Original arcade Donkey Kong comes to Nintendo Switch in first-ever re-release

The arcade version of Donkey Kong is a pretty big deal in retro gaming circles, as seen in the classic documentary King of Kong. Until today, though, it was impossible to legally acquire or sell an arcade-perfect version of the game without tracking down an actual arcade cabinet, reportedly due to complex legal issues over authorship of the code. Now those issues appear to have been resolved: Nintendo just put out Donkey Kong on the Switch for $7.99 through its Arcade Archives series.

This Donkey Kong release actually contains three versions of the game: the Japanese original, the more common updated Japanese version with bug fixes, and the international version. You can rotate the Switch 90 degrees to play with a vertical screen layout, mirroring the arcade cabinet.

Donkey Kong’s cut-down NES version has been released for various platforms, of course, and Rare went as far as to rebuild the arcade version from entirely new code so that it could be included in Donkey Kong 64 without legal trouble. But you weren’t really playing the original Donkey Kong — the game that introduced Mario to the world — and now you can.

Nintendo also announced that it’ll be releasing an Arcade Archives version of the long-lost Sky Skipper next month. Sky Skipper never saw a formal arcade release beyond some scattered location testing in 1981, and Nintendo had to extract the ROM from the only known original arcade cabinet still in existence.


Just a quick note/correction: Arcade Archives installments are produced and published by Hamster Corporation, not Nintendo.

Out of curiosity, does the game run a built-in emulator or is a rewrite?

You can rotate the Switch 90 degrees to play with a vertical screen layout

This. The Switch is really a neat product.

You can do this with Ikaruga too which is pretty sweet – I’ve yet to try rotating my TV and seeing if it’ll follow suit

lol that sounds fun!

More on the rights issues surrounding the original Donkey Kong: https://retronauts.com/article/205/retronauts-micro-053-donkey-kongs-day-in-court

Oh Nintendo still selling the same old games.

And just on the heels of Reggie defending lootboxes too.

Maybe those games are still fun for some! Did you think of that?

At least Nintendo sells the same old gameS (plural) where as Bethesda just keeps reselling the same old single game, Skyrim.

It’s also nice that CD Projekt Red finally has a new game coming out, after 100 years of milking the teat that is The Witcher 3.

Source on CD Projekt Red milking the witcher 3 pls

Yeah, who wants to own the original version one of the most historically significant games ever— especially when it’s never seen a home release before? What the hell, Hamster? I’m going to go play the second re-release of Shadow of the Colossus instead!

I’m all up for nostalgia and stuff, but come on… 7.99? This should be part of a 15$ collection or 3-4$… Anyway, it’s better to have it on the store than not at all, I hope more classic games follow.

Well, they probably have to pay royalties to be able to sell this, and also the only other way to play this game is to pay a collector $400+ for an original stand-up arcade cabinet which will then run you an average of $100 a year in repairs to keep running.

Also this is legitimately one of the best games ever made. Not just historically significant, but still wildly addictive to play in a way that none of the home ports ever were. $8 seems like a pretty reasonable deal to me.

Just saw another article about this – absolutely delighted. Worked as a kid at the local arcade in Wheaton, MD and remember seeing Donkey Kong the first time. Also remember having the keys to the games (thanks Mr. Shin!) and a great Summer. Bought this about 30 seconds into the article and can’t wait to get home to find it on my Switch. Good times…

I remember that arcade!

Are you serious Matt? SMALL world. Whoa…

remember playing this first on Game & Watch, lol

Quick: who’s the girl in the game!

I know some retro gamers who will be very happy with this. I’m sure they’ll still nitpick about a missing pixel somewhere though, as they always do.

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