Donkey Kong is an arcade game that was Nintendo’s first big hit in North America. It marked the beginning of the Mario franchise games, and introduced several of the earliest characters, including Mario himself (originally known as “Jumpman”, a carpenter rather than a plumber), the original Donkey Kong (who, in later games, would become Cranky Kong, the current Donkey Kong’s grandfather), and Pauline (originally known as the Lady), who now frequently appears in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. A version of the game was also created later for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo’s first home console, under Arcade Classics Series. The game sold very 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. This game was also the first title to be released on Virtual Console.
Donkey Kong has kidnapped the beautiful Lady (Pauline in the NES conversion) to a dangerous construction site. Jumpman (Mario in home ports and promotional materials) must climb to the top of this construction site and rescue the Lady from the giant ape.
Official story quoted from Nintendo of America
“HELP! HELP!” cries the beautiful maiden 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 somehow be miraculously rescued. “But wait! Fear not, fair maiden. Little Mario, the carpenter, is in hot pursuit of you this very moment.”
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.
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.”
So, if you want the most exciting, most fun-filled, most talked about family video game on the market, don’t monkey around with anything but the original Donkey Kong.
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 more gamers. Shigeru Miyamoto later admitted that he did not focus on the story of the game, instead creating a basic plot with colourful characters and music that he himself penned. He 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.