A Game of "Donkey Kong"

  1. A Game of "Donkey Kong"

    01-02-2021, 01:03 AM
    Happy New Year everyone !!

    I have not created any new content for the site in quite awhile so I thought I would do something that I have not done in about ten years. Here goes, as I had to stay awake all evening thus far...

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    A Game of "Donkey Kong"
    by Robert T Mruczek
    Written January 2nd, 2021



    Only the stars above and two street lights illuminated the darkened street and the many businesses with doors closed and security gates in place...all save for one which had a small light visible from one if its windows. No one was walking the streets, not for at least a couple of more hours, anyway, so perhaps the cleaning crew was finishing up inside.


    Most curious, however, is how such a place could even remain in business. But the owner had purchased the property many decades prior and kept it in the family, and after so many years it had achieved landmark status, and so it remains for all to enjoy.


    It's sole purpose was to allow its patrons the chance to see and even to play those old, classic arcade games from so many years ago. Most of these games were no longer working and were there just for show, but a select few, such as the 80-year old "Donkey Kong" machine, were kept in good working order by the small but dedicated staff. Even more curious was why a lone figure was standing inside during the wee hours and playing the game, when they could just as easily have been playing it on their computer, hand-held device or via several other means. But after so many years, and with so many more exiting modern titles available, only a small number of fans of these antiques came here to play them in person.


    The lone figure clearly knew what they were doing as they seemed to last for a very long time using those old monetary units called quarters. With cash being "phased out" the current family member in charge realized that this was the perfect way to get copies of these rare coins which had been melted down en-masse by the government decades back due to metal shortages. Players would bring the worst-condition specimens they could find, but even in poor shape they were still rare, so each game play was profitable. And this one player seemed to feed a few coins each day into this machine.


    No one was around when their current game came to an end and, apparently, the outcome was particularly good as the person shouted that they had beaten the world record on the game. In fact, there was a poster nearby showing the former champion of the title standing next to it with the score clearly visible on screen. A nearby kiosk with a digitally stored playback of the performance was also available...but for a whopping ten quarters !!


    The realization that no one had been witness to this performance was a bit of a disappointment to this player. Everytime people venture into this place they talk of how great the former record holder was, yet here he is right now, beating the former record holder's best performance, and only he would know about it. This was just not right.


    Despair set in, and with a crack in his voice the player said out loud that he, in fact, was the best "Donkey Kong" player that there is, ever was and will be, and nothing anyone else says can take that away from him. And with that, somebody else, someone apparently also in that arcade, said matter of factly "No, you're not".


    The player swung around and could not see anyone else, or for that matter where that voice could be coming from. But suddenly, from where they had just been previously facing, that voice said again, and clearly from close by, "And I'll prove it".


    Turning around once more, the player saw another person just a few feet away, right by the side of the "Donkey Kong" machine, peering in to see the score. "Not bad, but I've done better". "No you haven't, your top score is there on the wall", as the player pointed towards the nearby poster with certainity in his voice, and quickly notices that the image of the former champion is no longer part of that poster on the wall.


    The stranger looked up towards the poster and said "That was just my final live performance", but I did have a better score that was done in private...better than what you did right now, though not by too much. You're good, you're very good...but I was better".


    Suddenly, a wave of realization swept across the face of the gamer who said, with a bit of a shaky voice, "Now, wait a minute, that score of yours, that was from more than 40 years ago. I never kept track of what happened to you afterwards, but that would make you almost a hundred years old by now as you played the game almost eighty years ago around when it was released, and you do not look like you are a hundred years old !!"


    The stranger responded, "I'm not that old, but this is how I look based on people who remember me. You're getting a bit of what you would call a 'wish' right now, a chance to see just how good you are against a former champion". "Like that TV show from around a century ago ?" asked the player. "Sort of, but there's no life or death stakes here, that was just a TV show".


