The following instruction manual is for the NES version of Donkey Kong.

Game Selection

When you turn the system power switch on, a screen like the one at right will appear. Use the SELECT button or Control Pad to choose the game you want to play. Select 1 player game or 2 player game by moving the asterisk (*) with the Control Pad.

  • 1 Player game A -- Beginner
  • 1 Player game B -- Expert
  • 2 Player game A -- Beginners
  • 2 Player game B -- Experts

When you have decided on the game you want to play, press the START button or A/B button to begin your game. To return to the game selection screen once game is over, either press the RESET button or turn the power switch off and then on again.

Names of controller parts and operation instructions

  • Controller 1 -- For playing alone.
  • Controller 2 -- For second player in 2 player games.


  • A Button: He Jumps.
  • B Button: Not Used.
  • Control Pad - Up: He Climbs up the Ladder.
  • Control Pad - Down: He Climbs Down the Ladder.
  • Control Pad - Left: He Runs to the Left.
  • Control Pad - Right: He Runs to the Right.
  • Start Button: Press this button to begin.
  • Select and Start Buttons Are Not Used on Controller 2.

If you wish to interrupt play in the middle of a game, press the Start button.  The pause tone will sound and the game will stop.  Press the Start button again when you wish to continue playing.  The game will continue where you left off.

  • The Top score will reset to 0 if the reset button (on the control deck) is pressed or the power is turned off.
  • Use Controller 1 for 1 Player games.
  • Use Controller 1 and 2 for 2 Player games.

How to play

Mario's purpose: To save Pauline who has been kidnapped by Donkey Kong. In rounds 1 and 2, Mario makes his way towards Pauline in the upper part of the screen. In round 3, he runs on the steel girders and pulls out bolts.  If he can pull out all of the bolts, the girders will fall, Donkey Kong will tumble headlong down to the ground, and Pauline will be saved...for now.


  • Mario
  • Pauline
  • Donkey Kong
  • Barrel
  • Fireball
  • Jack

Hint: Take advantage of jumps

  • You can jump to the left, upward or to the right.  Push the Control Pad in the direction you want to jump, and at the same time push the jump button.
  • Mario cannot jump on or off the ladders.
  • Mario can jump the distance of two sections of the steel girders.

Jumping down:

Mario can only survive a jump down the height of two sections of the steel girders -- the same as Mario's height.


You can gain points by picking up things dropped by Pauline (parasol and purse).

Bonus Points

When you reach Pauline, bonus points will be added to your score.

Note: If you take too much time, the bonus points will decrease. When they reach zero, time runs out and this means the end of Mario.

Invincible Hammer

If you bonk a barrel or a fireball with the hammer, you gain points.


You also gain points if you jump over a barrel successfully.

Extra Bonus

If your score goes over 20,000, an extra Mario will be added.


The following spell the end of Mario:

  • When Mario bumps into a barrel or a fireball,
  • When the jack bounces and hits Mario, or
  • When Mario falls off the girders.

When all Marios are gone, the game is over.


If you succeed in finishing round III and saving Pauline, one loop is completed.  Challenge the second loop!  As you go on, your enemies increase in number and speed.  You can compete with your friends by score or by the number of loops completed!