Jumpman must save Pauline from the giant ape Donkey Kong.



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The classic tale of a man saving a beautiful damsel from the clutches of an evil beast has been played out many times, most notably in the classic "King Kong." This basic premise served as the plotline for one of the all-time classic video arcade games, Donkey Kong. Released in the fall of 1981, Donkey Kong introduced us to two characters that would soon become mascots for then-fledgling Nintendo: Mario, a carpenter (he was first known as "Jumpman") and Donkey Kong, a fearsome gorilla who aimed to do harm to Mario. The story went thusly: Donkey Kong was an evil gorilla who had kidnapped Mario's girlfriend, Pauline (to do who-knows-what to her), and Mario came to save the day. The player controlled Mario through four different playing fields, dodging whatever Donkey Kong hurled at him. Completing each level awarded a bonus and the player moved on to another round. The rounds included the Ramps (six ramps, where Mario dodged wooden barrels and flaming oil barrels); Factory (! Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everyone's going ape over Donkey Kong! See more »



Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donkey King  »

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Did You Know?


Re-released in the summer of 2004 as part of the classic NES game series for Game Boy Advance. See more »


There is a bug in the game that randomly occurs when Jumpman jumps over a barrel, and is not awarded any points for it. See more »


Introduction screen: How high can you get?
See more »


Referenced in Pixels (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Donkey Kong is and always will be THE BEST if you have nothing else better to do
10 July 2007 | by (Richmond, VA USA) – See all my reviews

I was crazy about King Kong both 1933 and 1976 versions. When I turned 10 in 1981 at Addalin's Palace in the Granite Run Mall, my brother introduced me to Donkey King . . . it featured "King Kong" throwing barrels down at Mario who was trying to rescue a kidnapped girl JUST LIKE KING KONG in the sense of the kidnapped girl . . Donkey Kong therefore became a mighty Joe young descendant my mind. Then the next year COLECOVISION brought Donkey Kong home and followed by the LED stand alone version. After which Donkey Kong Jr and Donkey Kong 3 cam along. I still have my two-screen LCD Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong 2 games in my nightstand. My reflexes are just as sharp too even. Of course some people will not find this helpful. But I'm nuts about Donkey Kong. and of course we cant forget the awesome ADAM computer super game packs and the Atari 2600 King Kong and Odyssey 2's Pick-AX Pete spin offs. PLEASE RELSEASE DONKEY KONH for Gamecube and Wii in its original form!!!!

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