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April 2013 Retro Gaming Article


April 20, 2013 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

A father's NES hack, allowing Donkey Kong to be played as Pauline, is now arcade-ready

Donkey Kong Pauline Edition logo Good fathers are a rare breed. Some of them build dollhouses while others design tree forts (or game forts). In the digital age the moniker of "good father" can come in the form of pixels. My son began gaming with Dig Dug. Mike Mika's daughter favored Super Mario Bros. 2. Having played as Peach, she was disappointed to find she had to be "Mario" when playing Donkey Kong - she wanted to be Pauline!

Redefining the new-age duties of a good father, Mike took it upon himself to investigate the Donkey Kong NES ROM and swap Mario for Pauline, thus allowing his daughter to maneuver Pauline up the girders & ladders, command the mallet and finally rescue Mario. News of his efforts went viral and folks around the world wanted to know more about this feat.

Donkey Kong Pauline Edition screenshot This leaves us with a heartwarming story of a father's love for his daughter... and retro gaming. But the story doesn't end there. Circling the globe at 22 Mbps, more and more folks took interest in this hack and began thinking of the original Donkey Kong arcade game - yeah, the one with the PCB full of chips and wires. Interest grew in applying this NES ROM hack to the original arcade game.

An NES ROM has little in common with an arcade PCB from the 1980s, so a simple code-swap wasn't going to bring much reality to the idea. However, Clay Cowgill devised and coded a ROM hack that installs in place of the original chips on the Donkey Kong arcade PCB. The process had been documented on Clay Cowgill's website - Donkey Kong Pauline Edition.

Donkey Kong Pauline Edition arcade graphics You'd think this would be enough for most gamers. They can download the Donkey Kong Pauline Edition ROM and play via NES emulator. Owners of an original Donkey Kong arcade cabinet can update the PCB to play Donkey Kong Pauline Edition on their original cabinet. I'm sure someone has picked up an extra DK cab for the ultimate side-by-side comparison - 1981 meets 2013!

But, you see what's missing, right?

Have you ever spotted an arcade cabinet, identified it by the artwork and graphics only to discover it's an old cabinet with a different PCB installed? You thought you'd found Galaga, but Phoenix was lurking inside. Those graphics can be more than just art. Would it surprise you to discover you will be able to buy Donkey Kong Pauline Edition graphics with which to update your former DK cab?

The folks at This Old Game are producing all the imagery needed to Pauline (yep, it's a verb now) your former arcade cabinet. Included are the Marquee Translight, Control Panel Overlay, Control Panel Plex, Bezel Print, Side Art set, Bezel Instruction Decal and Coin Door Decal.

Now, you're playing with power!!

This article on Patrick Scott Patterson's gaming site piqued my interest in this Donkey Kong hack.

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