The Game: Mario, in his second-ever videogame appearance, has Donkey Kong in captivity, and it’s up to Donkey Kong Jr. to rescue his dad by scaling vines and chains, avoiding nasty-toothed traps and pesky birds, and reaching the key to free the great ape from Mario’s clutches. (Nintendo, 1982)
Memories: Donkey Kong Junior was a really cool game, because it added new ideas to the same general concept as Donkey Kong, resulting in a game that those proficient at the original game wouldn’t find difficult to learn. It was also unique in that the character that you played in Donkey Kong – the hero – was suddenly the villain in this game, and you were out to defeat him.
Difficult to win, however, is another story entirely. The little ape had plenty of obstacles to navigate, making Donkey Kong Junior a more than worthy successor – and not just a redressed copy – of its predecessor.
I’m not up on my Nintendo genealogy, so I’ve never figured out if Donkey Kong Junior is the same character as Diddy Kong, who appeared in later NES and N64 games.
Coleco managed to pull off another very faithful rendition of Donkey Kong Junior for the Colecovision, also releasing an Atari 2600 version of the game, which naturally was not as successful a translation.