The original arcade version of Donkey Kong is now available for Nintendo Switch as part of the Arcade Archives line. Nintendo and developer Hamster Corp. released the title today on the Nintendo eShop in a surprise launch revealed at E3 2018.
Arcade Archives Donkey Kong costs $7.99 and includes three versions of Donkey Kong: the original Japanese arcade game; a later version that fixed a few bugs; and the international version, which featured a different stage order. The Switch release includes two score modes: a standard high score mode, and a Caravan Mode that imposes a five-minute time limit.
Nintendo also announced today that Sky Skipper, an extremely rare arcade game that was never officially released in North America, is also coming to the Arcade Archives line.
Sky Skipper was released in 1981, the same year as Donkey Kong. Sky Skipper puts players in the role of a pilot named Mr. You, who must rescue the royal family — who are themed to playing card suits — from angry gorillas. Nintendo of America tested the game in arcades in the U.S., but for unknown reasons, it was never widely released. Sky Skipper will come to Nintendo Switch in July, and its journey to the Arcade Archives series is an interesting tale.
During today’s Nintendo Treehouse Live stream, Treehouse employees interviewed longtime Nintendo executive Don James. They revealed that the “only known original Sky Skipper arcade cabinet,” which houses the “only known unmodified” circuit board of the game, is located in Nintendo’s physical archive. The ROMs on that board supplied the ROMs for the Arcade Archives release of the game, they said.
When Sky Skipper comes to Arcade Archives for Nintendo Switch next month, it will therefore be a rare opportunity for Nintendo fans to play the game.
Here’s a look at Sky Skipper, and its rare arcade cabinet (with side art illustrated by Shigeru Miyamoto).