Untitled Donkey Kong game (lost assets from cancelled SNES-CD and CD-i platformer; 1992-1993)

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CD-i print ad featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, and Zelda.

Status: Lost

Published by Nintendo in 1981 Donkey Kong is one of the most iconic video games of all time. It was the first appearance of the company's mascot Mario, launched the long-running Donkey Kong series, and was their first commercial hit in North America, launching Nintendo into the massive video game company they still are today. Due to the iconicity and legacy of the game, it has had three direct sequels over the years, those being Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong III, and Donkey Kong for the Game Boy (alternatively known as Donkey Kong '94). Before the Game Boy games release, there were murmurings of a sequel for the Super NES CD-ROM System and the Philips CD-i.


The Philips CD-i 220 model and controller.

Rumors of the sequel first appeared in the Gaming Gossip section of Electronic Gaming Monthly issue 31 from February 1992. According to the anonymous writer of the newsletter, Quartermann, the game would be a 16-bit remake of the Donkey Kong arcade game for the SNES, which would mark Mario's return to his role as the protagonist of the series as well as feature improved graphics and new scenes and would release sometime in 1992.[1] Over one year later in issue 47 from June 1993 Quartermann amended this statement saying the game was a sequel and would release on Nintendo's ill-fated SNES peripheral the SNES-CD as well as the Philips' CD-i.[2]

Concept art of the Super Famicom CD-ROM Adapter, the also cancelled Japanese version of the SNES-CD.

If these rumors are true, the game would likely be developed as two separate versions, one for the SNES-CD and one for the CD-i due to their hardware differences. According to former EGM editors, Quartermann's newsletter was a mix of legitimate rumors, wishful thinking, and complete fabrications, leaving the validity of these rumors up in the air.[3] Lending credence to the game's existence, however, is a LinkedIn profile for one Adrian Jackson-Jones. The profile claims that he worked at RSP as their Super Nintendo and CDI Programmer with one of the games he worked on being "Donkey Kong for the CD-i", with him specifically working on designing and implementing the game's engine.[4] Donkey Kong also appeared in a CD-i print ad alongside Mario, Link, and Zelda despite not appearing in any games released for the console.[5]

It is speculated this title could be correlated to "Super Donkey" a found prototype that was released during the "Nintendo GigaLeak" of July 2020. From what is inferred in the leaked data, Super Donkey was being developed during 1990 and 1992, around the same time Quartermann claimed there was a new SNES Donkey Kong. It is possible this could be the SNES Donkey Kong game Quartermann was referring to being "moved" to the SNES CD and Phillips CD-i before its cancellation.[6]

Existence confirmed, survival in doubt

On July 29th, 2023, the website Time Extension wrote a piece on the existence of the game. Writer John Szczepaniak managed to contact Adrian Jackson-Jones about the game who confirmed the game was in development but, due to a memory disorder, did not remember much about the development outside the technology. Riedel Software Productions' founder, Michael J. Riedel, was also interviewed but also did not remember the game's development. Riedel additionally stated that the company had a habit of throwing away material for cancelled projects, meaning that neither he nor any ex-employees would possess surviving assets from the Donkey Kong game.[7]

The following year, DidYouKnowGaming, a YouTube channel which centers on video game trivia, including information on unreleased games, published a video discussing the veracity of several unreleased Super Mario games that were rumored to exist. One of the verified games was the Donkey Kong CD-i game. The video claims that DidYouKnowGaming staff got in contact with the game's anonymous lead animator, who stated that production never made it past storyboarding due to the CD-i's technical limitations and Philips' inexperience with game development. Consequently, no complete build of the game would have existed at the time the project was scrapped in 1993, and the only assets that Riedel Software Productions could have possessed were scattered artwork and code. The animator additionally debunked the claim that the Donkey Kong game would've been a remake or sequel to the arcade title, instead stating that it was going to be a side-scroller like Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and the later Donkey Kong Country series.


DidYouKnowGaming discussing the subject (5:45).


See Also