Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング Donkī Kongu) is a platform game developed in 1994 by Nintendo for the Game Boy handheld video game system, which also contains puzzle elements. Donkey Kong is loosely based on the 1981 arcade game of the same name and its sequel Donkey Kong Jr. The game was known under the working title Donkey Kong ’94 before the release.
Like in the original arcade and NES version, the player takes control of Mario and must rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong (who are both given updated character designs for this game). Donkey Kong Jr. makes a guest appearance in the game on some levels, helping his father hinder Mario’s progress.
This was the first Game Boy title designed with enhanced features when played on the Super Game Boy. It features gameplay elements from Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Super Mario Bros. 2.
I really did not know much about this title until years later, since like many people, I assumed it was essentially a Gameboy port of the classic Donkey Kong arcade game, especially since the first four levels were the levels from that game. Fortunately, this version of Donkey Kong offers so much more, with levels past the initial arcade stages having “find the key and exit” gameplay with a ton of obstacles and cool little tricks along the way, including a nice set of moves Jumpman — well, Mario — gets for this game.
Fortunately, the old handhelds are where emulation truly shines, as we now have the ability to see well the games that were squeezed down for the tiny little poorly lit screens on the devices they were made for. Sure, playing on a PC loses the true portability (laptops and netbooks aren’t quite as easy to use as dedicated devices, and other solutions such as modern handhelds and mobile devices simply scale the graphics back down to tiny again even if they do have a nicely lit screen. It just feels right to be able to play these games properly scaled up on a large screen and experience them without any compromises.