Donkey Kong

Pac-Man aside, the most iconic arcade game of all time has got to be Donkey Kong. Whether you’re ten years old or eighty, not only have you heard of it, but you’ve probably dropped a quarter in one at some point. As a kid, every arcade worth its salt had at least one DK machine.

Then, The King of Kong documentary came out, which further cemented Donkey Kong’s rightful place in pop culture.

As I started putting together my plans for Room 237, I knew this was one that I had to have back in the collection, but like so many other classics, people tend to want a lot of money for this particular title despite the fact that there are still many of them around. I just had to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to present itself.

That opportunity came in the form of a Craigslist ad. The seller had originally listed the game at “dreamer” pricing, but every few weeks, it would get re-listed a little cheaper than the last time. Finally, when it got down to $450, I decided to go check it out. Cosmetically, it was a little rough, and it had the dirtiest monitor I’ve ever seen, but the cabinet was in good shape and the game itself worked. Knowing that it was going to need some TLC, I offered the guy $350, which he accepted. He even offered to deliver it to my house since he was right down the street from me, which only made the deal sweeter.

Here’s how it looked when I unloaded it into the garage:


An entire layer of plywood was coming off of the back of the machine, so I removed it:


Then I gave it a light sanding and repainted the back of the game, along with the base and the trim around the monitor bezel.



Then I added side art, replaced the t-molding, control panel art, instruction card, speaker panel decal, buttons, and installed new coin mechs. I also installed a high score save that adds attract sounds.


The game spent some time in my upstairs game room, but some local arcade collectors and I run a semi-annual Donkey Kong competition called The Knock Off (I’ll post more about that someday), and after taking my machine up and down the stairs a couple of times, I decided to park it under the TV in my Pirate Bar.