E3 2018: Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, Sky Skipper Return To Switch

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

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During the final day of Treehouse Live, Nintendo surprise announced that Donkey Kong and Sky Skipper are being released on Nintendo Switch through Hamster Corp’s Arcade Archives. This marks the historic first time both of these arcade games have been officially re-released in their original state, and the first time Sky Skipper has been available outside of Japan.

For over 35 years, 1981’s Donkey Kong has mostly been available in its NES port, which is missing one of the arcade game’s four levels (the so-called Pie Factory). It has been speculated that the arcade version of Donkey Kong might be impossible to re-release due to legal entanglements with the game’s programmers. The one exception to its absence was 1999’s Donkey Kong 64, where the original Donkey Kong was included as an unlockable (with some minor alterations).

For its Arcade Archives port, Hamster is including three distinct versions of Donkey Kong: the Japanese original, the later Japanese release that cleaned up several bugs, and the international version which changed up the level order.

Even more historic is Sky Skipper, an obscure 1981 Nintendo game not released outside of Japan. Nintendo of America did try to release it in the States, but only ten machines made it out for “test marketing”, and today, only one machine remains in storage at NOA’s headquarters in Redmond. Prior to today, Sky Skipper had only been released in the States through an Atari 2600 port. Shigeru Miyamoto notably designed the artwork for the arcade machine.

Neither of these arcade gems have long to wait for release. Donkey Kong is out now, while Sky Skipper launches into the sky in July, and both will run for the typical Arcade Archives price of $7.99 USD. Together, Nintendo and Hamster have been slowly re-releasing long-absent Nintendo arcade classics since last year, including Mario Bros., Punch-Out!!, and Vs. Super Mario Bros.

About Alex Irish

When he's not writing about games, Alex Irish is an illustrator and animation expert. His favorite gaming franchise is Pokémon, full-stop, but his favorite game of all time is Resident Evil 4. He attended the first-ever IGN House Party and is a five-time attendee of the Ottowa International Animation Festival.