Donkey Kong is back pounding girders, and Mario is a carpenter named Jumpman once again! The game that put Nintendo and Miyamoto on the map is finally officially available on Switch, in its original form!
No, it’s never truly happened before. Ports of Donkey Kong released for earlier Nintendo systems were missing the Pie Factory stage. It’s never been confirmed why this stage was left out, but the prevailing theory is that Nintendo subcontracted out another company to do the coding work for Donkey Kong, and the state of their contract gave them ownership over said code. Why this would mean just the pie factory had to be removed is anyone’s guess. Like we said, just a rumor.
The closest facsimile Nintendo has ever released themselves is the port that appeared in Donkey Kong 64. This version retained the same music and sound effects, AND the pie factory, but was reformatted to fit the horizontal orientation of the rest of the game it appeared in. What Nintendo and Hamster put out today is the original ROM, running in vertical mode.
And there’s more: next month, Sky Skipper will be released — the lost Nintendo arcade game! This vaporware title was tested out by Nintendo in 1982 but never got an official release in the US. There was a grassroots effort in 2016 to recover the original ROM from an acquired test board, but Hamster just rendered it fruitless. Sky Skipper isn’t the greatest game Nintendo’s ever made, but getting an official release 35 years later is still amazing.
Donkey Kong is downloadable now on the Nintendo eShop for $7.99. Three versions are included: the US original, a revised ROM that fixed some bugs, and the international version with a different stage order. As with all Hamster arcade releases, you can play the game in Original “Hi-Score” Mode or Caravan Mode (the latter imposes a 5-minute time limit).