Okay everyone it’s time to put our Nostalgic Glasses on once again. Muster the rest of the nostalgic gear that we have so we can return to a time when games were simpler. A time when games came out and cost only a fraction of what they do today. These were the times that games were contained in giant wood boxes or are encased in a hard plastic cartridge that wouldn’t scratch as easily as todays blue rays or DVD’s. Other games of the time were actually easier to destroy or damage in their flimsy plastic packages that held a medium disk inside, that beheld entertainment goodness that would become the predecessor of many great things. Whatever its’ chosen game platform and how we interacted with those platforms these were the times of LEGENDS.
NOSTALGIC GLASSES… The Dawning of the Glasses
Our Next game to honor and return to started several major game series. This game was titled after the antagonist. It would have it’s one and only protagonist’s name changed alongside the plot device: damsel in distress’s name as well. Two characters would move on to great prominence and create games that surely will be/have been reviewed or talked about through Nostalgic Glasses or some other segment on this blog. Meanwhile, the third character (number two of two human characters) would completely be replaced with a more prominent and affluent character in the offshoot game series.
Donkey Kong, A platforming Arcade game that hit the United States in 1981.
This game is an early example of platform games, where in the player manipulates the character across a stage/level going through various puzzles and obstacles until the player reaches a point or some target. In Donkey Kong that target is reaching the top of the level to save the main characters girlfriend from his enraged pet gorilla.
Originally Nintendo wanted the game to be a licensed game based on the Popeye comic strip however, at the time Nintendo did not win the rights to the Popeye License and due to its failed marketing to North America prior to Donkey Kong, Nintendo sought to create characters that would work in the market.
Nintendo would turn to industrial designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the now famous video game designer and creator of some of the most successful game series of all time. Miyamoto would keep to the three character “love triangle” theme that was to be used if Nintendo had won the licensing deal.
The antagonist became an ape; Donkey Kong who was a pet of the protagonist Jumpman who was a simple carpenter and everyman that anyone could relate to in the 1980’s world. To complete the triangle Miyamoto chose Jumpman’s girlfriend to play the damsel who’s in distress after the pet ape (DK) kidnaps her and carries her to the top of a construction site. The kidnapping happens after Jumpman, a simple man as he was mistreats his pet ape which leads DK to escape and kidnap Lady (Jumpman’s girlfriend).
Most people know or have heard of DK. Many people today would not recognize Jumpman despite recognizing his clothing style and his updated iteration and spinoff games. Jumpman would be renamed in later iterations to Mario, yes Mario Mario the same Mario from the Mario Bro’s and its own spinoff games. Lady herself would have her name changed in later iterations/remakes of the original Donkey Kong, to Pauline. Though Pauline would get replaced by Princess Peach as the love interest forevermore in Super Mario Bros. and the spinoff games to Mario (Jumpman).
Before Mario would become Mario and was known as Jumpman he would along with this game become the original inspiration for the 1983 platform game titled Jumpman. Donkey Kong as a game is regarded as one of the first platform games in the video game industry and was the first to actually include jumping as a part of game play. This innovation in of itself is a reason for this game to be honored and played even unto this day.
Donkey Kong originally started as an Arcade game and would be later ported to ColecoVision Console and to Atari and Intellivision, Commodore 64 and PC before Nintendo created their Famicom (Family Computer) Console/Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The Arcade game would go on to have sequels: Donkey Kong Junior where Mario would have his only appearance as an antagonist in video games. As well as Donkey Kong 3. These sequels tie into the importance of this game as and influence in the videogame world.
Even to today this game, its ports and sequels brought forth characters that would leave this game and create influential game series of their own. Donkey Kong, the antagonist would later see his own game series where he was a protagonist; Donkey Kong Country in 1994. Jumpman would as stated be renamed to Mario and have an entirely new career, love interest and world to jump around and platform through starting Mario Bros in 1983.
To top it all off both DK and Mario have existed as friends or foes through a cadre of spinoff game series such as Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and Mario Party and The Mario Sports games. These other great and enjoyable games would have never, NEVER existed if it was not for this original platformer: Donkey Kong. So the next time you’re out and about rumbling through the jungle that is life have a banana or a cool banana smoothie and remember this game fondly!