was the culmination of ideas Miyamoto had for Donkey Kong but was unable to incorporate due to graphical
limitations of the time. It was a departure from the previous game, as it
focused on Donkey
son, Junior, who had to rescue his captured father from Mario.
This marked the first and only time that Mario was a villain in a video game. The
reason Junior was made the star was because Miyamoto wanted the player to be
able to play as Donkey Kong, but
again graphical limitations prohibited the use of such a large character in an
action game. The style of platforming was also different as this time around
Junior had to climb a series of vines in order to reach Donkey Kong’s cage at
the top while knocking objects onto enemies to destroy them. Like its
predecessor, it featured four distinct levels repeated with increasing
difficulty. The game would end after the player lost all their lives or reached
the level 22 kill
Kong Jr. was released to arcades in August 1982, just weeks apart in both
Japan and North America. The game proved as successful as its predecessor,
earning the 1984 Arcade
Award for “Best Video game Audio-Visual Effects”. It was
selected among five arcade games for history’s first official video game
world championship in January of 1983, filmed at Twin Galaxies
in Ottumwa, Iowa by ABC
reality program That’s Incredible! Like its
predecessor, Jr. was ported to the
home consoles, with the Coleco Adam
version gaining an exclusive fifth
stage, and to the Game
& Watch series
of handheld games which reproduced the first
level. The third and fourth levels of the game were reproduced
in the follow-up, Donkey Kong II. Jr. also
had its own direct sequel in the form of educational game Donkey Kong Jr. Math for the Nintendo
Entertainment System. The game, however, was poorly received
and future entries in the series were quickly cancelled.
|1983 ad for the CBS line-up.
In 1983, CBS was looking to get in on the video
game craze and to combat ABC’s Pac-Man produced by Hanna-Barbera. Figuring to hedge their bets, they
licensed several gaming properties and commissioned former Hanna-Barbera employees Joe
and Ken Spears to handle it through their company Ruby-Spears
resulting series was Saturday
Supercade. Making up the Supercade every week were segments based
on Frogger, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr., while Q*bert and Pitfall! rotated weekly.
|Junior and Bones.
Donkey Kong Jr. aired
concurrently to Donkey Kong and
featured Junior (Frank Welker) travelling from the jungle to see his father,
Donkey Kong (Soupy
Sales), in the circus. Learning of his escape and desperate
to find him, Junior partnered with clumsy biker, Bones (Bart Braverman), and
took off on Donkey Kong’s trail. Ken Boyer
A. Ventura created the character models that adapted the cabinet
artwork easily animated television stars. The theme music was composed by Shuki Levy
and Haim Saban.
|Height comparison character model sheet.
and Bones would often end up following a false lead and instead find some kind
of trouble they would get involved with; be it foiling a robbery or protecting
children from bullies. Junior was the most headstrong of the pair, always
charging forward into situations and even taking over the operation of Bones’
own motorcycle. Bones generally stood to be the voice of reason and usually ended
up taking the fall when Junior’s schemes went awry. Junior’s battle cry was
“Monkey Muscle!”, which he exclaimed whenever they were about to encounter a
problem or felt Bones needed a bit of encouragement.
the Supercade ran for two seasons, Jr. wasn’t carried over and ended after
its 13-episode run. It, along with Frogger
and Pitfall!!, were removed and
replaced with Space Ace and Kangaroo. Like most of the Supercade,
rights issues regarding the various properties have prohibited much in the
way of home media releases, although Warner
Archive had reportedly begun investigating the possibility of doing so back
in 2010. While Junior in his established form wouldn’t be a starring character
again, he was continually featured as a character in compilations and re-releases
of Donkey Kong and other Nintendo
games, such as Super Mario Kart. However, it has been heavily implied that the Donkey Kong that
debuted in the Donkey Kong Country series of games was a grown-up Junior
or the son of Junior.
Originally posted in 2017. Updated in 2020.