Donkey Kong, released in 1981 by Nintendo and reissued by Atari in 1988, is an arcade platform video game that was the first to feature jumping. The game set the template for the future of the platform genre. Donkey Kong was one of the first arcade games with multiple stages and was considered the most complex arcade game of its time, following games like Phoenix (1980), Gorf (1981), and Scramble (1981).
The player’s goal is to save Pauline while accumulating points by leaping over obstacles, destroying objects with a hammer power-up, collecting items, removing rivets from platforms, and completing each stage within the time limit. The player starts with three lives and earns an additional life at 7,000 points, adjustable via DIP switches. The game ends when all lives are lost.
Donkey Kong has four single-screen stages, each representing 25 meters of the structure Donkey Kong has climbed (25, 50, 75, and 100 meters). After completing all four stages, the game repeats with increased difficulty. The 22nd level is known as the kill screen due to a programming error that kills Mario after a few seconds, effectively ending the game. However, in the Japanese Version 1, players can complete all stages up to 100 meters, with the true kill screen occurring at 100 meters in level 22.