Twilight Sparkle's Retro Media Library
Twilight Sparkle's Retro Media Library


Can you save Mario's girl from the clutches of Donkey Kong? Donkey Kong has kidnapped Mario's girlfriend Pauline and taken her to the top of a construction site! It's up to you to help Mario save Pauline before time runs out. But it won't be easy. Donkey Kong will do everything in his power to stop you. He'll throw barrel bombs, flaming fireballs and anything else he can get his hands on. So if you're looking for action, don't monkey around. Get the original Donkey Kong from the Nintendo Arcade Classics Series.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Japanese ドンキーコング

Release timeline

Console Release date Country of origin
Second-generation arcade July 9, 1981 Japan
July 31, 1981 USA
Nes logo.png July 15, 1983 Japan
June 1986 USA
October 15, 1986 UK
September 1988 (re-release) USA
August 10, 1989 (re-release) UK
Famicom Disk System April 8, 1988 Japan
e-Reader November 11, 2002 USA
Gameboyadvance logo.png February 14, 2004 Japan
June 7, 2004 USA
July 10, 2004 UK
Wii logo1.jpg November 19, 2006 Japan
December 2, 2006 USA
December 8, 2006 UK
April 26, 2008 South Korea
Nintendo3ds logo.jpg October 17, 2012 Japan
August 15, 2013 USA


In 1982, one year after the game was released, 60,000 units of it were sold by Nintendo worldwide, earning the company $180 million ($3,000 per unit).

Combination cartridges

In 1988, this game was re-released with Donkey Kong Jr. in a 2-in-1 video game cartridge titled "Donkey Kong Classics". The music originally from the first Donkey Kong game will play upon turning the NES on.


Sequence Title Original MIDI Release Date
1 Title Screen 1997 or earlier
2 Game Start 1997 or earlier
3 Stage Start 1997 or earlier
4 Level 1 1997 or earlier
5 Hammer Theme 1997 or earlier
6 Mario Dies 1997 or earlier

Comparison: Arcade vs. NES

50m, the pie factory level, was removed from the NES version due to the cartridge's memory size limit.




Original arcade version

The title screen was uploaded to The Video Game Museum in February 2001, and two of these screenshots (Levels 2 and 3) were uploaded in late 2001.

NES version

Most of these screenshots were uploaded to TMK on September 13, 1999.