The Game: In the rotund plumber Mario’s first adventure, you have to help him reach the top of a perilous scaffolding to rescue a damsel in distress from the dastardly Donkey Kong. (Coleco, 1982)
Memories: Once upon a time, Nintendo didn’t manufacture its own home video game system. Perhaps games like this convinced it to pick up the habit. Coleco did a very good job of translating Nintendo’s first arcade hit into its first game for the higher-priced ColecoVision console, but truthfully, more people had an Atari 2600 at the time, and this is the version of Donkey Kong they got.
Movement and control were sluggish, the graphics barely conveyed the basic visual information of the game, and the sound was just a step above the touch-tone-phone sounds of 2600 Pac-Man.
To give Coleco a little bit of credit, this simplified version of Donkey Kong wasn’t quite the abortion that Atari’s Pac-Man or Coleco’s own Zaxxon cartridge turned out to be. Considering the hardware involved, this is actually a pretty good port of the game. (It was certainly better than Coleco’s tabletop arcade version of the game, at any rate!)