Donkey Kong is a Multi Screen Game & Watch game released in 1982. It was based on the arcade game Donkey Kong, with gameplay based only on 25m, the first stage from the arcade version. This was the first Game and Watch game to be based on pre-existing Nintendo characters, and it was the first video game system to include the D-pad, a feature of all future Nintendo systems. The game unit's model is DK-52, with the DK standing for Donkey Kong. The game was a huge success, selling over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. The game comes with 2 LR44 batteries, which should last the player 6 months.

Donkey Kong for the Game & Watch was included in a variety of other games in its standard version and sometimes with enhancements. In the Game & Watch Gallery series, it was included in Game & Watch Gallery 2 and Game & Watch Gallery 4 in its original form and a new version that includes enhanced graphics. All of the enhanced games in the series replace Game & Watch characters with Mario characters, though because this game already had Mario characters to begin with, most of there unchanged. In both versions of the game, however, Pauline was replaced by Princess Peach. Donkey Kong was also included in the Club Nintendo exclusive game Game & Watch Collection for the Nintendo DS, which recreated the original accurately due to the two screens of the Nintendo DS.

As in all the Game & Watch games, Donkey Kong includes a clock that alarms at a set time if desired. The clock's icon in Donkey Kong is a bell. When the time arrives, a character that the instruction manual calls Mini Donkey Kong comes and starts ringing the bell. If the player isn't playing the game, the game unit will start making an alarm noise, though if he is playing the game, then the Donkey Kong character will just start shaking the bell.


The game follows the same story of the original. Donkey Kong escapes and kidnaps a beautiful girl assumed to be Pauline (they never refer to her as such in the game). Mario, who was still a carpenter in the game, decides to go and save his beloved and heads to the construction site where Donkey Kong took her. He climbs up to the girder which Donkey Kong is standing on and starts to remove the pieces so that he falls down.


The Donkey Kong unit has two screens. It starts on the bottom. There are girders that lead upwards to Donkey Kong, and the playable character Mario must travel on these girders and climb up the ladders to reach his nemesis. Donkey Kong, knowing that his rival is coming, starts to throw barrels down at him. The only way to dodge the barrels is to either jump over them or go in the middle of a ladder. Once Mario reaches to top of the ladder on the bottom screen, he'll emerge on the top screen. Following this, he'll continue to climb up the girders. Once he reaches the lever, the player will have to press left on the control pad to make a hook from the crane start to swing. When the hook swings to the left, Mario is required to jump over and grab it. If done successfully, one of the wires holding Donkey Kong is cut. If the player doesn't grab the hook after it swings twice, then it automatically stops swinging.

There are two modes in the game including Game A and Game B. Game A is easier than Game B, which requires more technique and timing than Game B. The highest score of each mode will be shown on the top screen when playing that particular mode.

The main goal of the game is to accumulate as many points as possible. The maximum score that a Donkey Kong unit will display is 999 points. Some units, however, only display 998 points. Once the player reaches that score, it'll reset to zero. You can receive points by doing multiple things. One point is earned when Mario jumps over a barrel on the lower girder, while two points are earned when Mario jumps over a barrel on the second girder. Depending on how fast the player does it, the player can get from 5 to 20 points when he destroys a wire that is holding Donkey Kong up. After all of the wires that are holding Donkey Kong are cut, the player will receive 20 points.

The player has three lives in the game. When all of Mario's lives are depleted, he will have to start the game over. There are a variety of things that kill Mario. The most common way to die is getting hit by a barrel. If Mario hits his head on a piece of iron, it'll also result in a lost life. In the end of the level when Mario jumps for the crane hook, he'll lose a life if he misses. It should also be noted that when the player leaves the game untouched for five minutes, it'll result in a game over and the time will be displayed. It should be noted that after the player receives 300 points, he'll regain one of his lost lives. If he hadn't lost any lives when he reached that score, he'll go into a mode called "CHANCE TIME" where the player receives double the points for everything he does. After Mario loses a life, he'll start from the beginning after the player presses the start button. If the player doesn't press the start button in eight seconds, he'll go there automatically regardless if there's a barrel there or not. If Mario doesn't reach the top in time, the barrels will start to move so quickly that it will be impossible to jump over them.

Game & Watch Gallery versions

Donkey Kong appeared in two of the Game & Watch Gallery games including Game & Watch Gallery 2 for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, and Game & Watch Gallery 4 for the Game Boy Advance. Both games included the original version of Donkey Kong as well as an enhanced one that featured more Mario themes, different level layouts, better graphics and improved music, not to mention different gameplay. The scoring system is also different:

  • 1 Point: Jump over a barrel on the first floor.
  • 2 Points: Jump over a barrel on the second floor.
  • 3 Points: Jump on top of a Koopa Troopa on the first floor.
  • 5 Points: Jump on top of a Koopa Troopa on the second floor, or jump on a Paratroopa on the second floor.
  • 5-20 Points: As in the original game, the player will receive a score between 5 and 20 points depending on how fast he reaches the top.
  • 15 Points: Finishing a level (Game & Watch Gallery 4).

In both enhanced games, after you receive 200, 500, and 700 points, a heart will automatically appear on the stage. Grabbing it will reward the player with an extra life. If he already had three lives, then a heart will not appear.

While the level in the Game & Watch version of Donkey Kong was based on the first stage of the original arcade classic, it should be noted that the stages in this game aren't based on the arcade game, which means they're also not based on the stage from the Game & Watch title. Rather, they're all unique to the modern mode remakes(though they're the same in both the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance game. There are three stages in all, each with a different theme and each one harder to complete than the previous one. Once you've completed all of the stages, it starts back over from the first stage (though will increase in speed each time). The stages include:

  • Frantic Factory: Inside a factory where you have to go through the pipes up to the top and hit the switch to gain access to the final platform.
  • Jungle Japes: A jungle where you climb to the top to hit the switch, then go onto the platform that's swinging. Once there you'll gain access to the final platform
  • Snow Slew: The hardest level in the game is a snow themed one. Get to the top and hit the switch, jump on the cloud when it's not faded and then go onto the final platform.