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Donkey Kong (video game) facts for kids

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Donkey Kong
Developer(s) Nintendo
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Gunpei Yokoi
Series Donkey Kong/Mario
Engine Radar Scope
Platform(s) Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, ColecoVision, Intellivision, Atari 8-bit family, Apple II, Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, TI-99/4A, ZX Spectrum, PC:DOS, MSX, NES, Famicom Disk System, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console (Wii, 3DS, Wii U), NES Classic Edition/Famicom Mini, Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online
Release date(s) Arcade:
2600, ColecoVision, INTV:
Atari 8-bit, Apple II, C64, TI-99, MS-DOS:
  • NA 1983
NES port:
Famicom Disk System:
Game Boy Advance:
Virtual Console (3DS):
Virtual Console (Wii U):
NES Classic Edition/Famicom Mini:
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives):
Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online:
Genre(s) Arcade
Mode(s) Up to two players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright, mini, and cocktail
Arcade system Main CPU: Zilog Z80 (@ 3.072 MHz)
Sound CPU: I8035 (@ 400 kHz)
Sound Chips: DAC (@ 400 kHz), Samples (@ 400 kHz)

Donkey Kong is an arcade video game made by Nintendo in 1981. It was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi after their other games failed in North America. It is the first game starring Mario (then called Jumpman) and Donkey Kong, where Mario has to climb a construction site to save his girlfriend Pauline from Donkey Kong, an escaped gorilla.


The player is Jumpman (Mario). He must climb to the top of the level to reach his girlfriend Pauline who has been kidnapped by Donkey Kong, who escaped from a zoo. There are four different levels, and Donkey Kong has different weapons in each. Donkey Kong rolls barrels down a busted construction site, and Mario has to climb ladders and jump over these barrels until he reaches the top. He can grab a hammer to defeat obstacles, and each level has three of Pauline's things that will give him bonus points.

When Mario beats the fourth level, it goes back to the first level and it gets harder. Like all arcade games with looping levels has an end level because the game cannot go farther than that. In this, Mario dies ten seconds into the final level.


The music was made by Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka. Several remixes have been made of music from this game and used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.


Shigeru Miyamoto made Donkey Kong with the help of other people, such as Gunpei Yokoi. It was based on an older Nintendo game called Radar Scope, which did not do very well in the United States, so Hiroshi Yamauchi, the president of Nintendo, asked Miyamoto to make a game to replace Radar Scope.


There are a lot of rumors about where the name comes from. One rumor says that someone misheard or mistranslated the phrase "Monkey Kong" into Donkey Kong when talking over the phone or on a fax machine. Another rumor is that Miyamoto used a Japanese-to-English dictionary to find words that meant stubborn gorilla and came up with Donkey Kong.

Sequels and re-releases

Donkey Kong has had many sequels. Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong 3 were sequels to this game. The playable character called Mario went on to become the biggest game character of all time, making Nintendo more than 1 billion dollars and releasing more than 200 games, more than any other series. Donkey Kong went on to have his own series apart from Mario, starting with Donkey Kong Country for the Super NES. Donkey Kong also starred in many more sequels, as well as spin-offs like the Donkey Konga music games.

Donkey Kong has been re-released many times; first on the Nintendo Entertainment System where it was the same game except that it does not have the second level. It has also appeared on other consoles including Atari consoles. A sequel came out for the Game Boy called Donkey Kong, which has the first four levels and 100 new levels after that.

Donkey Kong appeared as a bonus game in the Frantic Factory level for Donkey Kong 64.

This game has not to be confused with the Game & Watch Donkey Kong Jr. portable game console, because the history of the game is a little different. In the Game & Watch version, the main character is Donkey Kong Jr., that has to save its father Donkey Kong from Mario. This game recently released for the Nintendo DSi as a downloadable for the cost of 200 Nintendo Points.

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