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Thursday, August 23, 2012

LEGO: Donkey Kong


When the Nintendo stand-up coin-up video game of Donkey Kong first hit the arcades in 1981, I was there.

Like a bad hotel I was throwing away good dollars for poor quarters. Dropping away $0.25 of my life away for first five, 10, then 30-minutes of pleasure. It was addictive. I had a monkey on my back.

A few weeks later it came around to my local convenience store - yes, many convenience stores in Canada featured one or two stand-up coin-op video games - rotated in and out every couple of months depending on popularity.


It was a popular game in my neck of the woods... as I taught many of the other kids the old quarter on a string technique to fish for free credits... or simply got so good that I would often have to walk away after an hour of playing on a single credit, and having 98 others in the machine - selling them to some kid for a 'discount'. It helped finance my comic book purchases. It's why the game only lasted three months at 'my' store.
I know... the resemblance is uncanny to MY version!

Anyhow... Donkey Kong is one of the most popular video game series of all-time, featuring a large gorilla called 'Donkey Kong', created by Miyamoto Shigeru (surname first). IN this game that first introduced us to Mario (Luigi first appeared in Donkey Kong III, I believe), a carpenter - or at least a construction worker in red overalls who looked Italian to everyone who played the game.  The name 'Mario' also lent some credence to that fact.

In this game,  there are three separate boards... in each you climb steel girders and ladders to get to the top to try and rescue a woman kidnapped by a large gorilla (think King Kong), all the while avoiding certain death by the fast-rolling barrels propelled down at you by the ape.

Every once in a while (no more than two per board, I believe), a hammer would appear, which you could grab to smash the barrels (but not the moving flames!)... otherwise you had to jump the barrels or climb up ladders to avoid them, all the while keeping in mind that the barrels could sudden;y change their direction along the downward sloping girders and move down a ladder at you. 

At the third and final board, you are at the top of the building, and you have to remove the steel struts all over the place to cause the building to collapse upon itself. You get the girl, but then you get to do it all over again.

Donkey Kong... ever wonder how they came up with the weird-ass name for the game?

Apparently the Japanese born and bred Miyamoto mistakenly thought that the English word "donkey" was equivalent to "stupid" and that the name Donkey Kong would also mean Stupid Ape (ala King Kong) to the American/Canadian audiences.

When Miyamoto was up in front of the folks at Nintendo of America, they laughed their donkey asses off... and yet the name stuck. Miyamoto is now considered to be the guy who made Nintendo the power that it is. No one knows what happened to those donkey Americans who laughed at him in 1981.

Baka Kongu.

Baka, by the way, means 'stupid'. Kongu = Kong. Maybe next time you want to create something using English,  talk to a respected or respectable English source. A professor, a native speaker, or a junior high school student taught by me!

Anyhow, to celebrate my boredom, last night while driving home an idea hit me like a barrel of monkeys.

Hey! A Barrel of Monkeys! Now I get why that donkey ape is tossing barrels down at the Italian-American gentleman! Seriously! Just NOW! Thirty-one years later!!

I decided to create a LEGO diorama using a Japanese motif. Instead of a construction site, I used the temple atop the small mountain I built a few months ago. I had a LEGO minifig of a man inside a gorilla suit, and a Geisha minifig to act as the femme fatale, all I needed was a Japanese version of Mario whom I now call Suzuki-san.

Strange as it sounds, the most fun for me was trying to create an over-sized hammed for Suzuki-san to use as a bonus pick-up to help smash barrels.


Anyhow... enjoy the game: 

Meet Suzuki-san. Just that. No other name is offered. He is Japanese. You wouldn't understand, gaijin-san.

Donkey monkey! Your empty barrels of pain will not stop the great Suzuki-san. I jump for joy at your pain and suffering. Ha-ha-haaaa!

Kuso yarou... tell my wife, Suzuki-san (no first name given), that I respect the way she pays the household bills.

Stop. . . Hammer time! Go with the flow. It is said that if you can't groove to this,
then you probably are dead...

Sumimasen, Kongu-san. Please to release honorable boss man's attractive daughter from your damn dirty ape hands.

You escape my grasp! Now I shall have to work more overtime. Thank you for that opportunity, Kongu-san!
Baka Kongu beats his chest in triumph at having caused more work for his Japanese compatriot while getting off scott-free to...

... to sleep with the pretty Japanese girl. Oh my god-do! Baku Kongu is a gaijin! Hora! Gaijin-da!

For a look at my other 11 dioramas, click HERE and then click away on the attached links.


Hand-cuffed together, we can see the real reason why DK wanted the Japanese babe! It was a gaijin (foreigner) in a monkey suit! Baka-da!

Cheers

Andrew Joseph

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