Codex Gamicus
This article is about the game Donkey Kong. For the character, see Donkey Kong Jr. (character)

Donkey Kong Junior is a 1982 arcade-style platform video game by Nintendo. It first appeared in arcades, and was later released for a variety of platforms, most notably the Nintendo Entertainment System. Over the course of the 1980s, it was also released for various console systems, with the form of the title abbreviated as Donkey Kong Jr. in most versions. Its eponymous star, Donkey Kong Junior (DKJ), is trying to rescue his father Donkey Kong, who has been imprisoned. Donkey Kong's cage is guarded by Mario, in his only appearance as an antagonist in a video game. This game is the sequel to the video game Donkey Kong, which featured Mario as the protagonist and Junior's father as the antagonist.

Title Screen


Mario, known beforehand as Jumpman, has incarcerated Donkey Kong after re-capturing him in Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong Jr. must save his father from Mario by putting the key or keys in the stage into all of the locks. Mario attempts to stop DK Jr. by releasing the many animals he controls to knock DK Jr. off the vines and platforms. DK Jr. defeats Mario if the player completes the second stage by putting all six keys in their locks, making the floor disappear. DK Jr. catches Donkey Kong while Mario falls onto the ground. Mario makes an attempt to chase after DK, but DK punches Mario into the air. Mario then retreats. Like in Donkey Kong, if the player completes the final stage, Donkey Kong Junior restarts at the first stage with a higher level of difficulty.


The player controls DKJ and has to rescue Donkey Kong from Mario, who had captured him. Like its predecessor, Donkey Kong, Jr. is an arcade-style platform game. There are a total of four levels, each with a somewhat different theme. DKJ can move and jump for the most part, but can also climb up vines. Enemies include "Snapjaws", which resemble bear traps with eyes, and bird-like creatures called "Nitpickers" that Mario releases to thwart DKJ. If the player touches one of these enemies or falls too far, a life is lost. Enemies can be defeated by dropping fruit onto them. At the top of every stage is Mario and Donkey Kong, and when DKJ reaches the top, he chases Mario to the next stage. If the player beats the fourth level, a cut scene is shown of the floor disappearing and the three fall to the ground. DKJ catches DK and Mario falls, hits the ground and dies. (This may be why he didn't appear in Donkey Kong 3.) Once the four levels are completed, the player restarts the game with increased difficulty and his or her points and lives retained. Up to two players can play the game alternately.

The game is split in to four levels.

  • The first level is simple. DKJ must climb up vines to get to the top while avoiding bear traps.
  • In the second level, DKJ must get to the top by jumping on platforms and climbing across chains. DKJ must avoid getting hit by birds.
  • The third level is much harder. DKJ must climb up an odd platform while avoiding sparks of electricity.
  • In the last level, DKJ must throw all the keys into the spaces at the top platform while avoiding birds.

You lose a life if:

  • Donkey Kong Jr. runs into a bear trap, bird, a bird's egg, sparks of electricity, or Mario;
  • Donkey Kong Jr. falls off the stage;
  • The bonus timer reaches 0.


Donkey Kong Junior is regarded as one of the Top 100 Video Games by the Killer List of Videogames. Donkey Kong Junior was selected to be among five arcade games chosen for history's first official video game world championship, which was filmed at Twin Galaxies in Ottumwa, Iowa by ABC-TV's That's Incredible! over the weekend of January 8-9, 1983. The game later spawned a cereal which featured fruit-flavored cereal pieces shaped like bananas and cherries. Donkey Kong, Jr. is shown on the box wearing a red shirt with a big yellow J printed on the front.

Competitive play[]

For more than twenty years, the Donkey Kong, Jr. world record had been held by noted gamer Billy Mitchell, who had achieved 957,300 points in 1983. On August 10, 2008, Mitchell's benchmark score was eclipsed by Icarus Hall of Port Angeles, Washington, who scored 1,033,000 points. On April 24, 2009, Steve Wiebe eclipsed Hall's score, finishing with 1,139,800 points. On September 3, 2009, at 1984 Arcade in Springfield MO, Mark L Kiehl of Enid, OK surpassed Wiebe's record with a score of 1,147,800. Steve Weibe has since regained the record with a score of 1,190,400 on his home machine set on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010.


Like most arcade games of this era, this game was ported to many home systems, including the video game consoles NES, Family Computer Disk System, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari XE Game System, ColecoVision, and Intellivision. Two Game & Watch versions of the game were also made. One black and white version for the New Wide Screen handheld series, and a color version for the Tabletop and Panorama series. The NES version was one of the three launch titles for the system in Japan. This game, along with the original Donkey Kong, was re–released in 1988 in an NES compilation titled Donkey Kong Classics. The NES version of the game was later released on the e-Reader and is now available on the Virtual Console for the Wii. The NES version was also a playable game on Animal Crossing, but required a special password from the official website which is now no longer available.

In other media[]

Donkey Kong Jr. was also a cartoon on Saturday Supercade, a cartoon series that aired on Saturday mornings from 1983 to 1985. The plot had Jr. looking for his dad Donkey Kong who is on the run from Mario and Pauline. In an episode of Captain N: The Game Master, Simon Belmont got hit on the head and thought he was Donkey Kong Jr. In the Game Boy Advance version of Super Mario Bros. 3 the king of World 4 was transformed into a monkey with a 'J' on his shirt resembling Donkey Kong Jr.'s shirt.


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