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So You Want To Learn About The Arcade Era!

I'm so glad you asked!

The Expanded Arcade Era, or more broadly, what we at DK Girder concern ourselves with on the site, are the original Donkey Kong Arcade games and their extended family.

We can split these up into a handful of major categories.

1) The Donkey Kong Games

This one's pretty simple. It's the Donkey Kong titles. This not only includes the original arcade trilogy, but also the 1994 gameboy title, and the Mario vs Donkey Kong games as the successors to the line. While the latest releases might not play like the originals, there's a clear lineage from how we got from 1981's classic release to Mini-Mario & Friends.
Additionally, in the spirit of covering non-second party Donkey Kong, we here at DK Girder also embrace Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and its sequels' contributions to the arcade heritage of the original. Very broadly speaking, we cover all the non DKC-stuff that sites like DK Vine (wonderful people) don't.

2) The Non-Super Mario Bros.

Also fairly straightforward. Stemming from the original spinoff, Mario Bros (the arcade game), we follow Mario and his brother Luigi in their pre-Super Mario Bros adventures in the wonderful world of blue-collar work (like Wrecking Crew, Bombs Away, Cement Factory, and the like), as well as those post-SMB releases that follow up on this (like Wrecking Crew '98, Famicom Grand Prix, and Mario Clash).

3) The Close Relatives

This category is a bit further afield, and includes games like Ice Climber, Super Smash Bros, Mario Tennis, and Punch-Out. These are the titles that contain cameos of our major characters or the enemies they rail against. Ice-Climber, for instance, shares enemies with Donkey Kong Junior, while Mobile Golf features the return of Foreman Spike. Donkey Kong and Junior sit in the crowd in Punch-Out, and even step into the ring in one title, Pauline moonlights in NES Pinball and VS Ladies Golf in the arcades, and Stanley gets on with his fumigating duties in Greenhouse before DK eventually shows up to wreck his day.

4) The More Distant Relatives

This is perhaps the most tenuous category. It includes things like Congo-Bongo, Sabrewulf, and Crystal Castles.

Congo-Bongo shares developers with the original Donkey Kong arcade titles, Ikegami, whom Sega hired in 1983 to make essentially another Donkey Kong for them, to compete with Nintendo. The result is the first isometric platformer, which shares a lot of similarities with its older brother. It has had its share of ports and even a semi-sequel on PS2.

Sabrewulf is to Rare's later games as Donkey Kong was to its earlier ones. This series on the ZX Spectrum prefigures appearances and characters in Banjo-Tooie, Killer Instinct, and the like. It even got a revival on the GBA, and was supposed to get a big XBOX/360 title that unfortunately got stuck in development hell. Since the series doesn't really get a lot of coverage elsewhere, we here at DK Girder have decided to welcome them into the fold and give them a home.

Ditto for Crystal Castles, the completely coincidentally spiritual predecessor to Banjo-Kazooie. It features Bentley Bear battling the evil talking vegetable matter forces of Berthilda the witch while he explores her castle(s) collecting treasures and honey and such. Even the covers look similar. Bentley has shown up a few times since, in other Atari titles, including a kart racer (hmm) and a cameo in Wreck-It Ralph(!). Like Sabreman before him, we welcome him here to our little arcadey corner of the internet.

And, yeah, that's the broad strokes of it.

Feel free to explore the site, or head over to The Forums to join in the discussion!

We hope you enjoy your stay here at Donkey Kong Girder!