Rare official arcade versions of Donkey Kong, Sky Skipper headed to Switch
Nintendo has announced that a pair of long lost arcade games are coming to the Switch under the Arcade Archives series. The two games, Donkey Kong and Sky Skipper, debuted on the Nintendo Treehouse stream during a chat with 36-year Nintendo of America employee and current NoA executive Don James.
While Donkey Kong is more of a household name than Sky Skipper, both of the arcade titles are rare in their own right.
The original Donkey Kong has appeared on many platforms through the years, but today’s Arcade Archives launch marks the first time ROMs for the original versions of the game have been officially released (i.e. by Nintendo and not on MAME), seemingly, as Polygon points out, a result of a complicated copyright issue involving the game’s source code.
The Arcade Archives release launched today contains three versions of Donkey Kong: the original Japanese version, an updated Japanese version, the international version that US players would be familiar with.
Sky Skipper, on the other hand, never saw a widespread arcade rollout like Donkey Kong did. Only 10 cabinets were ever made for the 1981 game, and only those few showed up in arcades as part of a location test. As James explains during the stream, the version coming to the Switch this July was pulled from the one remaining cabinet hidden away at the Nintendo of America HQ.
“For whatever reason, we never released the game but we kept one original Sky Skipper cabinet in our archives at Nintendo of America,” recalls James. “Suddenly all this interest became very hot about this Sky Skipper game, this unknown game. And then we got the call to go out, dig up the game, and pull the ROMs out and send them to Japan so they could make it available to the consumers.”