In the world of arcade entertainment, there are fun, good games, and then there are timeless classics. These classics still manage to draw crowds of gamers to local arcades to this day. And, in all honesty, the ‘man vs. machine appeal is the essence of arcade business; the life force that keeps these establishments thriving and allowing them to stand toe-to-toe with today’s insanely powerful console and PC games.
Like we mentioned before in another blog article, the main appeal of arcade gaming lies in their (mostly) simple mechanics, which any player can perform, but that are difficult to get right as the difficulty increases in later levels. This was embodied by a famous statement by Nolan Bushnell: “Easy to learn, difficult to master.” This is in direct contrast to a great number of PC and console titles, which aim to tell a story and engross the player in its environments, characters, and interactions. In arcade games, it’s you versus the computer; no handicaps, no abilities, no leveling up, and no outside help. The gamer prevails through sheer skill and, those that manage to land a high score have their initials immortalized in pixelated letters forevermore, or at least until another avid gamer completely shatters it.
Of course, there is no one true game that can objectively and effectively gauge a player’s overall skill level. Instead, there are a wide variety of arcade titles that challenge the player in different aspects. Most gamers opt to focus and get really good on one or two of these and set on to set their very own records at the local arcades. Billy Mitchell, one of the best arcade gamers of the past few decades, started his career early playing Donkey Kong and setting multiple records on the game. Mitchell also focused on Pac-Man, as well as Ms. Pac-Man, one of its spin-offs. Other challenging arcade games may include, but are not limited to:
- Space Invaders
- Mortal Kombat
- Dance Dance Revolution
Today, we’re here to talk about Donkey Kong. Specifically, we’re here to point out a few tips and tricks to keep in mind if you’re looking to get started with this timeless gem so that you can go to your local arcade, and dazzle everyone there with your mad skills. The next time you set out to play a match of Donkey Kong, keep in mind the following tips:
Timing is Crucial
This goes pretty much without saying for virtually any video game ever, but what we mean with this tip is that your jumps crucial for the survival of Jumpman. A well-timed jump can get you over gaps, help you dodge barrels, and even hurdle over some Foxfires. However, your character is not only at risk from what comes from below but also from what attacks from above. A mistimed jump can not only spell doom by crashing into an enemy, but also by inadvertently touching an obstacle with your melon.
So, remember to keep in mind not only what’s under you, but what’s rolling from above as well.
Hammer Doesn’t Translate Into Invincibility
Grabbing a hammer often translates into 10 solid seconds of a fighting chance against the many obstacles thrown at you by our Simian antagonist. However, contrary to what you may think, having a hammer doesn’t mean Jumpman is impervious to harm. In fact, he’s arguably more vulnerable, since every single time his hammer is at the top of its swing, he’s completely open to any attacker. Like we stated in our previous entry, timing is everything, and the hammer is no exception. Always take into consideration the swing of your hammer when you’re trying to smash an obstacle. Similarly, if you feel that the hammer is about to run out, don’t risk it; it always pays more to play it safe in these games in the long run.
Foxfires Can Use Ladders, But Can’t Jump Gaps
Foxfires are those annoying sentient balls of flame that attack Jumpman on the second, third, and final level of Donkey Kong. They constantly walk around patrolling several points and have a nasty habit of waiting for the player on top of ladders, which can make it really hard to circumvent certain obstacles, since most paths are blocked by the fiery fiends. This is especially crucial on the third level, where a particularly nasty Foxfire is guarding a vital point of the stage.
Luckily, while Foxfires can patrol and use ladders, they can’t actually jump gaps. So, what you’ll generally want to do is bait the little bugger into running towards you, jumping over it when it comes close, and then leap over a gap to safeguard yourself.
The Second Level Doesn’t Require Reaching Pauline
Most levels, with the exception of the final one, requires that Jumpman reaches Pauline, the damsel in distress, before progressing. This is true for all but the second stage, where Donkey Kong is sliding back and forth across a conveyor belt on the topmost beam. Getting past him might seem like an insurmountable obstacle to newcomers. However, before hatching your master plan to outsmart the angry ape, you will feel relieved to know that you don’t actually need to reach Pauline in this level. It ends as soon as you make your way onto the beam where DK is patrolling. So concentrate on getting up there, and forget about everything else.
Nab Pauline’s Personal Effects For Sweet Extra Points
Between all the running and jumping that comes with fighting for your life (and that of your beloved), it’s easy to miss Pauline’s items lying around the second, third and final stage. Besides completing the stage as fast as possible, those who want to maximize their points should aim to collect her personal effects, as they grant a considerable bonus to the player’s score. Keep in mind that these require considerably going out of the way in order to reach them, so the player should plan his route accordingly.
As you can glean from the picture, Pauline’s stuff includes her parasol, her hat, and her purse.
Beware Foxfire Positioning Before Removing The Rivets
The fourth and final stage is, for some, the trickiest level in Donkey Kong. There’s no set route, nor place you have to reach this time. Instead, the player needs to walk or jump over 8 yellow rivets that are spread across the beams. The challenge of this part comes from successfully avoiding the Foxfires, while making your way through the stage, and over each and every rivet. A good thing to keep in mind here is that the Foxfires can’t traverse gaps, and every rivet that you unscrew conveniently leaves behind one of those. So, when reaching each rivet, take a look at the stage, and see if you could benefit from waiting a bit more before releasing the screw so that you can temporarily trap a Foxfire behind a gap. This can hopefully buy you some time, and allow you carve a way to every rivet, and towards Donkey Kong’s timely demise.
These are some of our beginner tips for getting started with Donkey Kong. Hopefully, by following these guidelines, you will have an easier time getting started with this timeless gem.
Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we’re always ahead of the curve when it comes to arcade game sales and rentals. If you want to get in touch, or place an inquiry with our team of talented agents, feel free to call us at 1.800.550.0090 or pay us a visit at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.
[…] been a month since our last edition of Getting Good. In our previous article, we went over all the tips and tricks you need to keep in mind in order to get good at Donkey Kong, […]