Friday, September 02, 2011

On like Donkey Kong

I'm a huge fan of Donkey Kong.  We've got an multi-arcade game at the office, so I can play it properly (i.e. standing up) pretty much every day, plus I play it on an emulator at home.  I'm pretty ok at it, but nothing like the "pro" players you hear about from "King of Kong" and such.  How good am I?  Well, the famous Donkey Kong kill screen occurs on level 22.  I can regularly reach level 4, but have never made it to level 5.  My high score is in the 70k range, pros can get millions.

Donkey Kong is hard. Really hard.  Now that I play it regularly, I've classified how I die in to a number of categories.

  • My Own Damn Stupid Fault -  A simple lack of reflexes or a lapse in judgement results in my demise.  This happens less and less as I play more and more.  Still, about a 3rd of my deaths are MODSF.  These are the deaths where I throw my hands in the air and let out a special word or two.  Like "darn!", but with feeling. Typical MODSF errors include failing to jump properly to get a Hammer and landing on a flame guy or not making the leap from the right-elevator to the upper platform on the Elevator level.
  • Tricky Situation Fail - There are many situations in DK that are simply hard to survive, though not impossible.  Barrels spaced too far apart to jump both, but close enough that double jumping each is very hard (I'm getting better at this, however.) Also, the Spring on the Elevator level is always tricky.  While it's my fault when I die as a result of TSF, I don't beat myself up about it, because those situations are legitimately difficult. I've never made it past the Spring on Level 4, though I've read about how to do it.  Very tricky. 
  • Impossible Situations - There are situations in DK that I don't think it's possible to survive.  Getting cornered by flames on the Rivets or Factory level, barrels falling in just the wrong way on the barrels level.  Great players know how to avoid the situations. I'm not great, so I just die.
I've read comments following DK competition record articles where gamers honestly don't think DK is fun.  While everyone's entitle to their opinion, there's no getting around how fun I find it.  I'm going to reach level 5. I'm going to break that 100k score mark.  When? No idea.