Tag Archives: Donkey Kong

Game Boy Essentials: Donkey Kong

You know Donkey Kong, right? Classic Nintendo arcade game, origin of Mario? Sure you do.

Donkey Kong is a classic with good reason: it’s solid arcade fare. Its mechanics are simple and straightforward to understand, it’s friendly to quick play sessions, it’s enormously addictive and it consistently challenges its players with just minor, progressively more difficult variations on the same four levels.

The 1994 Game Boy version surely can’t be anything particularly special, right? Or could it? Well, it came out thirteen years after the arcade original, so either someone at Nintendo was really confident in the staying power of its early arcade games — actually not all that unreasonable an assumption — or something interesting was going on.

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Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong

Today, Nintendo is primarily known for its excellent first-party games that it produces for its unique consoles and handhelds. But there was a time when Nintendo games were a lot more platform-agnostic than they are now.

That time was the early ’80s — specifically, the years before the release of the Famicom in 1983, and its Western incarnation, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985. During this time, Nintendo was making arcade games. And there was a great hunger for ports of these arcade games to home-based systems of the time.

Nintendo’s 1981 classic Donkey Kong was a game that got ported to pretty much every platform imaginable at the time. And the 1983 version for Atari home computers was one of the best.

This is a cross-post with my new site AtariXL; please head over there and follow if you’re interested in Atari computers, games, software and hardware!

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