    The player thinks about that and says "All right, do we play a 2-player game, or do we go 1-player at a time ?". "One player at a time, best attempt from each of us out of three, and no more than one restart per attempt allowed, agree ?". The former champion's proposal seemed fair so the player agreed. "That's gonna take close to a day depending on whether we have restarts, at minimum that's 6 total games of almost 3 hours per game". The former champion then said "It could be, sure, but that assumes that no game ends earlier than the kill screen". True, thought the player.


    "So, who goes first ?". The former champion said "Well, seeing how I do not have a coin as I am long since gone, just take one of those quarters that you have and flip it. I call heads".


    Turns out heads came up first. "Oh yes, I'll need you to spot the quarters for me, I hope you don't mind...I did, after all, come back from where you generally don't return" and the player said fine and popped a quarter in.


    Several hours went by and the former champion's first game went right to the end. It was a good score, not his best from that poster, let alone his best claimed score, but good nonetheless. It was the gamer's turn next, and after a restart the game managed to come to within 2,000 points of the former champion's previous effort. Good, but not good enough.


    The former champion suggested flipping to see who starts "round two" and the player agreed. This time the player won the toss.


    Feeling confident, the player used more aggressive tactics and took some risks, and although they lost two lives by mid-way to the "kill screen", they only lost them deep into a stage so not many points were lost. The end score was better than their first score and, more importantly, beat the former champion's first score by a solid 4,000 points or so, just a shade under the former champion's best score on that poster, and of course a few thousand below what he had achieved only a few hours earlier, before this competition began.


    Now it was the former champion's turn again, and this time, deep into the game, they opted for a restart due to unfavourable fireball antics on several screens which substantially depleted their bonus time points. But on the very next performance, on the very last barrel destroyed in the "kill screen", the score tied that score on the poster.


    For round three, the former champion would go first, and quickly opted for a restart early on in the game saying it just "did not feel right". And the gamer watched as the former champion, already in the lead in their competition, threw caution to the wind and set forth on a most aggressive pace, finishing their game with a score that was a mere one hundred points more than their claimed higher record that was never recognized...and THAT score was a good thousand points higher than the player's new personal best from just before this competition began.


    The player's turn had begun, and the pressure was on to not just do what they had done many hours earlier, but to do it even better. "You're sure this is no 'life or death' competition, right ?" to which the former champion assured him "I give you my word, no one is going to die". And so the player began.


    Knowing that they had a restart in case of emergency, the player employed their best tactics right away and never eased off, kind of like a runner doing sub-4 minute miles for the entire 26.2 NYC mile marathon race.


    A blistering pace was set, but as is the case with "risk vs reward", sometimes you go to the well once too often, and the first game death occurred about a third of the way in with only a couple of point opportunities missed as a result. But the break in mental stride kicked in and in short order a second, and then a third game death occurred. With more than halfway to the "kill screen" and only a remote chance of reaching let alone passing that new unofficial world record score, the player opted for a restart rather than wasting further energy and effort on what would no doubt be a losing proposition.


    This was it, no chance for mistakes now. The quarter was inserted, and prophetically, their very last quarter. The game began and the player started to concentrate.


    Another blistering opening pace was established and by midway thru the game not a single life had been lost. If this pace continued a new world record would be set for sure, and with points to spare. A great weight was lifted from his shoulders when he realized that this blistering pace had kept going without incident, and the kill screen was coming up shortly. He was well on pace to set a new world record, and with a decent margin between the two scores...if only nothing happened.


    Too many bad prior experiences flooded the player's mind, but with Zen-like focus he ignored all negative outcomes from the past and put aside any thoughts of what might yet happen. "Let's see just how good I really am" said the player to himself, as he proceeded to soldier on and push the game to its very limits.


    The former champion watched without emotion from nearby, exhibiting neither excitement at a possible new record being set, nor sadness in the possibility of losing this competition AND the mantle of being the world's best player at the title.


    A single game death occurred a few screen before the "kill screen" and it was a favourable death deep into the stage before the timer expired, so only maybe 200 points or so were lost.


