Manufacturer: Nintendo
Released: 1981
Designer: Shigeru Miyamoto
Added to my collection: 2002

Sold: February, 2005
Total Lifetime Investment : $155
Sale Price: $675
Current Condition : Sold

Description
My Machine
Technical
Links

Description:

Donkey Kong is a pivotal game in arcade (and video game in general) history. It introduced the world to a character called "Jumpman" who would, after being given the proper name "Mario", go on to become the symbol for what was once the mightiest video game company on the face of the planet: Nintendo.

Everybody knows what Donkey Kong is about, so I won't burden you with a game description. Instead, I'll give you a little history.

Nintendo decided to establish a presence in the United States during the height of the arcade boom in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their first major game, a boring shooter called Radar Scope, was a dismal failure, and the Nintendo of America (NOA) warehouse was stacked full of thousands of machines that nobody wanted. In a desperate attempt to salvage this debacle, Nintendo's president assigned a production artist in Japan the task of designing a video game that could be fitted into the existing Radar Scope cabinets. (All of the game designers were busy at the time.) The artist, Shigeru Miyamoto, rose to the challenge. He decided to name his game after the antagonist, a stubborn gorilla. Using his Japanese to English dictionary, he came up with "donkey" to mean stubborn, and "kong" as a synonym for gorilla.

When the game arrived in America and the distributors working for NOA saw the name, they thought they were doomed. However, the game became one of the biggest arcade hits ever, and was the first in a long series of games for now-famous game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the driving force behind every Mario and Donkey Kong game to date (not to mention the Legend of Zelda series).

I liked Donkey Kong back in my arcade days but, like so many other games, I wasn't very good at it. That didn't stop me from dropping a lot of quarters in it, though! My main reason for adding it to my collection is that it's a real piece of arcade history. Unfortunately that makes it a very expensive collectable. I got around that, though...

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My Machine

I could never have afforded a Donkey Kong machine under normal circumstances. They regularly sell for $700 to over $1000 in good condition, even at live auctions!

When my friend Werner decided to move and sell much of his arcade collection, I got dibs on his Donkey Kong 3 machine. DK3 is totally different than Donkey Kong (and, in my opinion, not much fun). However the wiring is identical to Donkey Kong's and, aside from the color and the decorative pieces (the marquee, bezel, control panel, etc.), the cabinet is exactly the same. Werner also had a working set of Donkey Kong boards. I saw this as a rare, excellent opportunity to own a very collectable game. So I set out to convert and restore it--and as you can see from the before and after picture, it turned out great!

Check out my restoration log for a complete account of the entire conversion and restoration process.

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Donkey Kong Technical Info:

DIP switch settings:

Donkey Kong has two banks of DIP switches, but only the second bank (an 8-switch bank) is used. The asterisks (*) indicate the factory default settings.

DIP Bank 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Lives 3 *
on
on
4
off
on
5
on
off
6
off
off
Bonus Life 7,000 *
on
on
10,000
off
on
15,000
on
off
20,000
off
off
Coinage 5 coins/1 credit
off
off
off
4 coins/1 credit
off
on
off
3 coins/1 credit
off
off
on
2 coins/1 credit
off
on
on
1 coin/1credit *
on
on
on
1 coin/2 credits
on
off
on
1 coin/3 credits
on
on
off
1 coin/4 credits
on
off
off
Cabinet Type Upright *
off
Cocktail
on

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More Donkey Kong Info:

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