Thursday, August 21, 2008

Your daily dose of Kong

In the Spring of 1982 I was living in a college dorm (yes, I'm that old) and, at the time, didn't have a real passion for video games, though I'd certainly spent my share of idle nights plying the games at the local video arcade while in high school. But sometime early in the Spring semester a new video game was installed just outside the dining room, one named "Donkey Kong". At first the game held little interest for me, as it was competing with some older, known favorites, as well as the stunningly new and advanced "Dragon's Lair" (a game that cost two quarters to play, which limited its adoption amongst the relatively poor denizens of the dorm).

But at some point my good friend Craig Swarthout convinced me to play Donkey Kong more and more frequently, perhaps because he often gifted me the quarter just to have someone to play against, and it didn't take long for a fierce rivalry to develop. It matters little that I, in my mind, at least, became Donkey Kong Champion of Craig Hall, but it was a great deal of fun, and the game still comes up in conversation whenever I speak or exchange email with Craig.

So, a company called Widgetbox has turned some of the classic video games of the 80s into web-installable widgets. Below is the Donkey Kong Widget. To play, merely use your arrow keys to move right, left, up, and down (for the ladders), and the space bar allows you to jump over the barrels and other offending nastiness. Once you reach the girl-in-distress at the top of the ladders you have successfully completed the level. Give it a try, and relive a little of the early 80s:


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