Title: Donkey Kong
Author: Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman
Publisher: Never commercially published
Released: Written in 1982 but not released until 1995
Compatibility: Model I and III
Wayne Westmoreland and Terry Gilman wrote some of the best games for the TRS‑80 Model I and III, including classics such as Sea Dragon and The Eliminator. When Wayne Westmoreland released all of their games to the public domain in 1995, TRS‑80 owners received an unexpected treat: Donkey Kong, a previously unreleased TRS‑80 game.
Donkey Kong was based on the Nintendo arcade game of the same name from 1981. The hero of the Nintendo game is a carpenter named Mario (who later became better known in the game Mario Bros). The goal is to rescue Mario’s girlfriend Pauline from the marauding Donkey Kong. Mario needs to reach Pauline at the top of the screen, all the while dodging barrels thrown by Donkey Kong. Other obstacles include conveyor belts, elevators, and fireballs.
The TRS‑80 adaptation by Westmoreland and Gilman does a remarkable job of matching the look and feel of the original arcade game. All of the arcade screens are present, although the graphics were simplified to work in the 128 by 48 screen (Pauline in particular looks a bit blocky). The gameplay even feels the same as the arcade version. Donkey Kong also makes good use of TRS‑80 joysticks such as the Alpha Joystick or TRISSTICK.
Westmoreland and Gilman wrote Donkey Kong in 1982 but never released it due to licensing problems. Wayne Westmoreland explained: “We never marketed this game because we couldn’t get permission from Nintendo, however we had so much fun writing it, we didn’t care.”
Despite its status as unreleased, Donkey Kong is a finished game and every bit as high quality as the other Westmoreland and Gilman games. It is quite possibly the best adaptation of Donkey Kong for the TRS‑80. Had the licensing issues worked out, I have no doubt that it would have become a very popular game.
In 1995, Wayne Westmoreland released all of their TRS‑80 games into the public domain. You can download Donkey Kong and all of their other games here: