asks : Game & Watch : Recreating Ball 30 Years Later