Donkey Kong NES – DK: The Original Edition

by | NES

Hey there, fellow retro gamers! Are you ready to dive into the world of one of the most iconic arcade, 8-bit video games of all time? That’s right, we’re talking about the legendary Donkey Kong on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Developed by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, it was the first game to feature Mario as the protagonist. The objective of Donkey Kong is to navigate Mario through four different stages and rescue a damsel-in-distress from the clutches of an evil ape, aptly named Donkey Kong. 

In this article, we’ll journey through the history of this classic, explore its gameplay and characters, and even share some strategies and tips. So, grab a barrel and let’s get started!

History of Donkey Kong

Arcade Beginnings

Our story begins in 1981 when the Japanese company, Nintendo, released Donkey Kong as an arcade game. Designed by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, it was a massive hit, and gamers worldwide couldn’t get enough of the barrel-jumping and climbing game action.

The Birth of Mario

Not only did Donkey Kong introduce us to the eponymous ape, but it also marked the debut of one of the most famous video game characters in history: Mario. Yep, our favorite Italian plumber first appeared as “Jumpman” in this game before becoming the beloved hero we know today.

Donkey Kong on the NES

Gameplay and Mechanics

In 1983, the arcade hit found its way onto the NES, bringing the excitement of Donkey Kong into our living rooms. The game is a 2D platformer where you control Mario, dodging barrels and fireballs while climbing ladders to rescue Pauline from the clutches of the angry ape. It’s a test of both skill and timing, as you navigate the treacherous levels in pursuit of the high score.

Graphics and Sound

For its time, Donkey Kong on the NES boasted impressive graphics and catchy tunes that added to the immersive experience. The game’s visuals successfully captured the colorful charm of the arcade version, while the iconic theme song and sound effects are forever etched in the memories of countless gamers.

The Characters

Donkey Kong

The star of the show, Donkey Kong, is a giant ape who has kidnapped the lovely Pauline. He’s determined to keep her captive and will throw barrels, beams, and even fire at Mario to stop him.


Originally known as Jumpman, Mario is the hero of the story. Donning his trademark red overalls and cap, Mario must jump and climb his way to the top to save Pauline from Donkey Kong’s grasp.


The damsel in distress, Pauline, is waiting for Mario to rescue her. She appears at the top of each level, calling for help as Donkey Kong taunts from above.

The Levels


Welcome to the first level of Donkey Kong! Here, Mario must navigate a construction site filled with rolling barrels and broken ladders. Jump over the barrels or smash them with a hammer to make your way up to Pauline.


Things get trickier in the second level, where Mario faces conveyor belts, falling cement tubs, and even more barrels. Keep your wits about you and watch out for those sneaky fireballs!


You’ve made it to the third level, where Donkey Kong ups the ante by hurling springs at Mario. Climb the ladders, avoid the bouncing obstacles, and be careful not to fall!


The final showdown! In this level, Mario must remove eight rivets to make Donkey Kong fall and finally rescue Pauline. Be prepared for a fierce battle and a thrilling conclusion!

Strategies and Tips

Ready to up your Donkey Kong game? Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Timing is everything! Wait for the perfect moment to jump over barrels or dodge obstacles.
  2. Don’t forget the hammers – they’re your best friend when it comes to smashing barrels and taking out pesky fireballs.
  3. Practice makes perfect – the more you play, the better you’ll become at predicting enemy patterns and navigating the levels.

Extra Tips for Mastering Donkey Kong

In case you’re still hungry for more Donkey Kong knowledge, here are some bonus tips to help you become a true master of the game:

  1. Study enemy patterns: One of the keys to conquering Donkey Kong is understanding how the barrels, fireballs, and other obstacles move. Pay close attention to their patterns, and you’ll soon be able to predict their movements and plan your jumps accordingly.
  2. Stay calm under pressure: With all the chaos happening on screen, it’s easy to panic and make mistakes. Remember to stay calm and focused, even when things get tough – it’ll help you make better decisions and avoid costly errors.
  3. Take breaks: Like with any game, taking breaks is essential to avoid burnout and keep your reflexes sharp. If you’re struggling with a particular level, step away for a bit and come back refreshed – you might just find that you can conquer it with ease!
  4. Share your experiences: One of the best ways to improve your skills is by learning from others. Talk to fellow Donkey Kong fans, share your strategies and experiences, and learn from their wisdom. You never know – you might pick up a game-changing tip or two!
  5. Have fun: Last but not least, remember to enjoy yourself! Donkey Kong is a classic for a reason – its charming characters and engaging gameplay have brought joy to countless gamers over the years. So, embrace the challenge, have fun, and keep climbing those ladders to victory!

Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge, it’s time to put it to the test! Grab your NES controller, power up the console, and see if you can become the ultimate Donkey Kong master. And most importantly, enjoy the journey and have a barrel of fun along the way!

The Impact of Donkey Kong

Inspiring Other Games

The success of Donkey Kong paved the way for many other iconic platformers, including Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mega Man. Its influence can still be felt in modern gaming, as the simple yet addictive gameplay continues to inspire developers and delight gamers.

A Gaming Icon

Donkey Kong has become a symbol of gaming history, with the character appearing in numerous sequels, spin-offs, and even TV shows. The legacy of Donkey Kong is a testament to the enduring appeal of the game and its characters.

Collecting and Playing Today

Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and many gamers are keen to relive the joy of playing Donkey Kong on the NES. If you’re looking to add this classic to your collection, be prepared to search high and low, as original game cartridges can be hard to find and pricey. Alternatively, you can enjoy Donkey Kong on various Nintendo consoles through the Virtual Console service or by picking up an NES Classic Edition.

There’s no denying that Donkey Kong on the NES holds a special place in the hearts of gamers everywhere. Its charming characters, addictive gameplay, and iconic levels have made it a true classic that continues to captivate fans, both old and new. So, why not fire up that NES, and give this legendary game a spin? You might just find yourself falling in love with Donkey Kong all over again.


  1. What year was Donkey Kong released on the NES? Donkey Kong was released on the NES in 1983.
  2. Who created Donkey Kong? The game was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, a legendary figure in the gaming industry.
  3. How many levels are there in Donkey Kong on the NES? There are four levels: 25m, 50m, 75m, and 100m.
  4. Is Mario’s first appearance in Donkey Kong? Yes, Mario (originally known as Jumpman) made his debut in Donkey Kong before starring in his own series of games.
  5. Can I still play Donkey Kong today? Yes, you can still play Donkey Kong today! While finding an original NES game cartridge may be challenging, the game is available on various Nintendo consoles through the Virtual Console service or by picking up an NES Classic Edition. So, go ahead and jump back into the barrel-dodging action and relive the fun of this timeless classic!

Related Posts

Super Mario Bros. 3 Review

Super Mario Bros. 3 Review

Welcome, fellow gamers! Today, we're going to dive deep into the magical world of Super Mario Bros 3, one of the most iconic and beloved original...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *