“Donkey Kong” has been on various platforms over the years, but Kotaku’s Chris Kohler notes this is the first time the actual arcade ROMs are officially available. Apparently, an official re-release was long thought impossible due to copyright issues with the game’s source code. Thursday’s Arcade Archives release reportedly includes three versions of the game — the original Japanese version, an updated Japanese version, and an international version.
While many people are familiar with “Donkey Kong,” they might not know “Sky Skipper.” It was created by Nintendo in 1981, but the arcade version was never officially released outside of Japan. Nintendo reportedly had 10 cabinets built and placed them in “location test” bars and arcades. It didn’t perform well. Only one of those cabinets currently still exists and, apparently, it’s at Nintendo’s HQ.
“For whatever reason, we never released the game but we kept one original ‘Sky Skipper’ cabinet in our archives at Nintendo of America,” said Nintendo of America executive Don James during the Treehouse livestream. “Suddenly all this interest became very hot about this ‘Sky Skipper’ game, this unknown game. And then we got the call to go out, dig up the game, and pull the ROMs out and send them to Japan so they could make it available to the consumers.”
Other Arcade Archive titles currently available include “Punch-Out!!” and “Double Dragon.”