[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Donkey Kong Puzzle

October 13th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

MB Puzzle Milton-Bradley 200 piece Donkey Kong Puzzle box cover art - circa 1983That is one dangerous and sexy construction site

When it comes to vintage 1980s puzzles, few can beat the sheer cultural nostalgia value of this 200-piece Milton-Bradley Donkey Kong puzzle, which comes straight from my childhood. This is a scan of the front of the box.

It’s not often that I find a true surprise lurking in our old family toys, but I had completely forgotten about this puzzle until I ran across it in the back corner of my mom’s attic a few months ago. Memories of poring over the lush, vibrant artwork on the box rushed back to me as I pulled it from where it had lay, dusty and neglected, for 25 years.

Look at the highlights, the curves, the gradients. The richness.

Luckily for me, all the pieces were still in the box, so I have now re-assembled the puzzle and framed it. It will never be lost again.

The artwork for this puzzle no doubt echoes the side cabinet art of the Donkey Kong arcade machine, but with added detail and an airbrushed vividness. I think it would make an awesome poster — does anyone know who the artist was?

By the way — even though I find it insanely difficult at times, the original Donkey Kong is one of my favorite arcade games. It was also one of the first video games I ever played, courtesy of a port to the Atari 800.

P.S. Pauline is way hotter than Princess Peach.

[ From MB Donkey Kong 200 Piece Puzzle Box – circa 1982-1983, front]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, which is better: Donkey Kong Jr. or Donkey Kong 3?

7 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Donkey Kong Puzzle”

  1. D.D. Says:

    The artwork was also used for the cover for one version of the Donkey Kong board game, and I think the same guy might have designed the art for the board itself:

    I haven’t played DK3, but based on the descriptions, it doesn’t look like it could have been as much fun as Donkey Kong Jr.

  2. Moondog Says:

    Great find. At first I thought was a great example of branding and product tie-ins from that era, however I realized it remains in practice today. Go to any department store, and you’ll find they’re doing the same merchandising with Angry Birds and other games.

    I liked DK Jr.

  3. MajorMach1 Says:

    Very cool that you built and then framed the puzzle, it’s without a doubt a work of art! As far as DKJ vs. DK3, my money has always been on DKJ. My all time favorite arcade game from the 80s was Donkey Kong with DKJ being a very close second. It seemed like a very natural progression – Round 1: Mario triumphs over DK. Round 2: DKJ saves his father from Mario. Awesome!! Then along comes DK3 starring… Stanley???? Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy playing DK3 (probably because it had Donkey Kong in it’s name), but it just seemed like the red headed stepchild. As an aside, don’t even get me started on the Donkey Kong Country series. It was a decade late, but it was pure magic!!

  4. arlandi Says:

    hi Benj, could you please also upload the phot of assembled puzzle? it would be nice to see here because just a box shot wouldn’t do the puzzle justice.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Sure, Arlandi. I’ll put up a photo of the framed puzzle tomorrow (I should try to scan that sometime too). I meant to do it earlier but I didn’t get the chance.

    The puzzle looks very, very much like the box, though, so the box does actually reflect it accurately.

  6. Harry McCracken Says:

    Leslie Carbaga–best known for his Betty Boop art–did very early Donkey Kong merchandising art, and this rendition of Mario and Pauline are based on his designs. But I don’t think this art is actually by him.

  7. Ant Says:

    I was never a fan of these board games. I prefer VIDEO games. 😉

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