    And now it with the "kill screen" imminently due, the player employed their best point-pressing strategies prior to that moment so as to ensure maximum success, and as it turned out they have a most favourable outcome for each of the remaining lives, and in fact has set a new world record in the very screen before the "kill screen", so the few remaining points were quite literally icing on the cake.


    Their game ended, and a new, much higher and undisputed world record was set. The former champion said "Congratulations" to the player, "well done, that was the greatest performance that I had ever seen, better than my own, in fact !!".


    Surprised at the graciousness, the player said thanks, and said "Oh, I do have a question, but I am reluctant to ask as so little is known of the tail-end of your era". "Ask away" said the former champion.


    "Well, what about that 'other guy', the one one who there was all that stink about for so many years ?". The former champion thought about it, quickly realizing who the player was talking about, and said "Once I set the former highest mark in the world it made everything else moot in the public's eye. Without a snowball's chance in hell to beat me, he just kind of faded away into obscurity. No one was ever interested again in his exploits as no matter how hard he tried he could not even come close to my score, let alone all the others who came much closer to me and easily trounced his own personal best. Basically the lack of limelight did him in".


    "Oh, I see" said the player. "Thanks, I had always wondered about that". "So, that's about it then, and I do thank you so very much for coming back for this competition. And I am really the new world champion at the title !!"


    "Yes, you are" said the former champion, "and let me shake your hand to make it official". The new world champion gladly reached out to shake his hand. No "life or death" nonsense like that old TV show. This was reality, that was just scripted entertainment.


    But as they shook hands, the player took a look at that poster and noticed something strange...the score on that poster was different. And then he realized it, for all of a second. It was his score, from this very competition that was there, and that missing image of the former champion was quickly re-appearing. And then he knew for sure.


    Taking a look at that poster, the former champion was disappointed that his score was beaten, but the exchange was worth it as he was back, and he had no plans to try to be number one again. That guy he had just lost to on the poster, that was the world champion now, and rightly so, until some other hotshot player came to this very arcade so make a similar boast. No, he would ease back into life and do something different. Find a job for sure, get a place to live, just start over, and never play a video game again.


    And before shutting off the lights and closing the door to the arcade, he took a quick look around at all the OTHER posters on the wall, each one featuring a different video game world champion standing proudly by their arcade machine. They, too, had world records that have remained unbeaten for ages. The machines are still here, and most of them still work, but for how long ? And he wondered what were the odds that even one of these players might be faced with what he just went thru, and whether they would play their hearts out to retain their mantle of world champion, or would they quickly realize at he did that in this case it was actually better to strategically dump your game, making it look really good, and give up their claim of world champion once and for all in exchange for a return to life itself ?


    He looked at the players on these posters and mentally considered how many had egos so large that this would never happen thus they would remain on that poster for all eternity, or at least until the place closed down and the games and posters were buried in some landfill.


    He knew these former champions quite well, some personally, some thru gamer forums and record announcements, and he focused on one former champion in particular, in front of their world record performance at the game of their choice, and he mused to himself...of ALL the games to be champion of, picking the one with a finite maximum score ensured that you would never, ever leave that poster as there was just no way that someone could beat you !! Tie you, yes, but never beat you. "Sucks to be you !!" he thought, and then he closed the arcade doors to begin his second chance at life.


    ----------------- fin -----------------
    Last edited by RTM; 01-02-2021 at 03:19 AM. Reason: Correction of typos and pronouns
    Thanks HarberCandelario thanked this post
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  2. 01-12-2021, 11:48 PM
    What is the way to get a high score in the game Donkey Kong? fall guys
  3. 01-13-2021, 01:23 AM
    being persistent & patient & doing research (dk forum) & doing it all cuz u like the game.
  4. 01-17-2021, 04:00 AM
    It's a great game, the sounds of the game I use as tonos de llamada for mobile phones.
    Last edited by chaserchaser; 01-17-2021 at 07:25 PM.
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