Donkey Kong Junior
Year Of Release: 1982
Following up the arcade smash that was Donkey Kong was always going to be a tough task, but if there was one man who was up to the task it was gaming legend, Shigeru Miyamoto. By the time 1982 came around, Donkey Kong was known all around the world so when this new game showed up, people were very excited. An interesting little bit of trivia about Donkey Kong Junior is that some versions of the game are called Donkey Kong Junior and others are called Donkey Kong Jr on the title screen. Donkey Kong Junior, junior or DK J if you prefer is still a popular member of Nintendo’s long list of classic characters to this day.
The idea of the game is very interesting in that the bad guy of the game is none other than Super Mario. Donkey Kong Junior is the only time Mario plays the villain. The story of the game is that Mario has kidnapped Donkey Kong in retaliation for him kidnapping his girlfriend in the first game. Little did Mario know that Donkey Kong has a son. A son who as well as wearing a white tank top will do all it takes to save his old man from his cruel owner. The fact that Mario is the one who is the villain here really does make, Donkey Kong Junior a landmark title in the Nintendo back catalogue.
Game play wise you play the role of Donkey Kong Junior and like in the original Donkey Kong game there are four different levels that you need to play through. The first three levels will see you needing to help Donkey Kong Junior navigate a series of platforms and vines all the while trying to avoid enemies such as Snapjaws, Sparks and Nitpickers. Just one touch from an enemy or a fall from a high height will see you lose a life. As well as jumping just like Mario could do in the last game, Donkey Kong Junior also can use his ape strength to climb up and down vines. In each of the first three levels you are required to get a key that is at the top of each stage. And then in the last stage you need to push in keys to free your dad. Once you beat the game it starts over again, but at a higher difficulty.
Current High Score: 1,412,200 by Mark L Kiehl
Donkey Kong Junior was very popular and like many other arcade games of this era, it would be ported to different home consoles and computers. The version that was released for the NES is the one that tends to get the most attention, but Donkey Kong Junior also showed up on the Atari 2600, ColecoVision and the Intellivision to name a few.
Donkey Kong Junior would also get the Saturday morning cartoon treatment. The show focused on Donkey Kong Junior trying to track down where his dad has gone to as he is hiding from Mario. There would also be some Donkey Kong Junior merchandise released including a very popular Game & Watch and also a Donkey Kong Junior Cereal.
One interesting thing about the character of Donkey Kong Junior is that in the first game in the Mario Kart series, Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo. It would be Donkey Kong Junior who was used as a character and not regular Donkey Kong.