Donkey Kong

Platforms: Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, Coleco Adam, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, IBM PC/Compatibles, Intellivision, MSX, NES / Famicom, TI-99/4A, ZX Spectrum


Main Genre:
Gameplay Style:
Visual Presentation:
Fixed / Flip Screen


Arcade version of Donkey Kong
Arcade version of Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong is an action game originally released in arcades by Nintendo in 1981 and later ported to numerous consoles and computer systems. As Jumpman (later to become Nintendo's famous mascot Mario), players need to jump and climb their way up through various platforms and obstacles of a construction site to save Pauline, the damsel in distress, from a giant gorilla. Donkey Kong was an enormous success and one of the games that helped define the new platform genre of games. It is also one of the earliest games to feature a storyline and uses animated scenes at the start of the game and between levels. Several sequels followed along with the series being later revived on the Super NES in the form of the Donkey Kong Country Series.


Donkey Kong is played with a side view and is broken up into four different stages. The stages of the game are:

  • In the first stage, players need to climb to the top of a structure consisting of various girders and ladders. Donkey Kong throws down oil drums which need to be avoided; the drums will also catch fire when they reach the bottom of the platforms and will then move around the screen at random.
  • The second stage features several horizontal conveyor belts players need to cross while crossing the screen in order to reach the next ladder to climb upwards. Flaming oil drums and other obstacles are in the way and need to be avoided.
  • The third stage features numerous small platforms and ladders along with moving conveyor belts; flames also wander the structure and need to be avoided while bouncing springs appear and fall from the top of the screen. Players need to climb and jump past all of the obstacles to reach the top.
  • The final stage consists of four platforms each held up by two rivets. To complete the stage, players need to walk or jump over the rivets causing them to disappear. Once all the rivets are gone, the platforms fall with Donkey Kong on them and allows Jumpman to finally rescue Pauline.
Each level in the game is made of two or more of these stages; the first level features only the first and last stage, then a third stage is added, and finally each level of the game features all four stages which then repeat with increasing difficulty.

To navigate each stage, Jumpman is able to run left or right, climb up and down ladders, and (of course) jump. In each stage, there are also hammers which can be picked up for temporary defense. The hammers allow oil drums, fires, and other obstacles to be destroyed, but while carrying a hammer players are unable to jump or climb. The hammer can't be dropped, but will instead disappear automatically after a short time. While the primary goal is to rescue Pauline, points are also awarded for jumping over obstacles, destroying items with the hammer, collecting bonus items located throughout each stage, removing rivets, and for completing a stage. Players begin with a limited number of lives; a life is lost for falling too far, touching a dangerous object (fires, oil drums, etc.), touching Donkey Kong, or running out of time. Additional lives can be earned after certain point thresholds, and the game ends when players have no lives remaining.


Due to system limitations, most of the home versions of the game don't include all four stages found in the original arcade version. This includes the Atari 2600, Intellivision, TI-99/4A, and VIC-20 versions which have only two stages and other versions having only three stages.


Platform: Apple II
Programmed by: Michael Cranford
Platform: Atari 2600
Programmed by: Garry Kitchen
Platform: Intellivision
Programmed by: Garry Kitchen
Platform: TI-99/4A
Programmed by: Douglas Brian Craig, Howard E. Scheer


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Donkey Kong
Arcade Version


Instruction Manual
Atari 7800
Instruction Manual
IBM PC/Compatibles
Instruction Manual
Instruction Manual


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Donkey Kong has appeared in.
*Note: If you are unable to see any images in this section, you may have an ad blocker installed that is blocking the thumbnails and/or images.
Arcade Flyers
Magazine Advertisements
Product Catalogs

Related Games

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles:

Game Features

This game has been tagged with the following features: