Coleco Presents: Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600

Friday, June 1st, 2012

In my opinion, the video game revolution started by these three games: Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. Space Invaders was revolutionary because it was the first and best of its kind. Pac-Man was the first full-feature color video game introducing a main character. Donkey Kong was revolutionary because it was the first to have multiple levels that played differently. While Atari scooped up Space Invaders and Pac-Man, there was no doubt that they were ready to pursue Donkey Kong as well. However, Coleco was finishing up their state of the art video game system, and needed the edge that only a name game like Donkey Kong could give. Coleco won the war, paying a measly $100,000 for rights to produce the Donkey Kong game for home systems. With little development time, Coleco produced a version of Donkey Kong for the Colecovision, Intellivision, and the Atari 2600.

The Atari 2600 version would be the most popular, no doubt, because more people owned an Atari 2600 than anything else. Of course, the Atari version offered bad graphics, worse game play, and only two out of the four levels that the arcade had. Here is what the arcade version looked like:

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Here is a picture of the famed Atari 2600 version:

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Whoops…That’s not the right picture, but it might as well have been. The Atari version looks like a real pathetic shell of the arcade version.

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Undoubtedly, Coleco went the same route as Atari did with Pac-Man. Too little development time. Coleco thought that what made the game was a name not game play and graphics. Of course, Coleco didn’t really care because most of their efforts were put forth on the Colecovision version. The Atari version came simply to generate extra revenue.

Of course, Coleco folded in the early nineties, shortly before Atari. Coleco, you deserve to be in the Hall of Shame just as much or more than Atari. Your version of Donkey Kong was a disgrace the game playing community. May no one ever forget the fallacy that you have created.

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