Donkey Kong Game & Watch – Yay the D-Pad!

Ninendo’s Donkey Kong Game & Watch was the very first Game & Watch I had when I was a kid. I loved this thing more than life itself, which is why I still kick myself for swapping it for a Mickey & Donald Game & Watch at some point. It must have been some older kid talking me into it…. I can’t remember what actually went down in regards to the deal itself, but I do hope I got something in addition to that Mickey & Donald.

Anyway, being in Japan (the country with arguably the cheapest Game & Watches in the world), I could not think of a reason not to buy one again. And if you’re going to buy Donkey Kong, why not buy Donkey Kong II as well!


Released in 1982, Donkey Kong was revolutionary for a number of reasons, but most notable would have to be the D-Pad. This was the first time the cross style D-Pad (developed by Gunpei Yokoi) had appeared on any gaming device, and subsequently won Nintendo a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award (wiki). As many of you have probably read on my other posts, I am hard on the companies that used the D-Pad on the right side, and Nintendo really did set a standard by having them on the left – Donkey Kong Game & Watch was really a leader.


When it comes to story, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong II were very different games (that’s if you think them to have a story at all of course). In Donkey Kong you are Mario (at least I think it’s Mario) and you have to save the hot girl with beautiful long legs, creamy complexion, long flowing hair draped over her firm…. (sorry about that, childhood imagination taking over for a second), and in Donkey Kong II you must play as Donkey Kong Jr. to save Donkey Kong.

Both games are extremely playable in their own right, but Donkey Kong II is much more difficult to conquer. Those of you that have played these games on an emulator really don’t understand what these games are about. I have tried many different emulations out there (including the one for the Nintendo DS) and none of them come close to the feel of the real thing. Due to hardware limitations, these machines almost seem to have a life of their own.



I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed picking up Donkey Kong again after a 25 year break. The memories that flooded back when clicking open that second screen, hearing that first beep, and making Donkey Kong fall were incredible! 😀


  1. Awesome 🙂

    I remember a friend of mine had DK1 and it was great fun to play. We got a couple of them when we were kids around 1990, must have come out a cheaper entry point as my brothers and I got one each – there was a Snoopy Tennis, Donkey Kong Junior and Super Mario Bros between us I think, all the single-screen ones. I went hunting around my parents’ place last year or the year before trying to find them, but no luck 🙁

    1. Donkey Kong Jr is a great game. I was so jealous of a kid at school with one. I can remember so clearly sitting around him and just watching him play it. Ahh the 80s.

      You should be tearing your family house apart Sean! They’re there, you possibly just need power tools to get at them. 😀

  2. Believe me, I’ve even had my brothers over to help me, but no luck!

    We did find our Transformers and TMNT toys from when we were kids though, so it wasn’t a completely wasted exercise 🙂

    1. Bad luck not finding the G&Ws there Sean. Still, judging by the prices Transformers go for these days, you could probably sell a few off and re-buy the old G&Ws. 😀

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