Donkey Kong Jr.

I love the star in the "R." Such a simple, pleasant, iconic flourish.

I love the star in the “R.” Such a simple, pleasant, iconic flourish.

“By maintaining the tradition of jump-over-the-enemy obstacles while also forcing the player to think in more dimensions than merely Left and Right, DKJR broadens the gaming mind, preparing one for not only more possibilities to overcome, but to consider what gameplay can involve overall.”
– from the full review, which you can read here

With my apologies to Trickman (hey, join us at the Retroids forums), this is my favorite game of the NES Donkey Kong series.

Although the DK franchise comes with loaded opinions and baggage from all sides, I bet we can all agree that this is better than Donkey Kong Jr. Math, at least.

I just think DK JR provides more of a platforming challenge, more stage-design variety, and if we learned anything from Pitfall, we know that swinging from vine to vine is a good time.

I can remember playing the original NES Donkey Kong game and walking away thinking, roughly, “Meh.” When I got around to trying Jr., with some trepidation, I definitely found it refreshing, and was pleasantly surprised.

I am not one of those people that thinks there is an impossibly deep gulf of difference between those games (c’mon, let’s be honest), but the differences are notable enough, in my mind, for that distinction.

This is one of those “If you haven’t played it in a while, go back and try it again” titles.

Also: It is kind of sad that we do not see more of Donkey Kong Jr. nowadays, although Rare once tried to explain his absence by insisting he grew older and became the “new” Donkey Kong or whatever. Laaaaaaaame.

Read The Full Review For: Pointing out how this game’s visual design is reflected in other, future Nintendo titles; what this game has in common with Clu Clu Land, and what separates the two; use of fancy words, like “nascent” and “adroitly”; an examination of the level designs, and how they reflect a solid case study in platforming.

NES Gameplay Tips for Donkey Kong Jr: Can probably better be found in some weird old-fashioned Secrets To Winning At Video Games book; because, although I truly like DK JR, I am not very good at it. Honestly.

Feast your eyes on quality 8-bit pixel art goodness.

Monkeyin' around.

Monkeyin’ around.


Even the bouncy spring looks familiar to this Nintendo fan…

As others have noted, this level definitely has a hand in future Super Mario stage design.

As others have noted, this level definitely has a hand in future Super Mario stage design.

Lock-pickin'. Lock-pushin'.

Lock-pickin’. Lock-pushin’.

Hurray! ... ?!

Hurray! … ?!

2 Responses to “ Donkey Kong Jr. ”

  1. Good review! I’m in the same boat that while I love the original arcade game, I never played it enough to get very good at it. Truth be told, I probably developed more skill on the old Game & Watch version than on the official arcade game. I’ve never played the NES port, something I feel like I need to rectify. I don’t own any of the NES DK games, and I know that’s a fairly large, gaping hole in my collection I need to fill.

  2. Love the review. I remembered my parents got this for me as a surprise Easter gift. I played it for hours on end even though I was never good at it either.

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