top of page
  • Writer's pictureCorporate Gamer

Donkey Kong (ColecoVision) Retro Review

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Game Name: Donkey Kong

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo Research & Development 1

Release Date: April 22, 1981 (Arcade)

Platforms: Arcade, ColecoVision and NES (I am sure that there are many more)


I have mentioned this on my podcast and in my previous reviews, for the longest time, this was the only game we owned on the ColecoVision. It was the packaged in game that came with the system. I remember playing speed runs before speed runs were cool. :) Does this game hold up after all these years?


Here is a little background on the story of Donkey Kong. So in this first game you play the character of Jump Man, who would later be known as Mario. In this version you play as a carpenter and the video version of King Kong, kidnaps the girl. Does that sound familiar?


You play through 3 levels that repeat. There are 2 modes, slower and faster. The first time through the same everything is at a regular pace. However it is slightly more challenging when going through the second time around. The controls were not very difficult to master. One button to jump and the joystick for the direction. That is it.

The puzzles at first can be a little challenging but then they are pretty easy. I think my brother and I played this for about a year before we got a new game. My uncle would pass by from time to time with his Atari games but that was on rare occasions.

Sample Gameplay


Level 2

Level 3


So does this game hold up after all this time? Well, after all these years, it does not hold up very well. Yes I still enjoy it to this day but it is more of a nostalgia thing. Back then this was great. This was especially true when you look at the system and hardware that it was being played on. However, in today's culture, this game is too simple and easy for most gamers.

I remember my cousins asking me what I was playing. I told them that it was an older game called Donkey Kong. They were used to the PS2 at the time and were pretty good at racing games and Crash Bandicoot. I asked them to start playing and it took them a while to get used to the controls and gameplay. So there is still a little level of challenge, but once you figure it out, you can pretty much play it blind.

This game is epic for what it brought to the table in terms of the influence for games that came after it, like Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong Country and even this year's Mario Odyssey. Just to think that this little simple game would become one of the cornerstone franchises in games and the mascot for one of the biggest video game companies in the world today.

Also, this was one of the first real ports from the Arcade. Back then, the ColecoVision was known for its arcade like graphics. It is true that the graphics were much better than the Atari 2600. It was not the first arcade port as there were some like Pac-man on Atari, but this was the first good, successful port.

I do think it still holds a place in my heart and many people my age or a little older would like to play this game from time to time for the memories. I am not sure in the days of Twitch and YouTube Gaming that this will be popular with the kids!

Rating: 7 barrels out of 10

Let me know your thoughts below.




YouTube Channel:


You can also listen to my Corporate Gamer Podcast below.

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page