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Atari 2600 Game of the Week - Donkey Kong 2451

by Coleco, Developed by Dan Kitchen, released 1981

Everyone in the world knows Donkey Kong.

It is my favorite game of all time - in all of it's incarnations.

It is the game I played most at the arcades, and I owned one for a while in college (though I stupidly sold it).

Donkey Kong has brought success to many companies throughout it's life and sequels, not the least of which was Nintendo itself.

The second company to ride Donkey Kong into success was Coleco, who secured the Donkey Kong home license from Nintendo.

Not only was Donkey Kong the pack-in game for the ColecoVision - truly the ColecoVision's killer app, Coleco released it as a VFD tabletop game, and ported it to the other major platforms of the day.

First on that list was the 2600.


Yes, The 2600 was still Coleco's biggest competitor, but they realized that by selling to that huge installed base of users, they could make money off of the competition.

Adapted by Dan Kitchen, Donkey Kong is the inverse of the Pac-Man story in many respects.

Dan loved Donkey Kong, and worked very hard to deliver a faithful version of the game.


Memory constraints made the four levels of the arcade game impossible, so the most frequent and recognizable "ramps" and "rivets" screens were brought to the 2600.

This wasn't a large problem, as no home version before the Commodore 64 had the "cement factory" stage.

Due entirely to his dedication, Dan's version for the 2600 is the only console version to have ramps and ladders placed correctly - most others were missing the top ramp!

While a very faithful translation, the Atari 2600 version was notoriously difficult - jumps needed to be timed perfectly, or you were a dead Mario.

That never stopped me, though.

Late night Donkey Kong sessions happened quite often, and I gained new respect for the 2600 version after playing on a friend's ColecoVision.


I enjoy the 2600 version more, the mechanics are there, the fun is there, and that's what's important.

Like Atari Pac-Man, the very recognizable sounds from this version of Donkey Kong seem to accompany almost every TV or movie kid who's playing games, even if they're playing on a brand new console or a coin-op.

A fun game, a classic, and another must-have for your 2600 collection.

You can get the ROM and 2600 Emulators at the Classic Gaming Game Vault.

Comments? Questions? Answers? Email me!