Classic carts: C64 Donkey Kong cartridge

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Mark Vergeer
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C64: C64 32x32 pixels In this small video I demonstrate the two original Donkey Kong versions that exist on the C64. I think the original Nintendo (Atarisoft) has very nice large graphics but it is far too slow to be anything like the original. The Ocean conversion, done in 1986, has a better playability (better speed) but more coarse graphics. Oh I wish it was possible to speed up the original C64 Nintendo version.

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Rowdy Rob
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Atarisoft Donkey Kong?

I'm no C-64 expert, but it appears to me that the "Nintendo" version of C-64 Donkey Kong is actually the ATARISOFT version that was marketed in the U.S. When I say "Atarisoft," I mean created by Atari, who also programmed versions of this game for the Apple II, 2600, and (especially) the Atari 8-bit computers.

Needless to say, many "conspiracy theorists" of the time believed that Atari purposely hobbled the C-64 version of Donkey Kong to make it less enjoyable than the Atari 8-bit versions. Judging from the graphics, the C-64 version actually looks superior to the Atari 8-bit version, but Mario mysteriously looks like he's running in quicksand. In this case, I actually believe Atari DID hijack the C-64 version; everything else seems great, and if Mario wasn't PURPOSELY slowed down, the game would have easily been the best home version of the game. Seriously, do you think Atari couldn't have sped up Mario to make the game more playable? I don't. Atari slowed the game down in order to make the C-64 look weak compared to the Atari 8-bit. (Just my opinion).

The Atari 8-bit version was very fun, and surprisingly fast (faster than the arcade). I enjoyed it immensely at the time, but I considered the graphics to be somewhat clunky. Mario didn't look right, and the enemies suffered from "XOR" blending a lot. Still, the pace was very fun, the animation was smooth, and the controls were very tight. I enjoyed it much better than the NES version (or, in retrospect, the Colecovision version that I played years later via emulation).

Here's a Youtube video of the Atari 8-bit version. It's captured very darkly, and YouTube makes everything look like $%&@* anyway, but the pace of the Atari version still comes through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb_D_NHt5kw

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Frankenstein version that should have been....

Running at 140% of original PAL speed the Donkey Kong game cartridge actually becomes the playable game it should have been from the start. The original Nintendo Donkey Kong version is very slow, the Ocean version is a lot better but has less nice graphics. This video shows the ultimate Frankenstein version that could have been. Perhaps 130% PAL speed yields an even better playability as this is actually a bit too fast.



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

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