Up next on our cavalcade of gaming anniversaries is Nintendo's first major character, Donkey Kong. The original Donkey Kong arcade game turns 25 years old this month, reminding us just how far the big ape and his friends have come over the years. I paid tribute to Donkey Kong last year, but 1up.com has a must-read article about the character's creation, his rapid rise to stardom, his semi-retirement in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then his glorious return.
[Nintendo of America] brought Donkey Kong to The Spot Tavern and left it there in place of the Radarscope machine, which was pulling in about three dollars a day -- twelve quarters, twelve customers. At the end of the first day, Nintendo's distributor Ron Judy went in to empty the coin box, and a hundred and twenty quarters spilled out. $30. The next day there was $35. Then $36. Nintendo installed more Donkey Kong machines at The Spot, whose management was happy to have them -- in addition to another Seattle test location called Goldie's, they were the only bar in the world where you could play what was perhaps the best video game to date.
What's next for Donkey Kong? Nintendo isn't talking beyond a Nintendo DS sequel to DK: King of Swing, DK Bongo Blast for the Nintendo GameCube, and the upcoming puzzle-centric Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, but I'm still hoping for a new original platformer adventure. Rareware brought us the world of Donkey Kong Country, but since the company's departure from the Nintendo umbrella, DK has popped up in everything but a traditional platformer. We've seen him drum in three Donkey Konga games, he's swung around in King of Swing, and even bongoed his way through Jungle Beat, but sometimes I miss a new adventure done in the style of the good ol' days.
How about a fun blast from the past? Skip ahead to the end of this video clip from the ancient Nickelodeon discussion show Livewire to hear '80s music lords Buckner and Garcia perform their chart-flopping hit Do The Donkey Kong live on stage.