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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Donkey Kong Jenga

I haven't been cool in years - if ever.

So you would think that being nerdy and uncool I would have been informed of a combination of games that, I, a nerd, would find enjoyable.

So... imagine my surprise when I went to Toys R Us with  my son to purchase some Pokemon cards (for him, not me, although I suppose I could be nerdy enough to buy my own pack), when I spied a 'board' game that made me go: WTF?!

I was looking for (and purchased) the game of Mousetrap, something I had wanted since the 1970s... and now with my son in tow, I don't feel too nerdy to buy it.

Anyhow... there on the games shelves at the store I once worked for... the board game wall was my section - I alphabetized it - in those days, companies did not pay for premium store shelve visibility - or if they did, I wasn't aware of that as I did my own thing over the ensuing weeks...

uh... there on the games shelves where I once worked was something called Donkey Kong Jenga. Really? WTF?

I picked it up, glanced at in shock and dismay and wondered just how the hell it played and wondered still who the hell would want to play it. I may be a nerd, but I've still found time to play a lot of sports and satisfy a lot of women (so I hear)...

Background time:
Donkey Kong: video game created in 1991 by Nintendo. One of the most popular video games ever, that spawned a LEGO diorama from myself some 31 years later (HERE) and that whole Mario video game stuff you might have heard of. In the Donkey Kong game, you maneuver Mario up a partially constructed building (three different boards) to try and rescue "Princess" from a large ape who has taken her (a la King Kong). He rolls barrels down at you to try and halt your progress while you tr and either get to the top or knock out struts to cause the building to collapse. You can win, but you start up again with the first board having to rescue her again. 

In Jenga, a game created in 1983, players take turns removing blocks from a wooden tower and re-stacking them, with the loser being the one who causes the tower to collapse. No one wins, but one person loses. 

Fast-forward to 2008 (or re-wind to 2008 if you are reading this in 2012 or later... an if you are reading this earlier, let's meet, as you have obviously conquered time travel and I want to invest!)... and Jenga (manufactured by Parker Brothers, a division of Hasbro) has been married to Donkey Kong.

That's what that photo up above is: Donkey Kong Jenga.

The game consists of four Mario characters (your player pieces), one Donkey Kong and Pauline (formerly Princess) piece to perch atop the construct, 54 blocks (now called girders) which have holes in them so your Mario can climb, one spinner and one plastic block stacker for easy building.  

Nerd history fact: 
Pauline is actually Mario's first girlfriend from the Nintendo Donkey Kong video game. It was only when he went into Nintendo MarioWorld home video game that he met Princess 'Toadstool' Peach.

In Donkey Kong Jenga, you win by getting your Mario piece to the top of the tower first to save the Princess. However, should the tower collapse before anyone reaches the top, the highest Mario at the time of topple wins. Unless, of course, that Mario caused the tower to topple, in which case the second highest Mario wins.

Nerd history fact 2: 
In the original Donkey Kong video game, it would ask the player : How High Can You Get?

I've seen guys get pretty high as they played this game. Sometimes it was hashish, sometimes LSD, other times marijuana.

I admit that I did not buy this game. My wife is not interested in board games unless it is Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit, with me only having a chance in Scrabble, as I tend to get lost in geography and social media crap, believe it or not. I did enjoy playing Mousetrap, however. I waited 40+ years to lose my first ever game of it to my son. We played two more games, this time with the prize being television time. I won both times - that means 60 fewer minutes of kid's shows. I relented, of course, what with not wanting to encourage gambling/betting, or being a mean old fuddy-duddy. Also, I really wanted to watch the cartoons.

Andrew Joseph

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