Donkey Shot


I’m reading Steven L. Kent’s engrossing 2001 book The Ultimate History of Video Games, and of course it reminds me of a lot of games I played as a kid. My first real video games were played on the Atari VCS/2600. (The book is in my home because my 10-y-o son is both a video gamer and a bookworm, and took it out from the library.)

A memory. It’s 1982 or ’83. The Nintendo Donkey Kong Game & Watch is the hottest game around. My classmate Pär comes up to me in the hallway in school and asks me if I “saw Donkey Shot”. Confused I reply that of course I’ve seen Donkey Kong, everybody has one. “No, stupid”, says Pär. “Did you see Donkey Shot on TV last night?” I have to admit that I didn’t, and Pär tells me it was great.

One morning the following week, scanning the TV section of the paper, I realise that what Pär had seen was a cartoon version of Don Quixote.

(Did you know that “Donkey Kong” is the fruit of a Japanese attempt to say “stubborn gorilla”?)


  1. #1 Felicia Gilljam
    September 30, 2008

    Man, the Donkey Kong SNES games were amazing. I still hum the tune to the first level of Donkey Kong Country to myself occasionally.

  2. #2 Martin R
    September 30, 2008

    Ah yes, the SNES, that new-fangled machine that came out about the time I lost interest in video games. (-;

    I actually wrote about SNES games for the Super Power magazine back then, as an undergrad and after finishing my BA.

  3. #3 Hans Persson
    September 30, 2008

    Did you know that “Donkey Kong” is the fruit of a Japanese attempt to say “stubborn gorilla”?

    Do you also listen to the Planet Japan podcast? They discussed this a few episodes back.

  4. #4 Christina
    September 30, 2008

    Oh, good…For years I have been thinking I was the only kid in the country who was nerdy enough to actually watch that TV show. What a relief to find out I wasn’t! For some reason, the theme song still sticks in my head and pops out every time I come across the book.
    Mind you, when you think about it, what’s worse, growing up watching Quick Shot like me or Vilse i pannkakan like my friends, so maybe it was a good choice after all, despite what the kiddie shrinks thought…LOL.

  5. #5 Martin R
    October 1, 2008

    Haha, we share some experiences!

    BTW, I saw a concert poster about Amon Amarth performing in Stockholm in the near future. And one of my digger friends, the guy who likes Finntroll, was really tickled to learn that I am only two steps of acquaintance from the singer.

    Tell your brother for me that I’ll show the band around the Museum of National Antiquities if they like!

  6. #6 Martin R
    October 1, 2008

    Hans, no, I read it in S.L. Kent’s book.

  7. #7 Christina
    October 1, 2008

    His Royal Cuteness is playing in Seattle on Sunday, and will be getting a ride home to his big sis’ house after the gig, then to the concert in Vancouver the night after. All this because their new CD is just out. Finntroll rocks, but if he likes Amon Amarth, tell your friend to try Eluvietie.

    Thanks for making me smile this morning. The thought of big-little bearded brothers will do that.

  8. #8 Pär (not the Quixote guy)
    October 1, 2008

    Reminds me of a German friend urging me to check out a record by “Knocked-up Doctor”. I thought this was a brilliant name for a German black metal band, however I failed to track down a single release of theirs. In the end they turned out to be called “Nocte Obducta”.

  9. #9 DianaGainer
    October 1, 2008

    Loved your misunderstood “knocked up doctor” bit! Did y’uns play Nintendo’s Mario/Luigi games too? That’s what my kids played. My son showed me on YouTube there’s now games wherein all the guys from all the games ever made get together and have massive fights, realistic humans (one who hides under a box), Mario, Peekachoo (I dunno how to spell him), Donkey Kong is in there, some guys with gigantic bulgy muscles that I didn’t let my kids play, superheroes of every stripe…it’s hilarious! I think the sole normal human (hiding under the box) is called “Snake.”

  10. #10 Felicia Gilljam
    October 1, 2008

    Diana, sounds like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the latest in the Super Smash Bros. series. Snake is from Metal Gear. Keep an eye out for a character in armor called Samus – despite appearances, it’s a woman. (Oh, and it’s Pikachu. ;))

  11. #11 DianaGainer
    October 3, 2008

    Oh, thank you, I always wondered how Pikachu spelled his name. My son did mention a Samus — I had no idea that was a woman in there. Rah, rah, for us! It had bothered me, the idea that there was just a little princess in the background, waiting to be saved, in those new games. Too old-fashioned! Just like in those old 1950’s horror movies, where the heroine takes 2 steps away from the monster, falls over, and cries, “Ooh! I’ve twisted my ankle! Save me! Save me!” I always rooted for the monster when they did that and threw jujubes (horrible candies) at the screen ladies.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.