Untitled Donkey Kong game (lost builds of cancelled SNES-CD and CD-i platformer; 1992-1993)
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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 was also interviewed but also did not remember the games development.
- Diddy Kong Racing Adventure (found build of cancelled Nintendo GameCube sequel to "Diddy Kong Racing"; 2004)
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (lost build of cancelled Virtual Boy port of Super Nintendo sequel platformer; 1996)
- Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers (lost build of cancelled Game Boy Advance puzzle game; 2002)
- Donkey Kong no Ongaku Asobi (lost build of cancelled Famicom educational game; 1983)
- Donkey Kong Plus (lost build of cancelled Game Boy Advance puzzle platformer; 2002)
- Donkey Kong Racing (lost build of cancelled Nintendo GameCube racing sequel game; 2002)
- Return of Donkey Kong (lost build of cancelled NES game; existence unconfirmed; 1987-1988)
- Electronic Gaming Monthly Issue 031 February 1992 page 34 from the Internet Archive. Retrieved 19 Jan '22
- Electronic Gaming Monthly Issue 47 June 1993 page 52 from the Internet Archive. Retrieved 19 Jan '22
- The Best Video Game Rumors From The Early 90s by Patrick Klepek from Kotaku. Retrieved 19 Jan '22
- Adrian Jackson-Jones' LinkedIn page. Retrieved 19 Jan '22
- CD-i print ad featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, and Zelda hosted on Imgur. Retrieved 19 Jan '22
- Datamined dates and assets from lost SNES title, Super Donkey
- Time Extension feature on the Donkey Kong game Retrieved 26 Nov. 2023