Donkey Kong (Game & Watch)

From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
Donkey Kong
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Platforms Game & Watch
Release date June 3, 1982
Genre Platformer
Rating(s) N/A
Mode(s) Single player
Game & Watch:
Game & Watch:
Gameplay of Donkey Kong in Game & Watch Collection

Donkey Kong is a dual-screen Game & Watch version of the classic arcade game. It was released as a part of the Multi Screen series on June 3, 1982, and has the model number DK-52.[1] It has similar gameplay to the arcade version: Donkey Kong has captured Pauline, and Mario must rescue her. The game was later ported to Game & Watch Gallery 2 and Game & Watch Gallery 4, both of which include an updated "Modern" version of the game. 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.


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.


Classic version[edit]

The Classic version of Donkey Kong from Game & Watch Gallery 2
The Classic version of Donkey Kong from Game & Watch Gallery 4

The game takes place over two screens. Mario starts at the bottom left of the bottom screen. The player must move right and dodge Donkey Kong's barrels by pressing the jump button. Mario can jump over barrels only if no girder is above his head. Mario receives a point for jumping over a barrel on the first girder. When Mario reaches the ladder, the player must press Up to climb to the second girder and move back to the left. When Mario climbs the next ladder, he will appear on the top screen. Once there, the player can press Left to activate the crane, then the player can move to the right, dodging more barrels, receiving two points for doing so on the second girder. When the crane hook swings all the way to the left, Mario can jump to grab it and cut one of the wires holding Donkey Kong's girder, earning from five to twenty points depending on how fast he does the job. Mario will then return to the beginning of the level. When he cuts all four wires, he defeats Donkey Kong, awarding Mario 20 points.

The barrels become faster the more of them Mario jumps over in a single run. If Mario does not reach Donkey Kong quickly, then the barrels will move too fast for Mario to jump over. After Mario activates the crane, the hook will swing left and right twice and then stop. Mario will then have to reactivate the crane for another chance. If a barrel hits Mario, if he jumps and hits a moving iron girder, or if he jumps and misses the hook, he gets a miss and returns to the starting point. The game ends when he loses three lives.

If Mario gains 300 points without any misses, he will begin "Chance Time": The score will flash, and all points will be worth double until he does get a miss. If he has any misses at said score, he will earn an extra life instead. Mario can have up to three extra lives.

The maximum score that a player can get in this game is 999 points. If the player gets a higher score, the score tally will reset to zero points.

The Classic version in the Game & Watch Gallery series maintains the presence of two screens, but since the Game Boy systems had only one screen, the player had to press B Button to toggle which screen is minimized off to the side and which is the "main" screen.

Modern version[edit]

The Modern version of Donkey Kong from Game & Watch Gallery 2
The Modern version of Donkey Kong from Game & Watch Gallery 4

The Modern version of the game has Peach substituting for Pauline, and Koopa Troopas and Para Troopas also make appearances. In this version, Mario needs to flip a switch that makes a platform appear and opens a door above it. Then he needs to jump onto the platform and make his way to the door before it closes. Mario can stomp Koopas to defeat them, earning bonus points in the process. In this version, Mario earns 15 points for defeating Donkey Kong. The setting also changes after every time Mario defeats Donkey Kong: The first level takes place in a factory, the second level takes place in a jungle, and the final level takes place on a glacier at nighttime (an airship at daytime in Game & Watch Gallery 4). At 200, 500, and 700 points, a heart will appear for Mario to remove a miss. Music is also featured, with the tempo changing depending on the speed of the game.

In Game & Watch Gallery 4, 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 ends 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.


Classic version[edit]

  • +Control Pad: Move
  • A Button: Jump
  • B Button: Switch "main" screen

Modern version[edit]

  • +Control Pad: Move
  • A Button and B Button: Jump


Modern version[edit]

Game & Watch Gallery 2[edit]

Game & Watch Gallery 4[edit]


  • 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]