with Joe Cortese

Donkey Kong Turns 43!

It’s the game we all went bananas for in the 1980s! Donkey Kong was released 43 years ago today, in 1981!

How many hours did you spend playing this on your Atari or Nintendo?

The game was pretty simple:

The beastly Donkey Kong gorilla has Pauline in his clutches. Can Mario save his girl and dump that Donkey Kong on his head? Mario must work his way up the ladders and sloping girders in the first level of play. Donkey Kong throws barrels down at you to keep you away. You can jump over them or use the magic hammer to bash them. Level two has elevators, and Level Three has girders that must be unbolted to send Donkey Kong for a tumble. 

While we were reminiscing, we found five fun facts about this favorite video game!

  1. Donkey Kong was originally inspired by Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto! Nintendo couldn’t get the license to use the characters, so Bluto evolved into a gorilla, Popeye became Mario, and Olive Oyl became Pauline.
  2. The game’s designer named “Beauty and the Beast” and “King Kong” as other influences.
  3. Donkey Kong started out as the bad guy, but then later versions switched him to the protagonist.
  4. The sequel Donkey Kong Jr. came out in 1982. The idea was that Mario had caged him, and Donkey Jr. had to save him!
  5. Donkey Kong is one of Nintendo’s bestselling franchises, with more than 65 million units sold by 2021.

There you have it, five fun facts about the favorite video game Donkey Kong!

Now, how about giving the old game a try? We found an online version here!  And we found a fun video play-through down below!


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